Why stealth games don't sell anymore?


Stealth is dead. The only thing left is stealth as a part of the game rather than the foundation for it. Hence Metal Gear Solid V, Dishonored, Prey, Arkham Asylum, Assassins Creed, Splinter Cell Blacklist, and Red-Headed Bowgirl vs Robot Dinosaurs, all of which have stealth that segues seamlessly into shootering, slashing, or punching.

Hitman is an anomaly and as it goes forward, I bet it starts getting more and more shootery.



I think there’s a difference between “the tip of your pinky enters a guard’s field of vision, back to the loading screen” and “you’ve alerted all the guards and they will probably shoot you to death because you aren’t some sort of super soldier”, at least for me. The latter approach may have the same result most of the time (certainly I always reloaded when a guard caught me in Thief, say) but there’s at least some vague hope. Or at least room to go manually grab a save.


I think Hitman’s “stealth” works because of the disguise system, which removes the requirement. (on a per area basis).

They did try and make a more shootery hitman though, and ironically a more stealthy one: Absolution


I remember when FPS’s were dead. (Hello Half-life!) And turn-based RPGs. (Hello Pillars!) And point-and-click adventure games. (Hello The Walking Dead!) And interactive fiction. (Hello 80 Days!) And etc etc

They’ll be back. As indies if nothing else.


…but Pillars isn’t turn-based. (And has hardly kicked off a genre revitalization, come to that - if anything the franchise’s failure to take off led to Obsidian’s buyout.)


Xcom then…




Maybe he meant Divinity. That’s turn-based.


So much talk about stealth and no one mentioned Skyrim or Fallout games yet? I love pure stealth games as much as the next sneaky ninja, probably more, and I’d still pick Bethesda games over most of them, for two reasons: one is breaking the tension, like someone mentioned above - if you get spotted you don’t enter a fail state automatically, and the second and even more important one is that stealth in these games feels organic because the levels and enemy placement aren’t designed like a puzzle that has to be solved.


That’s… the best part of stealth games:(


It’s why I loved Mark of the Ninja, it absolutely is a wonderfully designed playground that gives room for variety in approach. A puzzle without one discrete solution.


Well, yeah. Indies is where genres go to die.



Lol. :)


I know it’s been 12 hours since this post, but this is still making me giggle.


Doom kicked off the FPS genre in 1993. (I know it wasn’t the first, but it made them popular.) For the next 3-4 years, approximately one million Doom clones were produced. Quake came out in 1996, but by 1998 there were so many Doom clones on the market that you’d trip over one every time you walked out the door. I and every gamer I knew was thoroughly burned out on them. I even dismissed Half-life for several months after its release as just-another-shooter. I was playing Starcraft and Ocarina of Time. For first person games, I was looking for more interesting stuff like Thief: The Dark Project. FPS’s had used up their moment of glory. They were dead.


I don’t recall FPSs ever dying or I must have missed when everyone swiftly declared the genre dead during the early years following Doom because shit went wild.

I played Doom, Dark Forces, Quake, Hexan, Duke Nukem 3D, Goldeneye, Dark Forces II, Quake II, Sin, Half-life, Starsiege: Tribes, System Shock 2, Rainbow Six, a dozen different Half-life multiplayer mods, Unreal Tournament, TFC, Counter-strike, etc etc etc etc…


They’re pretty much dead now though right? Like stealth, shooting has been absorbed into bigger games - Battlefields, Fortnites, Far Crys.

Wolfenstein and the last Doom I guess. So not dead… perhaps elderly :)


I think that some games that came after Thief mistakenly thought players would enjoy stealth without having feedback about their visibility, or with instant death conditions once you’re discovered. People forget that even in Thief, while fighting guards after being discovered was often a mistake, you could usually run far enough away and hide in the shadows – your superpower made you near invisible, and the fact that the levels were systems-based and open meant you weren’t disrupting the storytelling (which happened mostly between levels anyway). So while full stealth is doable within these very specific parameters, designers didn’t understand that it can’t be done in a satisfying way if you have a more linear narrative structure. It’s therefore completely reasonable to expect that most good games employing stealth will devolve into action when the player is caught. Only a select few games should ever be expected to be fully stealthy, and the successful ones will have enough design elements to give you feedback as well as sufficient options once you’re caught. We’ve just been cursed with too many games that wanted to do stealth but didn’t understand what they needed to have along with it.


Coming back to the original topic of Hitman sales, someone has done an estimation looking at the leaderboards of the first mission:

I orchestrated collecting all the leaderboard numbers last Thursday, and at the time PC had 61K while Xbone and PS4 together had 60K. Our estimate then was 150K copies sold to account for everyone who hadn’t done Hawke’s Bay online on professional for whatever reason.

Using those same ratios, based on your 90K number we’d be up to 180K on professional leaderboards and 225K estimated sales.


Leaderboards are a clever approach. There’s one small weakness there which is that it’ll also count accounts that didn’t buy the game but have access to it due to the PS4/Xbox primary/secondary device policies, or Steam family sharing.

That’s a lot more PC heavy than the normal AAA game, but I guess Hitman is a franchise with particularly strong PC ties.