We understand why - something like Destiny cost in the region of $140 million, and to the best of our knowledge there's no such creature as a wolf who lives in a games publisher's office magically disgorging unlimited cash through a fleshy nozzle in its back. We get why there has to be an element of playing safe, of trying to please as many potential customers as possible.
Unfortunately, it means that games are - generalising wildly here - taking less risks, and becoming designed by committee (although, ironically, we'd argue that, like it or loathe it, GTA V - pretty much the biggest game ever - absolutely feels authored, and apologises to nobody... while the all-consuming Minecraft started out very much as one man's cube-headed baby).
We get that the big, annual, blockbuster franchises - Assassin's Creed, Call of Duty, FIFA et al - are the tendons that power the industry, designed for maximum sales, keeping publishers and developers afloat on a dinghy made from dollar signs. But as polished and playable as they might be, they're also faceless, bland, corporate tadpoles (by which we mean "tentpoles") - formulaic entries on a ledger sheet; ever prettier, always delivering more of the same...
They're the Malibu Stacy - now with a new hat! - of games.
It's a feeling we've been rolling around on our yeasty tongue for a while now, but - as you may have ascertained from our recent review of The Witcher 3 - it has come to a head in our head.
And it's probably a bit unfair that The Witcher 3 received both barrels of our ire, just for giving stupid fantasy RPG lovers exactly what they think they want, without doing anything remotely new or original, and mistaking a parade of medieval misery chestnuts for story (let it go...).
But the games industry's franchise release cycle is essentially the same model that you're now seeing in movies, thanks to Disney - the Marvel formula is being applied to everything from Star Wars to Ghostbusters. You throw someone with an indie sensibility into that mix - someone such as, say, director Edgar Wright - and they don't last the distance.
And that's a shame, because feels like the gaming is shedding its auteurs; Shigeru Miyamoto produces a game once in a blue moon, Hideo Kojima is apparently being written out of Konami history, Sid Meier is still a one-off, beavering away in his secluded treehouse (we imagine)...
So it's to the indie scene that we tend to go to these days for our fix of new ideas. Inevitably, budgets there are relatively minuscule, but we'd love to see what the guys behind Super Meat Boy could come up with given a $100 million pot of cash. Alas, it's more likely that the moon will transform into a giant brown puffin before that happens.
Not a Hero is exactly the sort of game we expect and want from indie games: a game that isn't for everyone, but will be loved to bits by the people who do love it.
Not a Hero can best be described as a cross between Hotline Miami and Sega's ancient, side-on, heist 'em up Bonanza Bros.
Unexpectedly, you play the role of a mayoral election campaign manager (other characters are unlockable as you progress), trying to help your boss, Bunnylord, win another term in office. This basically equates to infiltrating office blocks, slaughtering the political opposition and their staff - and improving Bunnylord's approval rating in the process.
It's an ultra-violent, cover-based shooter, in essence, with gorgeous pixel art graphics (though we must confess our fear that cod-8-bit visuals are at risk of becoming an indie game cliche), and a shamelessly non-PC, fourth wall-breaking sense of humour that sends up its own lack of story.
Not everyone's going to laugh at it - and making you laugh at it (for the right reasons) seems to be one of its chief aims - but the relentless, hyper-violent action makes for sort of kinetic ballet, as you crash through windows, making your way along endless corridors, pinning your back to walls, and reducing your opponents to cuboid clouds of gore.
It's a chaotic and beautiful send-up of action movie tropes - and for the most part it works brilliant.
For the most part...
Unfortunately, it isn't perfect. The cover system feels just that tiny bit too unresponsive and twitchy to allow your brain to switch off entirely and let your reflexes take over. One too many moments of frustration, which led to us dropping out of cover or reloading at the wrong time - and subsequently dying - kicked us in the knees. You'll die a lot, and - just as it was in Hotline Miami 2 - it doesn't always feel like your own fault.
But when Not a Hero works, it works gorgeously - it does things its own way, it strives to be original, and it doesn't apologise for that. Best of all, it feels like a bunch of ideas that often pull against one another, but add up to a gloriously messy, singular whole. It feels like a game that the developers made because they wanted to make it - not because they were trying to please their shareholders.
SUMMARY: You might hate it, you might love it. And that's as it should be.
SCORE: 7.834321 out of 10.21111