Maybe you’ve noticed the proliferation of certain gameplay features in blockbuster games over the last few years: map screens full of icons, experience points, skill trees, crafting, you name it. Maybe I’ve already complained here before about how this trend is making open-world games too homogeneous, but I never noticed a main factor in that homogeneity — the user interface it’s all wrapped in.
A good example is this tweet from September comparing skill trees in the recent games Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and Assassin’s Creed Origins. It goes further than that, but what surprised me are the games where I don’t mind these features — where I don’t mind gathering experience points, collecting icons on a map, or managing my gear. The main difference seems to be that they simply make the whole user experience look different. Continue reading