Are We Seeing Too Many Shooters?

ghost recon future soldier

One of the weird trends that I noticed during E3 2011 was the overall disdain for the mass amount of shooters that were on display. It didn’t really crop up until UbiSoft’s press conference, but once Ghost Recon and FarCry 3 came on the stage I noticed that most gaming journalists on Twitter started adopting a “oh, great, another shooter” attitude.

Sure, a lot of games these days do involve guns, but it’s been like that for the past few years and it seems odd that this is the year that people start ranting about it, especially considering that the quality of the shooters were pretty decent. I suppose that if you spend everyday writing previews and reviews and whatever else on shooter games it gets a little stale after a while, but consumers play them just as much if not more. The difference there is that game journalists have a venue for their output where people get to read that stuff.

In light of that, I thought I’d open up a little discussion for you guys to sound off on this topic: are we seeing too many shooters these days? I know that we’ve touched on a similar issue before, but this is the year that sort of seemed to tip things over the edge. What do you think? Are we inundated with too many shooters? Why do you think that is this the most prevalent style of game? Sound off!

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mitch@gamersushi.com Twitter: @mi7ch Gamertag: Lubeius PSN ID: Lubeius SteamID: Lube182 Origin/EA:Lube182 Currently Playing: Stardew Valley, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, Battlefield 4, Tom Clancy Double Feature: Rainbow Six Siege and The Division

10 thoughts on “Are We Seeing Too Many Shooters?”

  1. Um…Push? really though my answer is yes and no. I don’t think we have any more shooters than we have always had, and I don’t think that there are too many. What we do have to much of is shooters that try to be “THE” shooter and end up being generic and stale. I would like to see more titles for a niche market. Metro 2033 and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. are just two examples of games that I loved, but are so different I hesitate to even call them shooters.

  2. Didn’t we already have this a while a go ?

    Anyway, I think that it’s not the FPS genre, it’s that most FPS’s try to copy the dominant franchises in the genre.

    We have too many multiplayer based, linear and “blockbuster” like games. I hate the fact that the single player experience is linear and short, and mostly about explosions.

  3. I understand that this is something I pretty much bring up every time I comment. I think why it seemed to really resonate this year, at E3, is because this is when we really started to feel the squeeze.

    I mean, not even games advertised as shooters play up the shooter angle, like Mass Effect 3 designers discussing how they’re improving combat.

    Major releases of Q1 2011 were Bulletstorm, Killzone 3, Homefront, and Crysis 2.

    A retrospective of 2011 will include the fact that Duke Nukem Forever was finally released.

    I mean look at November, we’ve got BF3 and MW3 set to duel, alongside the Halo: CE remake(and an entire new trilogy), not to mention Gears of War 3, Uncharted 3, The Darkness II and Rage.

    The American video game industries’ biggest releases are almost always shooters, I mean, I’m not trying to be “holier than thou”, a quick look at my library of video games is probably around 80% first-person-shooter or third-person-shooter, and I love them as much as the next guy, whether it’s storming the beaches of Normandy, storming a terrorist compound or storming an alien planet alongside space marines.

    I mean, maybe it’s a cultural thing?

  4. I can completely see where the journalists are coming from. More and more, the biggest games that companies are making are standard war shooters that, if you were to remove the games’ huds, you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart until a major story segment happens. Call of Duty, Ghost Recon, Battlefield… I’m not planning on buying any of these because none of them look like they’re going to deliver any experience that I can get from games that have already been released. I think that the genre needs to deviate a bit more than it has been. Nobody complains about games like Fallout, Rage, Bulletstorm, or TF2 being “just another shooter” because they’re actually identifiably their own games that have different visual and gameplay styles that keep things interesting.

  5. I’m with Gadfly, I really like S.T.A.L.K.E.R and a few of the “special” FPS games, but sometimes I do feel like the lukewarm shooters really bring down the genre in the eyes of some gamers.

    But shooters are also probably the most “diverse” genre, because you can go from something like Operation Flashpoint (which is totally realistic), to Bulletstorm or Duke Nukem which are totally over the top. There really is something for everyone in games that involve guns. They might not always be unique or world-shattering, but when they are they tend to be very satisfying.

  6. Nope.
    Are we seeing too many mediocre shooters? Yes. And are we seeing too few games of other genres? Yes. Takes a chance devs/publishes!
    As far as shooters go, I love ’em so I have no problems with them. Especially the hybrid shooter (FPSRPGs are awesome). Fair enough, there are many, MANY FPS/3PS’s out there and some (like Homefront or, if reviews are to be believed, Duke Nukem) should never have been released due to their sub-par quality. Or lack of quality.
    As mentioned above, I like it when developers do something different with shooters (Assume all of the following have good shooting mechanics in addition to the other positive points made). Mass Effect does story and conversations and exploration. Uncharted does well scripted fights and levels with good story and acting. Battlefield encourages teamwork in multiplayer and there’s no better feeling in gaming than “Battlefield Moments”. CoD does lone wolf multiplayer near perfectly and its RPG elements can never seem to be emulated properly.
    Really, when you have developers doing this much interesting and varied things within one genre I have no problems with “too many shooters”. GR and FC3 both seem to be trying new things so I’m watching them with an interested eye (although I would have preferred it if Ubisoft had basically announced Far Cry 2.5 and added co-op and more to do outside of the main missions and fixed multiplayer).
    That said journos are well within their rights to say it but it IS odd that they waited until now of all times to say it. Ah well.

  7. Are we seeing too many shooters these days?
    For game makers, maybe. For every successful game that gets a 7-9.whatever in GameInformer, there are just as many FPS that get as low as 4. Those games that failed are then forgotten by consumers as we move on to the next success.

    Are we inundated with too many shooters?
    For businesses: if there were too many shooters, then it’d no longer be a viable marketing venture to produce these games. For consumers: I think we’d prefer fewer high quality games over the mountains of crap being delivered by the video game industry.

    Why do I think that is this the most prevalent style of game?
    Humans, while socially inclined to cooperate towards a greater good, are capable of killing other humans. Whatever the reasoning, be it faith, national pride, or evolutionary survival, we are all capable of killing. The video game offers the inbetween: explore the violent aspect of our humanity, without the guilt that would normally follow (*usually: some games actually do a good job invoking feelings of guilt).

    I’d prefer to see an end to FPS games that take place in World War II, Vietnam, the Modern Era and the Far Future.

    Hoping for, though not expecting:
    Call of Duty Zero: The American Revolution
    (It couldn’t be a Medal of Honor game. It wasn’t established until the 1860s due to the Civil War.)

  8. Are we seeing too many shooters?
    Not really. I think people say that because as far as the player base goes, these guys are high up there.

    Why is it so popular?
    I think everyone likes guns first off, but the big meat of it is its replay and competitiveness. Almost anyone can pick up their virtual gun and go out and have a game of “Im/we are a better player/team then you” kind of gameplay. Its easy competition. Its pretend war. Most people seem to like that. Its a solid game type. Trust me, take multiplayer out and people wouldn’t be so enamored with COD or any of the other games. Its not the story that really does sell the games. (debatable, but work with me here) People want a good replay experience and shooters have done that in a very simple manor. Your grandpa who fought in Korea could do it, your dad the pen-pusher could do it, your 5 year old cousin could do it; shooters are simple and straightforward. Did I mention they are fun too?

    Should this change?
    I dont know. I think it will always be around. I think its just too popular of a genera. I think devs should not beat a series to death though. Make the games more complex, more innovative. I dont want devs to just rid out on a wave of a shooters success. Dont beat the game to death, move on when you need too.

  9. [quote comment=”16782″]Nobody complains about games like Fallout, Rage, Bulletstorm, or TF2 being “just another shooter” because they’re actually identifiably their own games that have different visual and gameplay styles that keep things interesting.[/quote]

    I think that gets to the crux of it. As well as a game is put together, there’s really no difference between the CoDs, BFs, KZs, GRs of the world, and that’s why these people (and I) were shaking their heads at the reveal of yet another shooter. A first-person view with guns isn’t something that needs to go away (or decline in number, anyway), but there needs to be something that sets them apart…

    or not. I guess if they sell, why stop making them. I’m not buying them, though.

    PS – I noticed someone mentioned Uncharted as a shooter. I think the defintion of “shooter” is being used pretty liberally in this case. I think, though I could be wrong, the eye-rolling attitude is directed more at the Modern Warfare/Halo and clones that not only innundate the market, but the genre.

  10. [quote comment=”16790″]PS – I noticed someone mentioned Uncharted as a shooter. I think the defintion of “shooter” is being used pretty liberally in this case. I think, though I could be wrong, the eye-rolling attitude is directed more at the Modern Warfare/Halo and clones that not only innundate the market, but the genre.[/quote]

    The reason I mentioned Uncharted as a shooter is because its take-cover gunplay is the primary method of conflict resolution, especially in the more linear Uncharted 2 and what Uncharted 3 is shaping up to be. The primary threat isn’t necessarily from messing up the wall-climbing and jumping(like Tomb Raider) but from the heavily armed thugs.

    The increased attention devoted to multiplayer(pretty much shaping up to be a much more fast-paced Gears of War) for the 3rd installment also is a reason why I decided to label it as a shooter.

    I also hope this doesn’t seem like I’m ragging on it, I am definitely excited for U3.

    Anyway, so in light of recent revelations, the new Gearbox project in the Brothers in Arms series specifically, a lot of initial reception outside of the press has been negative.

    Now, maybe just because it looks to be more “Borderlands in the style of Inglourious Basterds” than an actual Brothers in Arms game, but some of it is just a response against the styling of it as a less serious shooter.

    But even if reception is positive towards the style of TF2 or the visuals of Borderlands, these are still profit-motivated companies, and the market shows that people are willing to throw money at things that look like they’ll give them their military-themed shooter fix until COD or BF show up again.

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