What If Console Games Could Be Retooled By Users?

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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What If Console Games Could Be Retooled By Users?

It's no secret by now that I'm a big fan of Bethesda's open-world experiences. The Elder Scrolls and the recent Fallout titles are the standards by which I consider most of my gaming experiences, and so, I'm always excited about news on this front. One of my friends, who's also fond of Skyrim, pointed me toward a little something that really got me thinking about the console industry in general, and if, maybe, it was time for console games to get in on the fun.

Specifically, the item in question was what's known as a mod--a PC-only experience that allows users to reshape a game to their own ends--known as "Helgen Reborn." "Helgen Reborn" assumes that, finally, someone in Skyrim got sick of having this big burnt out nightmare of a town just, you know, floating around and reminding everybody that Alduin's back and has a taste for scorched everything. Or maybe they just got tired of seeing bandits use a whole town as a hideout, I don't know. But anyway, with the town in ruins, the town needs to get back on its feet.

Naturally, this being "Skyrim", there are plenty of things needing doing first, like assembling a coterie of guards--you have your choice of "pretty much hand the town over to the Stormcloaks" or "assemble ragtag team from around Skyrim itself"--and then reassembling the burnt-out shell of a town into something more resembling a town and less resembling the night after a Fourth of July bonfire.

For doing this, you're rewarded with yet another house--a tower, to be more specific--that comes with the standard accoutrements and a little something extra in the basement. Seems that the guy who sent you out on this quest to begin with has something of a gift for taxidermy, so where "Skyrim" allowed you to make a few trophies in the "Hearthfire" expansion, "Helgen Reborn" allows for trophies from everything. Dragons included, or so the reports say.

And that was what got me to thinking. Basically, "Helgen Reborn" sounds like the kind of DLC that Bethesda itself might well have put out had it decided to keep going vis-a-vis offering DLC for "Skyrim." Sure enough, most of the other Bethesda games out there had something like this going on, and all I could think was, "why isn't this a console feature?"

We all know that there are plenty of gifted programmers out there, taking advantage of their favorite games to bring more content to same. But what happens if this becomes possible for console games, and not just for PC games? Suddenly old games get a whole lot more life left in them, while at the same time retaining the ease of use that's inherent in the console.

Imagine all those RPGs out there, all those strategy games, all those action games that could get a breath of fresh air tossed in with a little extra DLC. Ever wish that "Fallout: New Vegas" could have a stopover in Roswell? Or Area 51? Sure, why not?! How about "Oblivion" with a few more "Morrowind"-style Dwemer ruins? Can do! And that's just the beginning; the possibilities only go on from there.

We've seen this doable with a PC, so it stands to reason, that it could potentially be done for a console. Even if we only route the console through a computer--not exactly out of line with USB ports commonly included in consoles--it should still, at least theoretically, be possible.

All it will really take is a willingness to make a few changes, and a little open-mindedness, and the end result will be a whole lot more fun overall for everyone. But will it happen? Somehow, I doubt it. Still, with modding available for consoles, it would open up a whole new player market, and if there's one thing the console market needs right now, it's more gamers.
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