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Why are video games always falling?

Why are video games always falling?


Redfall, Ashfall, Lords of the Fallen, Atlas Fallen, After the Fall — these are all 2023 games.

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A screenshot of Lords of the Fallen, I think. Unless it’s Ashfall.
A screenshot of Lords of the Fallen, I think. Unless it’s Ashfall.
Image: Hexworks

Yesterday, gaming website IGN posted a trailer for Ashfall, described as a “post-apocalyptic massively multiplayer online shooter/RPG.” Today, the same YouTube account dropped a video for another title called Lords of the Fallen, a “spiritual successor to the popular soulslike action-RPG” to a game with the same name released in 2014. Later this year comes the “action role-playing” Atlas Fallen, while February showed that even VR isn’t spared with After the Fall. Add to that the launch of Redfall, a much-maligned “co-op looter-shooter,” and you have to ask yourself: why do so many games have “fall” in their names?

For one, the English language offers so many other exciting words here. Plummet, tumble, topple over. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t play Ashplummet or Lords of the Tumble? (If it was on Game Pass.)

What do these fall-type games signal to us? Well, many of these titles suggest that there will be a vague, uninspired fantasy world, with a dash of sci-fi or steampunk, that the player might be dropped into these environments and be rewarded for their button mashing with familiar-looking particle effects, that there may be the opportunity to do some looting, and perhaps shooting. Or maybe game devs are just showing reverence to the universally beloved 2020 action RPG looter-slasher Godfall?

Mostly, I just want commercial games studios to show a little creativity when it comes to naming. If there is some kind of secret industry requirement to include the word “fall,” at least have the decency to relegate it to a subtitle, like this year’s soulslike Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty or the expansion for live service looter-shooter Destiny 2: Lightfall.

Going forward, I demand more effort in titling games. I’ll grandfather existing series, like Fallout, which has been around for three decades, or Fall Guys, in which characters actually, literally fall. But for everyone else: find a new word!

Or, you know, make a game that is not a drab action fantasy RPG looter-shooter?