Norms For Next-Gen: Customizable/Disable HUD Options

The next generation of consoles are still a few months away from release, and while we have seen some impressive multiplayer titles debuting already, it’s time we start setting some new standards as to what these next-gen games should feature by default.

Let’s face it, despite multiplayer existing for over a few decades now, things that should be standard by now just haven’t happened yet. This is where this new weekly (hopefully) piece comes in. Every week or so, we’ll be publishing a new article discussing and highlighting features that games should have by default as a norm for next-gen. In this first segment, we’ll be discussing game HUD. If there’s one thing I hate about most games today, it’s the lack of Heads Up Display options.

Why No/Limited HUD?

Why wouldn’t anyone want this as an option is a better question. First off, it gives players a choice than, rather forcing them to play in games that features no HUD by only playing modes related to ‘hardcore’ difficulties. For many, the HUD in most games just isn’t that attractive or is just plain distracting. Sometimes, you’ll want to look at something only to have a piece of the HUD in the way, while other times, you’re constantly being reminded by flashes occurring in the HUD (depending on the game of course). Other times we just want it gone for the sake of those gorgeous graphics.

In my fair opinion, I find having no HUD in a game to make it far more immersive than with one. We focus more on what’s around us, rather than what’s on us.

An example of this:


Can you imagine if this game (Journey) had a HUD? It could possibly ruin it!! Plus, it would make the environment a bit less interesting.

Here’s an example of Assassin’s Creed 3 with the HUD (image) and then with the HUD removed (video).


The game still looks good, but let’s see how much better it looks without the HUD.

While some may prefer the HUD, the option to remove it is always a special touch nowadays that, at least on console, doesn’t happen as often as one would like.

Having a disabled HUD option also comes with its advantages. For starters, as shown above, it’s clean and really shows off a game for its gorgeous graphics. Along with this, you get more to your field of view, as in the HUD won’t block anything important such as an enemy in the distance or a collectible.

It’s also better for YouTubers and video makers in general. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to work around a HUD because the lack of options. I remembered in Battlefield 3 (console version), before they had the option to have no HUD for custom games, that we had to work with the limited space. It’s annoying and takes too much time, along with getting too many shots to for the correct one. Options like these only make things easier for us.

For those who do like having the HUD, but at the same time don’t, developers could easily implement it in such a way that it’ll only appear after pressing a button. An excellent example of this would be the Dead Space series. It keeps players completely immersed in the dark atmosphere without any distracting interface, but if you do want to access it, a simple push will allow it to pop up.

I know this isn’t something everyone wants, seeing that the HUD does have its advantage, but I truly believe that this should be an OPTION in every single game.

In next week’s article, we’ll be discussing custom controls.

  • dieger

    would love this also dedicated servers would be a great addition.

    • DanDustEmOff

      MS are trying to make this happen.

      • Michael Oakley

        ya but the only ones who will use them are xbox onee titles that wont be on anything else

        • DanDustEmOff

          They are available for any game on any platform all the publisher has to do is pay for the servers and MS will do the rest.

          • But so far only the games on Xbox One and PC like Titanfall will support them. 3rd party publishers can buy servers for the PC version, but Sony would have to pay MS for the servers…right?

            • DanDustEmOff

              Sony have no interest though they have Gaikai.

            • I know, but it isn’t the same thing in all respect. If Microsoft could however incorporate what Gaikai does but using Windows Azure(or acquire On Live) that would be awesome too!
              Next gen console are you getting, if you are planning to get one?

            • DanDustEmOff

              I am on the fence at the min way to early to make a decision. I have got a really good PC so I am lucky enough to sit back enjoying the show.

              I like the PS4 it really does look good, but
              so does the Xbox I had no issue with always on or no used games. I may get both at some stage but neither at launch.

            • DanDustEmOff

              Gaikai are also buying nVidia grid tech so I do not think they will be using Azure.

  • JustinD

    I love taking HUD off in games. Skyrim and forza 4 are the top of my list for this. Driving inside the car and relying on shifting right with the cars tach is absolutely awesome. Another would be battlefield. I only play hardcore as core is for pussys. That’s right core people I said it. But BF3 having no map and map hardcore option is stupid it should be no map hardcore ONLY. Please BF4 no map only hardcore

    • battlefieldlog

      I’d love to take the map off on hardcore. When I’m in the, “I want to make it feel like I’m fighting the Iraqi’s in Operation Desert Storm,” mood on Operation Firestorm, I don’t want a damn HUD!

    • John doe

      I do like your hardcore no map opinion. But I would much rather prefer a DICE server only feature to where it throws you in only DICE servers. I am sorry guys but rent a server has put a bad stain on BF Multiplayer that needs to be Oxy cleaned away.LOL

      • John doe

        i dont know what the fuck im talking about i get this off google!

    • XFistsClenchedX

      I do the same thing in Forza. Battlefield 3 is terrible. Battlefield 4 will be the first Battlefield I skip since Battlefield 2 on PC.

      • Just saying

        you hate PS4 and we got it but BF4!!!!!!!! WTF is wrong with you?!

        • XFistsClenchedX

          I played Battlefield 3. That’s what is wrong with me. Battlefield 3 is a mess.

          • SCR3AMINGS1L3NCE

            A hot mess.* But, yeah- It’s got a shit-ton of issues. Hell, went on Battlelog and found a thread devoted to BF3’s issues and they were all spot on.

            That said, give DICE a chance- They’ve been re-working a lot of stuff from what I’ve read, and they may surprise you. 😉 Buy it, play it, return it for your money back if it doesn’t suit you.

            • I’ve had little issue with Battlefield 3 after its first year. Issues are still present but none are really game breaking sill things considered.

            • SCR3AMINGS1L3NCE

              Agreed. Nothing game-breaking, just some aggravating issues. (Primarily the sudden influx of Oblivious/Senseless Blueberries. -.-)

            • XFistsClenchedX

              Client-side hit detection is game breaking for me.

  • PuddingAuxRais1ns

    I don’t understand why devs can’t implement a simple feature like this just for the hell of it. Is it that hard to put in the game?

    • dieger

      actually its one of the easiest things to put in well take out *hence why PC players can use console commands to shut it off*

  • TheChunkyPotato

    I would love the option to shrink the HUD

  • John doe

    I am glad they used Dead space as a example as it has one of the best if not the best hud interface I have seen. Panning the camera around the menu is genius and it just looks cool.

  • Guest

    i suck dick.

  • Guest

    i lick dogs

  • QwietStorm

    I wish we could map our buttons on a system level. There’s no valid reason why developers shouldn’t have had custom settings for every game for years now.

    • DanDustEmOff

      The disabled gaming community have been asking for this for years. I fully agree this should has been standard practice for years.

    • z0ml3ie P1kachu

      I’ve definitely wanted this since I started playing multiplayer. I remember Bioshock 2 multiplayer had it and I loved remapping my entire controller. But I could see it being a problem with certain games. Just look at Cod. By simply switching to tactical button layout dropshotting is made easy. Imagine what other douche-e things people would come up with?

      • DanDustEmOff

        How is playing tactical douche like? Playing tactical is a trade off you gain the ability to dropshot but lose the panic knife. There are people out there that do not have
        the ability to fully use both hands, catering to disabled players fat out weighs the negative side of button mapping.

  • MrClean

    I would take full button remapping over a disable-able HUD anyday

  • CaptainZwabber

    If they put it for next gen I wouldn’t like it to be like on PC where you put away the whole HUD I want it to be that you can put away whatever you want so if you want your ammo gone but you want to keep the map that you would be able to do that.

  • DanDustEmOff

    I would love to be able to change the mini map locations going for CoD to BF and Crysis then back to CoD and having to adjust to its position is an annoying problem. If I could put it where I want it across all games that would be a cool feature.

  • eBunny

    I think it might just have to do with how the developer wants you to experience the game. Journey was an excellent example and I immediately thought of that game when I saw this article, a HUD wouldn’t benefit the game in any way. Journey, as well as thatgamecompany’s other games, are build to be experiences and thus don’t have a HUD.

    When you remove a HUD in a lot of games it just becomes way more of an (immersive) experience, rather than a video game, as you can see in the AC3 video, although the money counter still keeps some of that ‘game’ aspect, which is fine.

    Some games also integrate what could have been a HUD into the gameworld, like Dead Space for example, where you can see the character’s health status on his back. In terms of multiplayer I think you should either have it completely integrated into the gameworld, or have it as an option or perhaps like you mentioned, a simple button to turn it off. I actually think BF4’s spectator mode might have the ability to turn the HUD off with the press of a button, which would be pretty neat.

    I think a HUD is one of the easiest ways to tell if something is a game if you haven’t seen it before, because it’s obviously not part of the world (unless it’s like an actual HUD inside of your helmet) and it’s just really ‘game-ey’.

    On the other hand fighting games like Street Fighter or just games that are more arcady in general, wouldn’t really benefit from not having a HUD. I mean it’s obvious that Street Fighter is a game when you see it and it’s not really meant to be immersive. And you also kind of need those health bars because as far as I know there isn’t really a system where you can see your character looking worse and worse as the health goes down.

    • Peter

      Great points.

      As you mentioned, certain games benefit from a HUD, and for some the HUD ruins, or at least messes with the experience. First example: Metroid Prime. The HUD in Metroid Prime brought the environment to life, as you were literally looking through the eyes of Samus. Second example: CoD. I’ve played every CoD’s SP and enjoyed them a lot as the Ridiculous Hollywood experiences that they are. If you’ve played CoD’s SP throughout the years you’ll notice that in most of their games, there’s one level that is directly out of a movie: i.e. CoD 2’s Enemy at the Gates sniper level, + Black Ops’ travelling down the river in a boat, directly pulled from Apocalypse Now. I loved playing through those levels, but it was in that moment that I realized the HUD is just so distracting! I’d love to really immerse myself a little more.

      Here’s hoping that Battlefield 4’s HUD will be toggleable, as that Frostbite 3 engine looks MIGHTY FINE! 🙂

      • eBunny

        Surprised you actually read the entire thing since it probably doesn’t even make any sense, but oh well, thank you.

        I guess it was just kind of a mind dump, as I like to do sometimes, though I try to keep it shorter and more to the point and stuff nowadays.

        I too hope BF4 has a toggleable HUD, preferably just as an option in the menu, but at least as a command, like they later added in BF3. A customizable HUD would be nice as well 🙂

  • zacflame

    I would like to move the HUD so every game has the minimap in the same place.

    other things too, but I think the map location is important.

  • A topic I would hopefully see discussed is mouse and keyboard support for certain genres. Not necessarily first person shooters, but for the more complex MMOs and especially Real Time Strategy games like StarCraft where hotkeys are crucial rather than doing everything manually.And games where you have to do awkward button combinations to perform one action on a gamepad that makes switching control schemes inefficient(MoH Warfighter had this issue where coding another control scheme made you lose the peek and lean ability unless you did some awkward combination of buttons)

  • uwantSAM0A

    No HUD option on singleplayer games is a must for me.