One of my fave genres is fighting games, specifically 3d fighters which peaked with VF5:FS back in 2012. No cut characters to sell later as DLC, no corny shoe-horned 2D gimmicks like supers, meters, or comeback mechanics along with out of place guest characters and didn't dumb down its gameplay to cater to casuals like every fighter has since then...sadly the fact that it didn't do any of these things is why its pretty much dead and why i'm nowhere near hyped for fighters anymore
I like rpgs in general. I think JRPGs peaked in the 90s, and no matter how good Persona or Xenoblade are, or even if Final Fantasy finds its way again, we’ll never get the great stuff from that period again. The best part is almost all of the 2D stuff aged incredibly well
WRPGs on the other hand, I feel like the best is yet to come. And this is after playing Horizon and the Witcher 3, and loving both
I understand that you won tournaments for USFIV, but it’s not even the best game in the Street Fighter series (not while Third Strike & Super Turbo exist), let alone the entire genre. But to each their own, I suppose.
I have two. Some might argue they are not “genres” since they are a bit too specific (not just action or adventure), but you get the idea.
The first is isometric RPGs, which I suppose peaked at Baldur's Gate 2: Shodow of Amn but recently we've got nothing this close to the complexity and depth of the Baldur's Gate series. Pillars of Eternity, to my mind, is more of an attempt to milk the cow of nostalgy than a genuine love letter to the genre. I was very disappointed with its shallowness so I decided not to play the sequel. There are great games still, like Torment: Tides of the Numenera. My friends also say that Pathfinder: Kingmaker is a true gem too, although I haven't had time to play it myself. But still, the peak was in the beginning of 2000's.
The second is platformers. And wow, I don't even feel that it's reaching its peak right now. With great 3D platformers such as Super Mario Odyssey, A Hat in Time, Spyro's remake, it feels better than ever. Let alone 2D, where Ori and Super Meat Boy are getting their sequels this year while 2018 was full of masterpieces like Celestem Dandara, Iconoclasts, etc. So I am really happy to be a fan of the genre, I honestly have more great games than I will be able to play in a few years.
It's easy for someone to say that Metroidvanias peaked with either Super Metroid or Symphony of the Night (take your pick), but with the number of super high quality indie Metroidvania releasing every year, I'm not sure that the genre has peaked.
Like, I couldn't have told you that Hollow Knight would've ended up being better than almost every Metroidvania ever made before it came out. Whose to say there won't be another surprise hit like Hollow Knight soon?
2003 - 2005 was the peak of 3D platformers. Ratchet & Clank,Jak and Daxter, Sly Cooper, and Psychonauts all have STRONG showings in this period. You can widen it out a bit to 2007 if you want to include Super Mario Galaxy, but there's not much good stuff in between.
2D platformers, and of course they peaked on the SNES.
My second favorite genre are JRPGs I suppose, and contrary to the majority here, I think they still have a lot of room to improve with new technology, Dragon Quest XI is incredible. If they were as popular today as they used to be, we could have many excellent games that are even better because of better tech, so I don't think it has peaked.
Peaks are hard to nail, because is it when the best game of that genre came out, or is it when that genre is most popular?
Personally I don't think gaming works that way. I think what happens is we get a world changing game every now and then and those games are what sunset genres.
Like I really like turn-based JRPGs. Was that peak the SNES or the PS1? Or why not the PS2, it had a few good ones?
In retrospect the real "peak" of that type of JRPG was when WOW got popular, WOW killed that entire genre. So really the peak was the day before WOW launched.
Other examples: Super Mario Bros ending the appeal of single screen arcade games. Mario64 ending the golden age of sidescrollers. GTA 3 basically killing adventure games that weren't open world. Skyrim basically killing single player action RPGs that aren't open world.
When it comes to RTS, probably the early/mid 2000s.
Age of Empires II (1999, but close enough)
Starcraft: Brood War (1999, but close enough)
Empire Earth (2001)
Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos (2002)
Age of Mythology (2002)
Rise of Nations (2003)
Command and Conquer: Generals (2003)
Rome: Total War (2004)
The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth (2004)
Age of Empires 3 (2005)
Company of Heroes (2006)
Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends (2006)
There are a bunch more, but these are the main ones I remember.
Cant think of any that hasnt had a peak in the last few years, most genres have a recent game as their best one.
Maybe 3D platformers with Super Mario Galaxy back in 2007? RTS games with Starcraft 2 with the dinosaurs?
My favorite genre is probably open world action adventure and we just got RDR2. Another favorite genre of mine is the immersive sim and we just got Prey. Same goes for stealth action games and we just got MGSV. All top 10 GOAT games for me, but so recent that to suggest they are the peak of their respective genres seems incredibly cynical and shortsighted to me. None of these games are perfect and there is plenty of room for improvement, so I'm optimistic for big things in the near future.
If you twist my arm, I suppose I'd be inclined to argue that the WRPG genre peaked with New Vegas, or that the action RPG/Soulsbourne genre peaked with Dark Souls. To this day, I still can't decide whether the platformer genre peaked for me with SMB3 or SMW... probably the former, but damn if it isn't close.
The Beatles Rock Band opened a new door for music games. Imagine exploring the careers of historic figures, giving a deep dive into their library in lovingly crafted moodscapes, perfectly replicating the art of the day.
Amnesia basically re-wrote the book on how to do effective horror and showed why putting the player in selectively disadvantaged positions was key for horror in an interactive setting. These design principles were then applied to major AAA works in 2014 with Alien Isolation and PT.
Since then, the horror genre has basically taken a complete backseat to cheap thrills and player empowerment.
This is a interesting perspective, I don't think people at the time realized how good the horror games were becoming. I remember that was being annoying how at each new release some horror fan would come out with some explanation as for why those games where not "true horror". No surprise the companies backed off.