I recently read an article about the driving sim, exploring how the genre is reaching a critical point at which modrn games are capable of near-mimickry of professional racing simulators that real racing drivers use. The implication is that the Forza
and Gran Turismo
of the next decade will be the closest that someone could get to racing a car that could be achieved in a living room in front of a screen.
My question is - does the FPS see a similar point in the distance which one can assume definitive realism of the approximation of first person shooting? Moreover, is this necessarily achievable or desireable?
The modern FPS has come on considerably since the corridor-based never-look-up-or-down-or-reload titles of the early ninties such as "Wolfenstein 3D"
advances in technology allow for popping-from-cover, aiming-down-sight, recoil, reloading, context-sensitive hit locations and responsive, intelligent AI enemies and allies. More recent games have also evidenced realistic territory and environment deformation, weapon malfunction, and pseudorealistic screen interpretations of events affecting player vision and hearing.
There are still barriers left to break, yet titles such as Mirror's Edge
and the forthcoming Rage
seem to be looking at sideways progression of the genre, in which elements from platformers, driving games and RPGS are included in FPS titles to showcase innovation through hybridisation.
I have a few suggestions on elements that are still to be tackled in modern FPS, ranging from somewhat trivial to arguably more questionable: - Players tend to absorb bullets and either recover easily, or have more than sufficient health to continue. Players tend to not become wounded such that they cannot walk or manipulate a weapon, they are either alive or instantly dead. Medical packs magically improve health instantly. Alternatively, take cover for a while and a few seconds later you'll feel better. - You will never get tired from jumping. - Stick around on an outdoor level - the weather and day-night cycle will not change. If you play a level in which it is raining or snowing, it will have no effect on you or your gun. - Dead foes tend to disappear or become incorporeal. - If you eject a magazine to reload, the bullets from the ejected magazine remain part of your stock. - Enemies are generally waiting for you to turn up and shoot at them, otherwise their presence in an environment is rarely explained. - Even in games which boast environment manipulation, there will invariably be certain objects inexplicably nailed down. Certain doors will simply not open to you, and no amount of shooting at them changes this. - The genre rarely promotes free-thinking and improvisation. Headshot whatever looks at you funny tends to be the best way to go about your day. The restrictions in character interaction mean reasoning or threatening dialogue, or attempting to wound and disarm an opponent rather than straight kill, are impossible.
There may be one or two examples of FPSs where my suggestions do occur (I won't pretend to have played all FPS games ever made) and some of my suggestions, such as the magical disappearing enemy corpses, are explicable by the capability of portrayl of this against the efficiencies of current technology, but these suggestions are chiefly jumping-points for discussion more than anything. Do these or other suggestions need to be tackled in order to figure we have made a next step in FPS gaming?
As the most popular genre in western gaming, it's important to consider where things are heading and what is considered progress, as this will shape what we consider the FPS genre of 10 years hence.