The views contained in this article are that of the author and should not be taken as the opinion of Geek Node as a publication.
Gaming and shooting have become almost synonymous. It’s pretty obvious why, since shooting things in the face is possibly the easiest gameplay style you can implement into a game. Point your gun at an enemy, and don’t miss. It doesn’t get easier than that. Since the years of old school FPS games like Doom and Wolfenstein 3D, we have been obsessed with finding more and more creative ways to shoot things in the face. Make them demons, set the game during the biggest world war in history, let us fight in current day conflicts. We’ve gone through cycles during our gamer years, leaving behind one tired formula and rolling with the next until it also becomes tired.
If you haven’t been born during the 2000s, you might remember a time when all shooters were set in World War 2. It became so unanimous and widespread that the FPS genre might as well have been called “World War 2 Simulators”. It was easy to see why it happened, with the almost 6-year long war giving a bounty of source material and scenarios to draw from. It was the simpler option and if you know the industry like I do, simpler is always better. We moaned and groaned whenever we got a new FPS that was set in World War 2 because it has become tired and monotonous. The actual war was shorter than some of the bigger FPS franchises that used the World War 2 setting. It was starting to become ridiculous. Then Call of Duty: Modern Warfare rolled onto our doorsteps with the force and stopping power of an Abrams tank.
It was a new type of warfare that we have yet to experience. Sure, there were some games scattered around that tried to go for the more modern combat approach, but none of them came close to the quality and influence that Modern Warfare had back in 2008. It was a revolution that took us out of the tired World War 2 setting and plunged us into current day conflicts with new weapons and means of combat. It was a great time in gaming history. We couldn’t get enough of modern shooters and the industry picked up on that. Following the release of Modern Warfare, we saw a sharp decline in historical shooters and a sharp incline of modern day focused shooters. And so the cycle continued.
The years following the Modern Warfare renaissance were both grand and depressing. We got more games in this new setting which breathed new life into the FPS genre, but after a few years, things started taking a turn for the worse. The market got absolutely oversaturated with modern shooters to the point where it was becoming impossible to keep up. The quality also took a nose dive with the games being of a less desirable quality than its revolutionary predecessors. After a few more years, the FPS genre entered another stagnation period. Call of Duty went a different route by going full-on futuristic, setting games in the far future with a plethora of gadgets, technology and other less conventional means of warfare. I believe they were hoping that the future setting would replace the current setting just like Modern Warfare did, but unfortunately it didn’t work out that way.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare has been met with stark resistance from the overall gaming community. Its trailer sits at over 3 million dislikes, a record-shattering amount for a first trailer. From the outside, this seems puzzling. The game looks fairly decent and the promise of space combat is at least interesting. So why the strong resistance? There can be a number of explanations. The first is that people are getting way too tired with Call of Duty, the annual franchise that really hasn’t done anything mindblowing since Modern Warfare released. The second, and most important, is that we are sick and tired of modern and futuristic shooters. The leap from modern to futuristic wasn’t big enough since both are mostly similar and this caused the old stagnation bug to bite even harder. Call of Duty to me has also become way too busy.
Black Ops 3 was filled to the brim with obnoxious bullshit to the point where it became physically nauseating. There were futuristic guns with hundreds of settings, glaringly obnoxious sound effects and a thousand different variations. You were inundated with gadgets, technology and so much meaningless crap that it just served to give you a headache while it all happened over the loud dubstep soundtrack. The multiplayer was full of perks, killstreaks, weapon combinations and cluttered matches of quickscoping kids that played the game way too much. Call of Duty lost all of its impact for me and judging from that depressing dislike bar on their trailer, I’m not the only one.
Then we got wind of Battlefield 1, with its ridiculous name and all. The game promised us that we’re going back to old times by focusing on the often overlooked World War 1 and the gaming community was overjoyed at the news. What would have been met with scorn and a symphony of sighs was now heralded a return to form for the FPS genre. What was once stagnate, is now serving as the inspiration. The like ratio on the game’s trailer contrasts Call of Duty’s trailer with the likes also breaking records. But why?
Battlefield 1 takes us back to a simpler time where warfare wasn’t so busy and obnoxious all the time. Instead of calling down a drone strike on someone 50 miles away while also working your gun that contains enough technology to run Witcher 3 on Ultra, you can now take a regular weapon and shoot someone in the face again. While from the offset this can be seen as a bit regressive, gamers have grown tired of the bloated modern warfare approach and longed to be back to simpler times when your only means of defense was a couple of grenades and a semi-automatic rifle. There’s also the fact that the historical genre, despite its earlier saturation, is still prime ground for excellent stories and combat scenarios. I’d take a look into depressing trench warfare or intense claustrophobic tank duels over some maligned tale of “technology used for evil” every time.
What this means for the future is still unclear. It’s obvious what the gaming community wants at the present moment when it comes to shooters and we might see a rise in games set in the distant past again. The cycle of stagnation is also still looming with its ever present threat, but it seems clear to me that we needed a major shake-up in the FPS genre. We’ll see how the two giants of the genre perform when they release and how they will shape the future of shooty bang bangs.
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