Earlier this month the hugely anticipated release of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 had first person shooter fans across the world reaching levels of excitement that can only be described as mass hysteria. The franchise has clearly gained a ridiculously loyal fanbase and for good reason – the games are fun to play. However, one can’t help but feel like the recent trend of this genre may be reaching its peak.
I was a fan of the early Medal of Honor and Call of Duty games, right up until World at War, which saw the inspired introduction of the now famous zombie side game and a significant increase of interest in online console play. Since then there have been countless releases trying to cash in on the FPS trend and it certainly feels like we could be reaching a point of market saturation.
The other problem is that it’s difficult to see how much further the genre can go to keep reinventing itself and to keep its audience coming back for more. There are only so many different types of gun or military vehicle that can be included to provide value adding features or new interesting mechanics.
The level of realism and detail has reached a point that further improvements in graphics are surely going to be negligible, so where next can the genre go?
Well, fortunately there are developers looking to take the FPS to the next stage and there is always scope for genre crossovers, though these have in the past proved notoriously difficult to get right. One such product currently in development and scheduled for release Spring 2013 is the intriguing Dust 514, a first person shooter set in the EVE Online universe.
Whilst the primary gameplay is likely to be similar to that of the Call of Duty/Battlefield style – after all why change something that has already proved so popular? – the game changing difference is the large aspects of MMORPG gameplay and incorporation with the EVE Online world.
Players no longer will have to simply deal with earning the best equipment but also levelling their skills in hundreds of areas, managing their online finances and working within massive business-like corporations and alliances.
Next year will also (hopefully) see the long awaited release of Bioshock Infinite, showing again how deep story-telling and RPG elements can combine with FPS to create truly fantastic games. Maybe these could be the future of the genre with the release of crossovers with the RPG style or a complex FPS MMO RTS mix?
Perhaps we’ll see an eventual turn away from the multi-player military gun-fest to the classic FPS roots of long deep story led adventures. Perhaps even with branching and decision making playing integral roles, although recent forays into that field have shown that the mechanic still needs some work.
Game developers have shown a fantastic ability to diversify and reinvent themselves over the decades from the Great Video Game Crash of the 80s to the recent resurrection of the point and click genre, so it is inevitable that FPS will continue in one form or another. What is evident is that change will come soon enough and it’s going to be very interesting to see where it takes us next.
What do you think of the current state of the video game market? How do you think the FPS genre can re-invent itself to keep things fresh? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter.