2D platformers will forever be relevant, I don’t think anyone can deny that, but what about the forgotten stepchild of platformers, the ones played in the third dimension? Now that’s a different kettle of fish all together.
I couldn’t think of a better time to talk about this genre of games because it’s fair to say that 2017 has been the year of the 3D platformer, seeing a multitude of releases like Nintendo’s blockbuster Super Mario Odyssey to Kickstarter games like A Hat in Time and Yooka Laylee. It appears that there is a surge in popularity of gaming’s forgotten genre, whose drought until now has been a real shame for me as most of my youngest memories of playing games were from games like Spyro the Dragon and Super Mario 64.
There is a gurge in popularity for gaming's forgotten genre.
Despite the recent renaissance of platforming games this year, the past fifteen years or so haven’t been kind to platformers, but why is this? Back in the early 2000s you couldn’t get enough platformers; who remembers characters like Vexx, Blinx the Cat and Ty the Tazmanian Tiger? There couldn’t have been a better time to be collecting pointless objects in interesting worlds than the early 2000s, but what went wrong?
I think there’s a multitude of reasons why in all honesty. Firstly, I feel there was a massive oversaturation in the genre. For every Jak and Daxter there were at least four games starring an uninspired character doing the exact same thing as Jak, just not very well. Another big factor to why they died out was the rise of the First Person Shooter genre. As soon as the FPS genre gained more steam and sales in the console markets, developers were always going to shift to producing those types of games because they were selling well, unlike platforming games were at that point.
As soon as the FPS genre picked up steam, developers were going to shift to producing them
What’s in store for the future? I’d personally like to see more 3D platformers getting released, especially after some of the games I’ve played this year, including Snake Pass, which is the most unique take on one yet. I’m not going to build my hopes up though - 90% of being a gamer to me seems to be the constant disappointment and agony inflicted by major corporations on us chumps who fund them.