Call of Duty, Battlefield, Splinter Cell. What do these games all have in common? These are, of course, first person shooter games, and a lot of people are saying that first person shooter games are a fad. You really have to forgive these people because they are absolutely clueless as to what they’re talking about.
When you look at the typical first person shooter game, it’s not just a simple matter of somebody strapping guns and all sorts of weapons and explosive devices going down a 3D map and knocking out the enemy.
A lot of critics try to strip down the FPS game value proposition in such simplistic terms, but such oversimplification actually does nobody any favors. It really denies the tremendous amount of depth and innovation involved in both the storyline, the game experience, as well as the game mechanics of the typical first person shooter game.
It also turns a blind eye to the fact that a lot of these game mechanics can be applied to games that are not first person shooters. You can be involved in some sort of open world game and a lot of the game dynamics that you see in Call of Duty are also involved.
To simply say that FPS games are just hardwired to a certain set of experiences and are, by definition, limited, is really missing the forest from the trees. You’re looking at a small a detail and you can’t see the big picture.
FPS games are here to say, let me just say it straight out. No surprises, no hidden agenda. FPS games are here to stay. Why? Because they are part of a global game design and philosophy ecosystem.
Gone were the days where to design a game, you basically are dealing with some sort of closed environment where there are only certain variables at play and you are restricted to those variables. In other words, you just have to point your scarce resources to those variables to achieve certain predictable ends, and you have yourself a game.
Now, we live in a very vibrant global game development community reaching all the way from Finland to the southern parts of Brazil, all the way to Southeast Asia, to Africa, and all points in between. And what happens in this environment is that ideas cross pollinate each other.
You may release a game in the Philippines, for example, and people from San Francisco might sit up and pay attention. They release a game and people from Norway pay attention, and this triggers imaginations in certain parts of Africa, which then, in turn, motivates people in India, which then triggers Filipinos, and on and on it goes.
Think of it like some sort of bacterial soup. Bacteria evolve because they share their DNA. Whenever two bacteria get in touch with each other, they mate to produce new DNA. If you repeat this billions of times, there are all sorts of possibilities that are just mind blowing that materialize.
The same applies to game ideas. And this is why FPS games, as seemingly limited and predictable as they may be to some people, are actually part of this constantly evolving and constantly mutating global game philosophy ecosystem. That’s why I can say with all confidence that FPS games are here to stay.