You already know the news about Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare. You know that Infinity Ward made one hell of a gamble in introducing space combat for the first time. And you know how negatively the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare trailer was received by fans (it’s the second most disliked video on Youtube ever).
The media has blown up about Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare. For the most part, accusation and criticisms have been hurled at Infinity Ward. But all these accusations and criticism completely miss the truth of the matter.
Because what the media and fans should have been asking is this: Why did Infinite Ward make such a gamble in introducing space combat?
Call Of Duty is one of the bestselling FPS game franchises in history. It’s lined financers’ pockets with enough cash to buy every DLC item EA has ever put out—that’s a lot of money. So for Infinity Ward to take such a gamble to introduce space combat is a huge risk on a very hot property.
Anytime a company makes a huge gamble on a successful franchise, there’s a damn good reason. Companies don’t take risks without needing to.
So the question you want to ask yourself is: Why did Infinity Ward gamble so much on Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare?
And the reason is this: The time has finally come for the FPS genre to change.
For years we’ve played FPS games that are largely the same. Battlefield, Call Of Duty, Homefront… they’re largely the same game. Of course there are some differences, but if you objectively analyze most FPS games, you’ll find that their underlying mechanics are largely the same.
And after so many years, the time has finally come for FPS games to evolve.
We’re already seeing the beginning of the evolution of the FPS genre thanks to some great games this year. Overwatch, Battlefield 1, Doom, Call Of Duty: Infinity Warfare, and Homefront: The Revolution are all taking the FPS genres in different directions, because all these games’ developers know that the time has come for FPSs to evolve.
Overwatch, Battlefield 1, Doom, Call Of Duty: Infinity Warfare, and Homefront: The Revolution all carry the FPS genre in new directions.
This little infographic shows all the important ways FPS games are changing.
With Overwatch, Battlefield 1, Doom, Call Of Duty: Infinity Warfare, and Homefront: The Revolution we see the evolution of the FPS genre (and so far, it’s an evolution that looks damn good).
Let’s take a look at each of those games in turn and see how the FPS genre is evolving.
Overwatch: The MOBA-influenced FPS that’s blowing up the world
Overwatch is insanely hot right now.
Blizzard understood that people wanted a new FPS experience, and boy did they deliver it. You can read our preview of Overwatch here.
As you’ll see, different game developers are taking FPSs in different directions. Blizzard is just one part of that. They’re evolving the FPS genre by adding MOBA elements to create a new experience in Overwatch.
Overwatch (as you probably know if you’ve been playing the beta) includes a heck of a lot of strategy and extols the importance of characters. Unlike in most FPS games, character choice is hugely important in Overwatch because every character has truly unique strengths and weaknesses. This add a high level of strategy to the game, making it a RPG-FPS experience.
Blizzard has also made Overwatch incredibly accessible. Next to anyone could pick up a controller and have a damn good time playing Overwatch, regardless of their experience with FPSs.
These two decisions—to evolve FPSs by making them more strategic and more accessible—is proving popular.
So far the public response to Overwatch has been extremely positive, with fans and critics calling in a new experience that they’ve been waiting for.
The success of Overwatch in itself will guarantee that many other game developers try something similar, meaning Overwatch will act as a catalyst to the evolution of the FPS genre.
But Overwatch is just one part of the FPS puzzle.
If Overwatch is leading the FPS genre in one direction than id Software and Doom are leading it in another direction.
Doom isn’t so much an evolution of the FPS genre as a devolution. Or, for want of a better word, it’s a renaissance of everything that made the FPS genre great back in the 90s.
Where most FPSs these days involve moral choices and stories that aim at realism (some even making socio-political commentary), Doom sticks up a middle finger and says “screw that, let’s just kill monsters.”
It’s a simple premise, but a valuable contribution to the FPS genre. Many gamers have been waiting for this sort of “back to basics” experience.
Doom is all about death. Set in hell with no realism in its story and no moral choices, Doom champions death, pure and simple. It’s gruesome, it’s visceral, it’s pure in its chaos. And it’s current sales record shows that many FPS fans are very glad to see a game that doesn’t wax lyrical with its story and instead just goes all-in on its gore.
Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare
The thirteenth game in the Call Of Duty franchise aims to reinvent the series with its (now notorious) introduction to space combat.
We all know how the internet has reacted to the Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare trailer. But in a lots of ways, it’s a shame that the criticism has been so negative and that there’s been next to no objective analysis of the game.
Because while Infinity Ward might not have evolved the franchise in the right way, the fact that they have been so brave with such a well loved series speaks volumes to the developer’s creativity. We might boo the space combat, but we should cheer the fact that Infinity Ward was actually willing to take such a creative gamble with their franchise.
Infinity Ward has stated that the space combat will constitute a key element in Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s gameplay. New gameplay mechanics like zero-gravity environments and a transforming fighter, are also included.
It’s too early to say precisely how different Infinite Warfare will be to other Call Of Duty games, but it’s clear that even Infinity Ward, the makers of the number one FPS franchise, are interested in evolving the FPS genre.
Also, I’m just going to throw this out there, but given that Infinity Ward has been so right about their franchise for the past twelve games, doesn’t it seem possible that they might also be right about this space combat malarkey? Maybe we’re judging them too soon.
Homefront: The Revolution
Homefront was never anywhere near as popular as Call Of Duty or Battlefield, so to an extent it’s not surprising to see Dambuster Studios making serious changes to the Homefront template.
Unlike the first game in the series, Homefront: The Revolution will be an open-world experience with many districts to explore. Gathering resources is also important as players scavenge parts from buildings to create new weapons and equipment.
Homefront: The Revolution will also incorporate many side-quests, including assassinating high-ranked KPA officials and stealing valuable items. And weapon modification is a key element of the game.
Interestingly, Homefront: The Revolution will feature a four-player cooperative mode called “Resistance”, which will include its own characters, progression, classes and perks, in a way that seems to incorporate many elements of RPGs. Speaking of RPGs, Dambuster have also said that Homefront: The Revolution will include a difficulty level similar to the Dark Souls games.
It seems Dambuster are creating a much more explorative and RPG-influenced FPS this time around, and they (like the other game developers in this list) have chosen not to just stick to FPS conventions but to attempt to evolve the genre in their own unique way.
Battlefield 1 is the fourteenth game in the Battlefield series and is arguably the game that is being most faithful to traditional FPS gameplay.
Set in World War I and showing a (supposedly) historically accurate story (which has apparently been debunked) Battlefield 1 stays true to the Battlefield formula. You’ll be able to use all sorts of World War I weapons like rifles, artillery, flamethrowers, and bolt-action rifles; you’ll be able to fight melee style using weapons like sabres, trench clubs, and shovels; and you’ll get access to vehicles like planes, tanks and battleships.
However, there are some key new features to Battlefield. For starters the game will feature areas that are far larger and far more open than previous games in the Battlefield series. You’ll also be able to make more choices in terms of paths to completing levels. And you’ll get to control a variety of different characters.
The multiplayer has been spruced-up too and will allow for 64 players. A new squad system lets you and your team enter or leave the dedicated servers together, and when you play without a squad the game will be significantly harder.
It was also announced today that EA will be incorporating lots of micro-transactions into the game (to no one’s surprise).
But for the most part, Battlefield I is the one game in the list that really stays true to form. And that’s probably just as well, because given the amount of variation other games are showing, you might be very glad to have one formulaic, tried-and-true FPS game.
The FPS genre is evolving. And you’re going to gets tons of new FPS experiences very soon
The FPS genre, clearly, is evolving right before our eyes and faster than it has done before.
All the games we’ve looked at are evolving the FPS genre in different ways. Doom is making it all about gruesome kills and pure, high-octane action. Overwatch is using character-based strategic gameplay similar to MOBAs. Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare has its zero-gravity space combat and transforming fighter. Battlefield I places heavy emphasis on history (and micro-transactions). Homefront: The Revolution is all about open world exploration and gathering.
This year, and these games, constitutes one of the biggest innovations we’ve seen in the FPS genre for a long time. And that’s a good thing. With the amount of different experiences games developers are creating, there’s going to be a FPS to please practically everyone.
Roll on 2016 and the future of the FPS.