It’s hard to imagine many games that wouldn’t be made better with some level of co-op, even horror games (often characterized by their ability to make the player feel helpless) can implement co-op well by introducing weird mechanics or forcing the players to split for periods.
Having interesting interactions through voice-chat ingame can also work to great effect, for example things like proximity based voice-chat or events which block communication.
And then of course there are the more general things which are improved by co-op, the ability to be able to work together with a friend to speed up your play, do crazy shit, or handle larger problems.
2) A Masochist difficulty setting
What is the worst that could happen from you putting an obscenely hard difficulty setting? Nothing, there are literally no downsides to that. Gamers who find your game too easy will be happy to have something harder than ‘hard’ to fall back to, and gamers who find the game too hard never need to touch such an option. A sad fact is that nowadays many games are far too easy, and easy games just aren’t that enjoyable, and can even downgrade the game experience as a whole.
For example something like Bayonetta based around dodging attacks to empower your own, if that game was too easy, you’d never have to use the dodge button and you would never feel that ‘rush’ of playing the game the way it was made to be played.
Also I mean, everyone enjoys watching people do insane shit. Look at ‘Through the fire and flames’ when that first came out, or people managing to 1cc games like Mushihimesama or people playing Beatmania Doubles.
3) Custom icons / emoticons
Gamers are incredible, give them a custom icon/picture maker ingame and let the talent flow. The below few pictures were taken from the symbol art in Phantasy Star Online 2. This should be implemented on all the consoles too, none of this preset avatar crap.
And of course there are tons of amazing works in the Black Ops 2 emblem editor too..
4) An unbarred world
This is in a fair few MMORPGS and stuff, but I really enjoy the idea of being able to skip parts of the game and be somewhere you’re not supposed to be, the most obvious examples are going into a zone way above your level in WoW and mining stuff you’re not supposed to have access to for another 30 levels – if you get into trouble, you are 100% fucked, but its still nice to have the option.
Alternatively, for adventure games, particularly those with multiple areas, let us tackle them in whatever order we want to. The upcoming Payday 2 seems to have the right idea here, it offers elite levels right from the start of the game, why? becuase it can.
5) Skippable cutscenes/events
Sometimes, you just want to play the game, not every game needs a deep story and character development. As a game dev, if you want to add those things, that’s fine, just don’t force me to have to be a part of it.
Aside from the obvious issues like ‘maybe my PC crashed and I’ve already seen this’ or ‘I died, why are you making me watch this again’, it’s just never necessary or excusable to not have a skip-cutscene option. The same goes for text/speech as well to some degree, if I’m playing a game with slow moving, unforwardable text, I’m going to turn it off and never play it again, ain’t nobody got time for that, I could be playing something made by a dev that actually gives a shit about the players.
Semi-relevant: Let us pick hard/veryhard mode right off the bat please, I dont want to wade through your shitty game in casual mode before being able to enjoy it.
6) (bonus) The platinum games logo