Friday Feature: First Person Shooters, Where Are They Headed?

Date: April 20, 2012 Written by


First Person Shooters, you either love them or you hate them. This genre is most likely the most sold of this generation, due to the medium of gaming becoming more widespread and being covered by the media than it ever has before. With millions of consoles being sold every year, millions upon millions of games are sold too. It has come to no surprise that these games have sold the most this generation, since gaming has been introduced to a much younger generation who are up to their eyes in a selection in point and shoot games. But where does it go from here? What happens the next generation? I take a guess at what could happen, but first, here’s some speculation straight from the top of my head.

I woke up Wednesday morning and for some reason, the first thing that came to my head was that, in the current generation, we have been subjected to so many FPS games. Why is this, I thought to myself? Well, if you go onto Xbox Live or PSN and throw yourself onto a Call of Duty game or Battlefield, you’ll most likely see why. Children and teenagers. It’s not a surprise that in contemporary times, people have become desensitised. We are more accustomed to seeing and dealing with war, crime, sex etc. Why do I bring this up I hear you say?  Well how else do you think children and pre-teens get a hold of these 15 to 18 rated games? Their parents of course! While you most likely wouldn’t buy your children drugs, or alcohol, the age rating on games just seems to be another sticker. Yes, I’ve played games I shouldn’t have played because of the age restriction, but who was there to stop me? Anyway, back to the original point, the majority of those who are playing these games are younger teenagers and those in their 20s. Social integration on games and the ability to contact someone through so many ways has expanded in the last 10 years, so if someone is playing a ‘cool’ game, they can let their mates know in a matter of seconds, I know and have seen this in action. Their friends buy the game, who then tell their other friends about the game, who proceed to buy the games themselves and the cycle goes on. I’m not saying this is a bad thing at all, but the internet has helped shaped stereotypes into gaming too. When was the last time you saw a bunch of teenagers discussing the latest Mario game, or wanting to meet up and play Just Dance 2 together? The FPS genre at the moment is the ‘best’ or ‘coolest’ and no one wants to be seen talking about Tetris or Kinect Sports.

Modern Warfare 2 Was The Talk Of The Town Throughout The End Of 2009

Mass advertisement and the ability to advertise in many more ways has made not only FPS but gaming known much more. This too has the same effect as mentioned before, one person sees, then buys, plays it, tells others, then repeat cycle. Advertisement has gone crazy. FPS sensation Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Commonly referred to as MW2) had a game budget of $40 to $50 million, which is roughly how much it takes to create a medium sized film. The advertising budget for the game was $200 million; some say it even exceeded that, which is amazingly high for a video game let alone its advertising campaign. To be fair, it worked, Modern Warfare 2 shattered records and set to become the biggest selling video game of all time.

Don't You Just Love The Amount Of Shades Of Brown In This Image?

And because of those reasons and more, is why we are subjected to so many copy and paste shooters, because it’s so easy to market and it’s currently ‘what’s hot’. I pray that the next generation does not continue this trend. Call of Duty, I honestly enjoyed this up to number 4, the first Modern Warfare. It was a nice refreshing take for the franchise and I think that was when the series peaked. There is so little to innovate in the genre that we tend to get the same game but with different guns and maps each year, all overprice (in my opinion) and then DLC which normally amounts to the same value of the game. The favoured ‘Zombies’ mode of the game introduced in ‘World at War’ was a nice touch to what seemed to be a boring franchise. Fans clamour for a zombie exclusive game and I think it would work as a nice little side project to do over the years while the other games are developed, but no we continue to receive the same old. I hate to pick on the Call of Duty franchise, but it’s the one that’s most obvious and the popular choice among gamers, as well as being a prime example of what is wrong with doing this to itself.

While There Are Little Changes Now And Again, Are They Enough To Stop FPS's Going Stale?

Does anyone remember Guitar Hero? I’m sure you do, as the name implies, you played as a Guitar Hero, playing songs and achieving fame. Great games, got mostly mainstream at Guitar Hero 3 (some will say 2, but I’m fairly sure it was 3 that sent it off) and seeing this success, Activision decided to pursue the franchise, because, why wouldn’t you? Everyone loves money right? Well guess what, gamers love good games too.  Countless sequels later, along with handheld and spinoffs, the franchise died, too many games in such a sort time killed what they made, consumers had no time to buy and play every game. This is what I foresee happening to FPS soon, especially entering the next generation. With the success of one thing, many others try and grab that same success (looking at Guitar Hero, we got Rock Band, Band Hero; looking at Call of Duty, just look at the amount of FPS we have).

While FPS have always been a popular genre, they hit their peak this generation and I don’t see the same success they had this generation being repeated again in the next. Different types of control will offer  different types of experiences to gamers, touch screen (Wii U) and motion control (Wii U, Kinect) will need to take advantage of their own hardware, meaning games will more likely be suited to that type of controller, not like the ones we have been using for so long now. While I’m sure Call of Duty will still exist in 5 to 10 years’ time, I’m confident it won’t be experiencing the same amount of success it has now. Ghost Recon, Battlefield, Rainbow Six and so on will need to go in order for new experiences to shine, as well as the generation who play the games now, will have grown up. They too will be looking forward to newer gameplay, and while this fresh gameplay can still exist in FPS such as TimeSplitters (seems to be the popular one) which introduces things such as Map Making, creative character choices and different level designs, in the majority of games, everything seems to be a quick cash grab using DLC and subscription services and online passes.

In summary; FPS need to go in order to satisfy the needs of gamers who are now bored of the certain type of gameplay and to also stop itself from digging itself into the ground. I hate to see the different FPS games go, but this needs to happen in order for newer games and developers to arise.

What are your thoughts on the subject? Leave a comment below.