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Aren't We All Just a Little Tired of Shooters By Now?

The FPS was once a revolutionary phenomenon. Now it's feeling like a tired cliche.

So everyone doesn't get the wrong idea, let me clarify:

I've always liked shooters. I still remember being mesmerized by games like Duke NukemDoom, and Heretic. I'm old enough to recall the first time Wolfenstein made its auspicious debut; I watched it with great fascination on my friend's old computer. I was also interested to watch the genre's advancement through the years, recently culminating in the likes of Killzone: Shadow FallBattlefield 4, and Call of Duty: Ghosts.

Looking down the road, we see hugely anticipated games like TitanfallDestiny, the new Halo, and the recently announced Evolve. A new CoD entry is scheduled for later this year (and it might be helmed by Sledgehammer Studios), and we can expect a new Battlefield at some point, as well as a fresh Bad Company entry. Then there are promising third-person shooters, such as The Order: 1886 and the announced but yet-to-be-detailed Uncharted 4.

I'm not as tired of the latter as I am of first-person shooters, though. I mean, come on.

There are examples of great first-person adventures that go beyond shooting, ya know

It's not that I'm sick and tired of the first-person perspective, per se. It's that I'm just bored with how developers are utilizing that perspective, over and over and over. I understand that, almost by default, most video games are quite repetitive. One could make the argument that a game like God of War is repetitive, too, I suppose. But that's not the point. The point is that in most other categories of gaming, we're seeing innovation and creativity that we're really not seeing in the FPS genre.

The most annoying part is that first-person gives us nigh-on unlimited possibilities. It could be a role-playing experience with FPS elements, such as Deus Ex or RAGE, or we could implement elements from other genres. The first two Crysis games tried to do that, but the most recent just became more of a shooting gallery. The same thing happened to the Dead Space franchise, by the way. As just about every category of gaming gets increasingly faster and more "action-y," we're starting to see the FPS mentality everywhere.

Some RPGs, such as The Elder Scrolls and The Witcher can be played in the first-person viewpoint and while these are very different, they represent possibilities. They prove that great achievements can exist in the first-person perspective. They prove that if certain developers applied themselves, and if certain publishers were willing to take a risk or two, we could see some really refreshing FPSs. I'm not saying they have to stop being shooters; I'm saying there's a lot more that can be done with the basic concept of the "first-person shooter."

Seems like even some of the hardcore followers are starting to tire...

Call of Duty: Ghosts didn't explode the way Activision probably wanted it to. Sure, it broke more sales records out of the gate, but it probably won't ever top the sales record set by Grand Theft Auto V. Throughout 2013, analysts were predicting a downward slope for the uber-popular CoD franchise, and we'd see evidence of that decline with Ghosts. Well, for the most part, they were right. Plus, despite the brilliant visual presentation of Killzone: Shadow Fall, many agreed that it's best described as "just another shooter."

That's the problem, right there. "Just another shooter." Far too many titles can qualify for that label, year in and year out. While Titanfall and Destiny might offer some minor twists to the accepted formula, I'm still just seeing shooters. Destiny looks like an upgraded Borderlands 2 to me, but that's about it. Furthermore, if you stop to take the pulse of gamer nation, you may start to sense a growing boredom with the FPS genre. You find it in almost every community now and I actually find that encouraging.

Multiplayer may or may not be helping

One last point: multiplayer needs to cater to the widest audience possible, as that has become the shooter's bread-and-butter. Just about everyone waiting in line at the midnight launches for such titles are there for the multiplayer. Now, given that such a feature must remain mainstream, there's not too much developers can do to change it up. That would result in annoyed gamers and the publisher would be unhappy, to say the least. Perhaps multiplayer - or rather, the accepted idea of FPS multiplayer - is what's holding the genre back.

Hard to say, though. Innovation can be found anywhere, provided a designer had the requisite imagination and a publisher had the gumption to produce the result.

In the end, I'm definitely not the only one who has become bored with the FPS genre. I grew up with it and now I'm bored. That says something.

Published Jan. 14th 2014
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