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.

Featured Columnist

A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years, a confirmed gamer for over 30 years, and a lover of fine literature and ridiculously sweet desserts.

Published Jan. 14th 2014
  • Shig_3996
    Borderlands man. Takes an overly-saturated genre and absolutely pisses on the competition. Both Borderlands 1&2 are fucking awesome :D
  • Duder NME
    I can't imagine that all the epithets spun by anonymous prepubescents is a healthy factor toward the state of FPSs. When multiplayer already has that stigma, not much of a mainstream, non-gamer audience will be attracted to such an arena.
  • Corey Kirk
    Featured Columnist
    The problem with FPS is that they have been watered down to a point just above point and click. Every FPS game today has the same mechanics. Aim down site, click shoot, repeat. Every weapon is the same, regardless of the skin. I mean I can play Planetside 2 and find the equivalent gun in BF4. What happened to being able to jump 100 feet into the air, guns that shoot plasma balls with unlimited ammo, health packs. I mean cmon, you know the FPS genre needs a boost when people are wanting health packs back. I hope Titanfall is the game that brings new mechanics, not just re-skinned ones.

    BTW, the future of FPS games lies with Oculus Rift. At least, I hope. :)
  • Si_W
    No, not bored at all. Maybe that's because I generally only play the BF series and no other shooters and have a range of other games I play. Quite happy with where BF4 is right now, despite having huge issues in the first month of release after an error-free beta but all is fixed so not worth whinging about.

    I like just running around and shooting people without worrying about other things like your RPG-like elements, they're fine for single player campaigns but no good for multiplayer.

    Other than the odd game that in total I can probably count on one hand and still have fingers left, I don't bother with the multiplayer of any other game such as Tomb Raider, Max Payne, etc. Those games to me are purely single player games and I have zero interest in playing against others, whereas I can't get enough of BF.

    It also helps that I have online friends on teamspeak that I can have a major laugh whilst playing, but I don't need that every time.
  • Germ_the_Nobody
    I've been sick of shooters for awhile. I still enjoy them but they have become my least favorite genre. Tomb Raider, Uncharted, Alan Wake, Bulletstorm are all special to me. Even Dreamkiller because it has a story I enjoy and extremely interesting aesthetics. I'm playing Metro: Last Light right now and enjoying it. I hadn't really liked Metro 2033. I think the story is interesting but to me 2033 was just another shooter. Last Light has a much better pace so I'm far more interested in it.

    I didn't think Crysis 1 or 2 were special in any way. I've played some Crysis 3 recently but those games seem more about graphics than anything, with a story that could be good but doesn't really offer much.
    The Bioshock games bored me. They have interesting elements but are still just another shooter to me. Infinite was only good in the last hour or so. That ending blew my mind and I thought it was incredible but up until the end of the game I really didn't care at all about it.

    I don't understand the "repetitive gameplay" argument though. Every single game ever made is repetitive. I suppose one day we'll see a game with a mix of every single genre throughout different levels, but is that really what people want? I suppose it depends on how it's done.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    Bioshock has a more advanced mechanic with the extra magic-like skills, and balancing between firepower and mystical ability. Besides, these games have a MUCH better narrative when compared to other shooters. In fact, the Bioshock titles feature some of the best stories in recent memory, IMO.
  • GameSkinny Staff
    I agree that the genre has been fairly stale for a while, but I'm optimistic that the newgen consoles will eventually offer good stuff. Titanfall gives me the most hope, the promise of new forms of movement and new mechanics sounds innovative enough to draw me in.

    I think the biggest pitfalls for most FPS titles is that multiplayer seemingly MUST be some form of versus mode. I really am looking forward to new FPS games taking cues from co-op shooters like Borderlands and Killing Floor and building and innovating off of those foundations to offer something fresh. There's a lot of potential, I just hope that potential isn't wasted.
  • Venisia Gonzalez
    Featured Columnist
    I can definitely agree with that.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    I wish I could find a way to get more involved in multiplayer. Perhaps something like Titanfall will appeal to me, but I keep reverting to my single-player ways. Maybe that's one of the biggest reasons why shooters have started to wear on me, what with developers putting less emphasis on campaigns and more and more on multiplayer.
  • FP-Cond
    I think you hit it on the head man I think the Bioshock games are the closest games to the future of FPS because it is the blend of FPS and RPG. Though Bioshock doesn't have a multiplayer element I think if there is a way to blend the two or a hybrid of Fallout....idk I think 2014 might lead to a new genre of MMO/FPS
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    Oh yeah, I love Bioshock. The problem is that I'm not a big fan of multiplayer so anything similar to "MMO" just doesn't do it for me.

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