The Evolution of the First Person Shooter

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First Person Shooters are the world’s favourite genre of game; so much has changed since Wolfenstein 3D was released in 1992 and the field forever widens, especially now that the new generation is upon us. We have seen the life and death of various spin-offs, one off’s and franchises, each bringing something new and unique to the blood soaked table.

doomDespite Wolfenstein being the first of the genre, Doom is widely recognised as the ‘first, first person shooter’. Its pseudo-3D environment was something never seen before and the improved graphics from its predecessor, showing those extra few pixels, more diverse levels with (wait for it) working stair wells! Yes, we were able to go up and down stairs! Advanced lighting was also introduced which really gave it the ‘Wow Factor’ the 90’s needed. Since then, the detail, dynamicity and ideas have gone from strength to strength making First Person Shooters the most popular of all games.

The next BIG name within the genre was EA’s ‘Medal of Honour’, a series predominantly based on World War 2. Finally we can see some real 3D graphics! Medal of Honour was within its own league for nearly 10 years from the mid to late 90’s, producing game after game of explosive mayhem and split-screen fun, but it wasn’t until Goldeneye was released on the N64 before we could play more freely with our friends.

Goldeneye was arguably the excuse many needed to go out and buy a N64. For the first time we were able to play a 4 player split screen deathmatch with analogue controls! With Nintendo’s invention of the new functional stick, FPS’s became 360 degree and we no longer had to endure the dysfunctional D-Pad.

Whilst all of this was going on, Valve of course had Halflife in the making. Halflife was and is revolutionary in every way, all owed to the physics within the game. Halflife became gamings version of ‘Breaking Bad’ where it was the best thing you had ever seen, and felt insulted by anyone who hadn’t yet played it. However, with only 2 installments including its debut in 1998, it has since become a forgotten era of gaming, despite it being the start of something brilliant. However, there has almost been a confirmation of Halflife 3 which I guarantee will again, be revolutionary.halflife2

In 2002, the first Call Of Duty was released on PC. The downfall of Medal of Honour had begun as COD gave us our first experiences of realism in a WW2 game. The franchise is still going strong today, breaking records yearly for fastest selling title, each game now racking up over $1billion in sales in a single 24 hour period.

COD’s A-listing fame begun as soon as we were able to play online on a home console. Planet Earth could now connect with millions of other console owners and develop the illness now known as ‘COD-Rage’. True online had begun and from then on, gaming as a whole evolved.

Call Of Duty has dominated the market for so long, that for me, it has become repetitive and unimaginative; this is where Battlefield makes its debut for the article. Dice’s Battlefield series was a slow starter for me, with maps being too big originally, resulting in under-population, but since the 3rd instalment, I can honestly say that THIS is the way forward for First Person Shooters. The attention to detail has become a phenomenon in itself and I cannot stress enough how easy my transition from COD to Battlefield has been. When Activision announced Call Of Duty: Ghosts, they promised map dynamics, more realism and actually, I thought their advertisement was almost aimed at BF fans who feed upon this sort of action, yet I failed to notice any further dynamics other than cars exploding whilst playing the game, which is something we have been a witness of since the early 2000’s. Battlefield on the other hand is as dynamic as dynamic can possibly be, exploding walls, craters in the ground, collapsing buildings. Never has a game’s title so aptly fit its description! We have finally moved away from the longstanding deathmatch regime and have moved into something much more developed and exciting with tanks, planes and choppers now being a part of your arsenal. Now that Battlefield 4 has been released on next gen consoles, the ability to play with 63 other players shows an evolution process beyond even Darwin’s understanding.Battlefield-4-E3-Multiplayer-Trailer-300x187

So, we are upto date, but what’s next? How much further can the worlds most played games take us without actually getting shot? It seems that there isn’t much more room for improvement without increasing graphic capability, but I have a few suggestions.

With up and coming tech such as Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus, it would be a natural transition to start developing games for this type of hardware. Since the modern era of the First Person Shooter, we have all wondered what it would be like to play games like Call of Duty in a paintball-esque environment and hopefully by Christmas 2015, we will find out!

The second thing I would like to see further progress would be the introduction of team based play. Yes, we have this already, but not on the same scale we would hope or expect. More often than not, we can assume that the majority of us will be frenzying around the map, dual wielding FMG’s or something equally as ridiculous, trying to rack up as many kills as possible whilst ignoring anyone else on your team, even occasionally swearing at them should they ‘get the kill first’. I’m not sure how this can be incorporated, I’m not a developer, but surely there must be a way? Permadeath for all that do not comply? That’s a bit harsh admittedly, but a suggestion nonetheless!

Over the last couple of years, I have become a bit of a Battlefield fanboy, but it really is a great game and closest to my vision for what a First Person Shooter should really be. Who doesn’t want to see craters in the ground and collapsing buildings, explosions that last more than the initial fireball and the sound of real-time gunfire constantly flooding your ears?


Well, I hope you enjoyed the read. Please stay tuned for my inevitable review of Battlefield 4, yes I know it’s been out a while, but it deserves a special mention seeing as it is what I have spent most of my year playing, think of it as more of an opinion about the game than a review.

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