Let's Talk Games

Changing the First Person Shooter

I love First Person Shooters.

The immediacy of them, the way they can build tension and the ease of which I can lose myself in a new role as protector of the universe all manage to put a smile upon my lips.

If there’s any genre that truly captured my imagination, it’s the FPS genre.

But, that doesn’t mean I’m immune to their failings.

The genre that once felt so fresh and vibrant can easily feel tired and worn out these days. The well-travelled routes that have paved the way to former glories can often feel overused, populated now by mere mortals where once Gods walked.

I can remember in vital detail every aspect of the day I fired up Doom on my original Playstation. Who was there in my room, the posters on my walls, the magazines on the floor (all tasteful ones I hasten to add) and of course, the bewildered open mouthed awe that hung in the air. It was a great day and one that immediately cemented my love for this new way of playing.

Doom

But that was a long time ago. And now here we are in 2014 and I often ask how far we’ve actually come from that first foray into the underworlds of Doom?

Graphically of course we’ve made huge leaps. The AI also took a big step in the right direction when Master Chief and Halo entered the fray. But, how much else has changed?

HaloCombatEvolvedAnniversary6

The developers still pop a gun or blade into our hands and pit us against the minions of all kinds of evil. The storyline’s shift but the action by and large remains the same. As the sun began to set on our last generation of Xbox 360’s and PS3’s the whole FPS genre, for me at least, had become a mere shadow of its former self.

There were still some solid games landing, but at their core they remained worryingly familiar.

And so here’s my idea, and bear with me as it’s not a very good one and it’s still merely an acorn at present. Take the first person game to different places.

It’s been done before of course. Mirror’s Edge, Outlast and Amnesia: The Dark Descent to name three. All games that moved the goalposts and changed the way we approached our first person experience. Flight rather than fight.

mirrorsedge_ss3

But alongside this, now that we have the all new powers of Xbox One and PS4 to play with, we can change further still.

It was while playing Outlast that I realised how incredible it could be to be placed in to a team of paranormal experts travelling the world’s most haunted locations in search of answers to one of life’s biggest questions, ‘Is there life after death?’.

A First-Person-Ghost Hunter.

Infra-red and night vision camcorders aplenty, sound recorders instead of shotguns, bumps in the night rather than bumps on the head, and immense tension, always go immense with the tension. I think it could be a winner.

Or take us gamers into a place where the game is all about characters and depth of story, a First-Person-Drama or First-Person-Thriller if you like. I’ve sat through, and thoroughly enjoyed many films that had little to no shooting in them at all but were instead built upon the firm foundations of drama and suspense. I would love to be put into the role of a character who finds themselves in the middle of a twisting and surprising plot where interaction with other characters is king and blowing their heads off is never even a consideration.

The sky’s the limit where the only boundaries are those of the developer’s imaginations. I believe there to be a whole universe of untapped, potentially great, games ideas out there that could give the First-Person genre the shot in the arm it so vitally needs.

amnesia-2

The FPS is still my favourite way to play, but if we could embrace a little more often the idea of dropping the ‘S’ from the genre I think the old worn routes could once again become an off the beaten track haven for gamers wanting something more from their games.

What do you think?

Are you still happy with the FPS genre as a whole or do you have different ideas of where it could go?

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