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Five game mechanics legally protected by the companies that made them

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The games industry is built on the free trade of ideas. A team in America stumbles on a particularly fun way of reloading weapons, which is then replicated in Canada, and improved on in Europe. In the AAA action genre especially, it can feel as if all the major studios are working with the same ingredients: a soup of grappling hooks, parkour mechanics, and gear levelling. Yum.

It’s easy to feel cynical about that repetition, but the system works. If a developer stirs in three proven mechanics, then they can usually get away with sprinkingly one genuinely novel idea on top. Even the boldest inventions are usually mixed with borrowed gameplay elements—familiar flavours for players to ingest while adjusting to a spicy new idea.

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