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Paul Houlders talks how our love for gaming has changed over the years.

V is for Valentine’s… Video Games!

From beloved franchises that have remained popular throughout the years, to the recent success of Hogwarts Legacy and the transference into mainstream entertainment, our Technicolor Games VP, Global Head of Art takes us through how and why our love for gaming has changed over the years.

Firstly, what is your favourite game and why? 

That’s a tough question… Having been in the industry for many years I’ve seen great titles come and go and every year the industry brings something new and exciting product to market I want to play.  

In my early years, I would have to go with the original Tomb Raider. It was a concept that broke so much new ground in terms of gameplay, graphics (the underwater scenes still haunt me), and a brilliantly designed central female lead character created to attract what at the time was a wholly male gaming audience.  

Later years would see me parachuting into Battlefield with work colleagues, especially come lunch time when everyone in studio would stop what they were doing to fire up a game. That sense of engaging collaboratively to defeat a common enemy made for some great bonding moments. 

More recently, I’ve been whisking myself away to the magical world of Hogwarts Legacy, as its the Harry Potter game I’ve always wanted to play. The open-world adventure perfectly captures the excitement of the Wizarding world and just seems to keep on expanding the more I dip into it. 

Over the last 30 years, there has been lots of change within the gaming industry but many fan-favourite titles have continued to endure, are you surprised that these games are still popular?

The continued presence of titles like Pokémon, Super Mario, FIFA and GTA across different decades is not surprising. These iconic and enduring franchises have broad appeal, and their ability to maintain popularity over the years is a testament to their staying power.

What does surprise me is that after all these years, having first picked up these games as kids we’re still be in love with them as adults, as parents and even as grand-parents… Dang, now I’m feeling old! 

There are lots of recurring franchises, why do you think this is? 

Obviously a successful franchise will often build a dedicated and loyal fan base. These fans develop a connection with the characters, evolving gameplay mechanics and on-going stories, which all creates a demand for more content within the same universe.

A well-established franchise will carry strong brand recognition. If a company has managed to create a winning formula that crosses multiple demographics, then it’s going to continue to invest in that franchise. Investment in new products carries with it a considerable amount of both creative and financial risk, thus having an IP with a proven track history makes a lot more business sense. 

Can you name some factors that you believe have contributed most significantly to the rising popularity of the video game industry? 

Today’s games offer a means of disconnecting from the world outside our front door; leaving behind the cares and worries for a few short hours to be immersed in a whole new, other world and a player can become, quite literally, anyone/anything they want.

  • Technology

Technological innovation has played a catalytic role in making video games all the more popular, they are more accessible than ever before. The gaming industry has witnessed major technological shifts from going to the arcades and playing the coin machines, to the creation of at-home consoles, online and multiplayer modes, mobile and cloud games, and so on.

Technological innovation has allowed us to have video games at our fingertips; and we can play anytime and anywhere.

On top of this, graphical advancement has certainly enhanced player experience; making gameplay more realistic, immersive and engaging than ever before.

  • Inclusivity

The rise in the diversity of game genres now fit a wider range of audience demographics. Although there is still long way to go, we are seeing more content and representation of groups produced that wasn’t there when I first started in the industry.

  • Societal Influence

“Gamification” is taking over all industry sectors with an increased multi-media presence. Video game concepts are now being used for entertainment, education, socialising and sport.

The most obvious move we’ve seen recently is more games being transformed into film and TV. On top of this, we are seeing giants like Netflix, Amazon and Apple moving into the Gaming industry which has added to the growth and popularity of the video game industry.

 Do you think the way we view videos games has changed? 

Games have evolved beyond recognition over the years and have transcended their initial reason for creation as mere entertainment to become a multifaceted medium that plays various roles in our lives.  

1. As a social platform, allowing people to connect with friends, family, and even make new friends in virtual spaces, developing social activities that brings people together. 

2. Used to relax and unwind and escape from the pressures of everyday life, which in turn has led to the development of games designed specifically for this purpose. 

3. E-Sports has transformed gaming into a highly-competitive industry and has elevated gaming into a legitimate sport. 

4. Games have also become a platform for entrepreneurship, allowing individuals to build businesses around their passion for games. 

5. The perception of gaming has shifted from a sedentary activity to one that can contribute to the overall well-being of an individual with products like Wii-Fit, AR and VR providing experiences for developing health and fitness. 

In conclusion, video games have shifted away from being merely just another form of entertainment, to become a multifaceted medium that encompasses social interaction, relaxation, professional competition, business opportunities, health and fitness, education and cultural influence. 

 What would you attribute the success of last year’s big hitter, Hogwarts Legacy, to? 

Haha, I really want to say Technicolor as we played a small part in its delivery to market. However in reality, I think its just a brilliantly executed game that weaves its enchanting spell over the player as they delve further into the game.

It has great design, intriguing plot line, a huge world to explore, and a faithfulness to its source material that leaves even die-hard Potter fans drooling at the mouth. Plus, having a demographic that has grown up with this franchise and enjoys whipping their wand out at every opportunity to do battle with evil helps quite a bit. 

 So ultimately, do you think our love for gaming has changed over the years? 

Gaming has undergone significant changes over the years. While the love and enjoyment for playing video games remains constant, the ways in which we engage and perceive gaming has evolved, now providing new and diverse gaming experiences and social interactions.

Its recognition and integration into mainstream entertainment and popular culture, as well as it’s inclusiveness and representation of diversity, advancement of new technologies and of course its cultural impact has had a significant impact on everyday fashion, design, music and even language. This expanded scope of gaming highlights the dynamic and evolving nature of our love for this form of entertainment and shows no signs of abating

Have we worked on any of your favourite games? Find out by taking a looking at our selected projects here.

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