FPS Genre Breakdown

BFvsCoD1A few days ago in one of my livestreams we were discussing the various genres of FPS gaming.  I was attempting to define the crux of what it means to be a certain style of a first person shooter, but going in depth while simultaneously cramming my turkey legs down someones throat in Dark Souls II is easier said than done.  Before I launch into another stream today I wanted to take a few minutes beforehand and let you guys know how I define the shooter genre.

There are a multitude of different genre’s of FPS’s.  The longer that time goes on the harder it is to classify any specific game because hardware has allowed for genre blending that previously didn’t exist.  That said, each and every game that’s developed (FPS or otherwise) is not only with the dev’s goals in mind, but along a certain axis or framework.  What this means is that regardless of the actual game mode being played, the core or crux of the actual game itself could be something very different.

Battlefield 1942 pioneered the art of conquest styled gameplay.  BF1942 was built from the ground up as a conquest style video game.  This covers a multitude of factors some of which include large levels, greater range of movement, land vehicles, airplanes, various spawn points/bases, and of course various points you can capture in any order scattered around the map.  BF1942 actually had several gameplay modes, one of which was CTF.  For reasons unknown, some people actually did enjoy this style of game but it would be incorrect to label BF1942 as a CTF game despite being able to play BF1942 as a CTF game.

Counter strike.  CS is the original TDM based shooter.  CS predates BF1942 by several years and you can basically reverse all the categories I listed above when defining bF1942.  Small levels, fewer amount of players, restricted range of movement, no conquest style point capturing or spawning at said points, no vehicles of any kind, etc.  CS has numerous modes of gameplay available, but whether you’re disarming a bomb or killing the other team, the game was designed from the ground up to be a TDM style shooter.  It doesn’t matter what game mode you’re currently playing or how popular that game mode is, the crux of the actual game itself is a TDM style game.

Call of Duty.  I think you’re more likely to get people arguing about this game than the others because there are so many individuals whose sole FPS experience is the Call of Duty “experience”.  Similar to CS, Call of Duty was built from the ground up as a TDM style shooter.  Of course the PR department is going to spin CoD as this malleable wonder of the world that can be played in any number of different ways, but regardless of the modes included, it is a TDM style game for the same reasons as it’s CS counterpart.

What makes CoD unique relative to other TDM style shooters is that it was designed from the ground up not only as a TDM style game, but to include a host of variables that make it unlikely for one player to consistently dominate and poo poo on everyone else.  The level layout is built in such a way that it’s nearly impossible to safely clear you way around the map.  At no point in time are you ever safe and between enemies spawning on top of you and the excessive verticality and numerous doorways, windows, and murder holes, staying alive is less about skill and more about luck of the draw.  This is of course to say nothing of the various killstreaks and deathstreaks.

Consoles have also popularized the idea of P2P gaming.  P2P works for a lot of things, but it begins to break down when a split second decision can mean the difference between life and death.  Gone are the days of people bitching about anything over ~100 ping in dedicated servers because now we don’t get numbers but graphical representations of what your ping might be.  With P2P also means that 1 person gets to be the host and has a decided advantage over every single other person in that game.  Back in the day I felt it was unfair to play on local servers with friends who weren’t from the area because it essentially meant you were so far ahead of the next guy lag wise that nobody could compete with you and it wasn’t fun for the people who were being killed or your friends playing with you because they had no hopes of matching your score.

Games today aren’t what they were 15 years ago and they’ll have moved on again in another 15 years.  Some of the points I’m making may be moot, because those genres are likely to go extinct with the next generation of shooters.  With the success of games like DayZ and Rust, we seem primed for future generations of genre blending to take advantage of not only FPS elements, but RPG and survival/sandbox elements as well.  Who knows how good The Division will end up being, but who isn’t excited about concept of such a game even being possible?  15 years ago it was either CS or nerd bombing it up with pen and paper RPG’s in a comic book store somewhere.  I’m sure there will always be some type of CoD styled shooter out there, but with every year that passes brings us that much closer to dismissing genres altogether and instead defining games based on their elements or styles.

14 comments

  1. Twin Sock Puppets

    Can you explain what you mean when you say bf1942 has a “greater range of movement” while cs has a “restricted range of movement”? I understood everything else but it seems to me the movement is pretty much the same in both games? I’m guessing your referring to how the map design restricts movement but just want to make sure I’m not missing something.

    On a different note, I remember getting into an argument with someone because I said cs was a TDM game at its core. They were convinced the whole bomb plant thing made cs a completely different genre, meanwhile half the rounds I play don’t even end in a bomb plant. I won’t call the bomb plant thing a gimmick, but people have to realize how drastically different conquest style/dayz style fps games are from TDM/CS style shooters.

      (Quote)

  2. Twin Sock Puppets:
    Can you explain what you mean when you say bf1942 has a “greater range of movement” while cs has a “restricted range of movement”?I understood everything else but it seems to me the movement is pretty much the same in both games?I’m guessing your referring to how the map design restricts movement but just want to make sure I’m not missing something.

    On a different note, I remember getting into an argument with someone because I said cs was a TDM game at its core.They were convinced the whole bomb plant thing made cs a completely different genre, meanwhile half the rounds I play don’t even end in a bomb plant.I won’t call the bomb plant thing a gimmick, but people have to realize how drastically different conquest style/dayz style fps games are from TDM/CS style shooters.

    Greater range of movement is essentially referring to greater freedom of movement when traveling from point A to point B. Often times in CoD or CS you’re funneled down one of several hallways to move to the other side. In a larger conquest styled map, there’s 1001 ways to move around. Take a boat, drop from a plane, swim across the channel, drive a jeep around the island, etc. Basically you’re limited to your imagination as opposed to smaller and more confined levels in TDM style games.

    I should also point out that I’m not saying modes don’t affect the game, but rather they’re negligible relative to the framework the game was built on.

      (Quote)

  3. Where does Quake fit into this, in your opinion? I know a lot of people would say Quake 3 was at its best as a “dueling shooter”, that is, in 1v1 or maybe 2v2. So it sits outside of the TDM definition. I suppose it’s more of a straight up deathmatch.

      (Quote)

  4. Ruiner:
    Where does Quake fit into this, in your opinion? I know a lot of people would say Quake 3 was at its best as a “dueling shooter”, that is, in 1v1 or maybe 2v2. So it sits outside of the TDM definition. I suppose it’s more of a straight up deathmatch.

    If CS is oldschool then games like Quake or Blood are prehistoric. I think CS was released a full 4 years or more after the original Quake. You’ve got to be pretty old to predate CS. Even I was in middle school when Quake first dropped. I don’t have Thresh-level experience with Quake, but I’d argue those games were designed with either 1v1 or deathmatch style play in mind. Distinctly different from the TDM style of CS or CoD. The maps were unique in that they were constructed around the concept spreading out various power-ups such as armor, health, guns, ammo, etc. The strategy for dominating wasn’t unlike the strategy for murdering people in N64 Goldeneye; predict the spawns and camp the good loots.

      (Quote)

  5. Quake , Q2 and Q3 were 1996, 98 and 99 respectively. CS was 99.

      (Quote)

  6. COD seems virtually impossible to take down at this point, the only way COD will cease to exist is if the developers decide to stop making it and considering how much cash it brings in I can’t see that happening anytime soon. There might be games that come close or sit on par with it, but it’ll never go away. It’s too big to go away, in the same light I would put something like Coca Cola. There will be people trying to replicate its success and some will do well (Like Pepsi), but the true original will always be around. Especially with the growth of “Competitive” COD (I put in quotes as I know there are gonna be thinking that there’s nothing competitive about it lolz). The latest pro event UMG Dallas had 400% growth in it’s viewership on last year and that’s with Ghosts being absolute dog shit compared to BO2, especially in competitive play. Infinity Ward basically choosing not to support competitive at all with scenarios where players can’t even plant the bomb in Search and Destroy with over 100.000 people watching. Never in a million years would that happen in CS, Infinity Ward must have there heads so far up there asses that they can’t see the one of the only things that kept COD alive this year. CS would never take that sort of success for granted but I guess it is what it is. Anyway point being.. If COD can survive after the abomination that Ghosts was then it proves that they can basically release anything they want and still be good to go for next years release.

      (Quote)

  7. ChodeChomper69:
    COD seems virtually impossible to take down at this point, the only way COD will cease to exist is if the developers decide to stop making it and considering how much cash it brings in I can’t see that happening anytime soon. There might be games that come close or sit on par with it, but it’ll never go away. It’s too big to go away, in the same light I would put something like Coca Cola. There will be people trying to replicate its success and some will do well (Like Pepsi), but the true original will always be around. Especially with the growth of “Competitive” COD (I put in quotes as I know there are gonna be thinking that there’s nothing competitive about it lolz). The latest pro event UMG Dallas had 400% growth in it’s viewership on last year and that’s with Ghosts being absolute dog shit compared to BO2, especially in competitive play. Infinity Ward basically choosing not to support competitive at all with scenarios where players can’t even plant the bomb in Search and Destroy with over 100.000 people watching. Never in a million years would that happen in CS, Infinity Ward must have there heads so far up there asses that they can’t see the one of the only things that kept COD alive this year. CS would never take that sort of success for granted but I guess it is what it is. Anyway point being.. If COD can survive after the abomination that Ghosts was then it proves that they can basically release anything they want and still be good to go for next years release.

    I don’t think anyone will argue that CoD is going anywhere anytime soon. I would argue however that the masses are finally starting to pickup on why CoD has always rubbed the hardcore crowd the wrong way. With each generation it gets more blatantly ridiculous which is a good thing because it leaves room for other FPS games. That said, I simply don’t see the appeal of playing the latest version of CS anymore than I can see myself taking CoD seriously.

      (Quote)

  8. I don’t quite agree on games changing in 15 years from now for 1 reason, money. Games 15 years ago, even the gaming industry as a whole 15 years ago, was bringing in no where near as much money as it is now, I think I’m right in saying that video games make significantly more money than movies now. Now, it may be that one day a concept of DayZ or Rust will make it big, but I don’t think that will out-sell CoD or another cash cow like GTA, bit pessimistic of me but that’s how I feel. It’s funny how money ruins every thing, popular music now, horse shit. 99.9% of movies coming out now, horse shit (looking at you Michael Bay). Cash cow games, horse shit.

    When there’s so much money involved, the devs simply do not care about crucial parts of games as much as they should and you have uneducated gamer’s who will buy anything as per CoD and Skyrim. These are the same people who consider Transformers, Fast and Furious and TMNT to be the greatest films they’ve ever seen and Eminem and Jay-z to be the epitome of talent. Game’s companies, CEO’s, Developers, they all know this and they know there’s huge profit to be made cause they’re all cheeky cheeksters. I struggle to think that the development budget for a CoD game is anywhere near $100m seeing as a lot of it is reused and rehashed from the previous year, Christ knows it will make $1b+ and there’s a $900m profit.

    I’m looking cautiously forward to Destiny here shortly, some others coming later this year and then eventually The Division but I’m done getting excited and antsy pantsy for games to release. Last game I was genuinely excited for was Diablo 3 and, yeah. Pretty much every game since about 2007-ish has been a let down (yes there were some that were good) and is it a coincidence that that’s when games started making big money? I don’t think so.

      (Quote)

  9. COD is a TDM style shooter because the only difference in gun play throughout the various game modes is where the concentration of the players is. For instance around a flag in domination, or in some cases a tall building in SnD. When you have to adjust your play style for different game modes or even a different map, then you have probably transcended the simple corridor shooter. Although perhaps transcend is the wrong word because who doesn’t enjoy their share of mindless gaming now and again?

      (Quote)

  10. CS is growing pretty big as of late. Seen a few well known Youtubers start to stream/record it. I love CS because its such a competitive game, and the difference in player ‘skill’ from the first to the last rank is almost incomprehensible. Also, a large amount of the community follows the professional scene, because the guys at the top are simply unreal and the gameplay is super intense to watch. There were just over 400k viewers for the latest tournament grand final, and that’s just viewers watching from the games in-built GOTV system alone (not including streams from twitch etc.). Sad to think that i’ll probably never get to watch you play the game, but I guess everyone has their preferences (I for one can’t stand MOBA’s). I think seeing you having to play a game seriously would most likely ruin the fun of your stream too (the game requires a ton of concentration), so I guess it’s for the best you dislike it :)

    Sorry if this didn’t really contribute to discussion but eh, I’ve gotta unload my thoughts somewhere.

      (Quote)

  11. WaldoDude: I don’t think anyone will argue that CoD is going anywhere anytime soon.I would argue however that the masses are finally starting to pickup on why CoD has always rubbed the hardcore crowd the wrong way.With each generation it gets more blatantly ridiculous which is a good thing because it leaves room for other FPS games.That said, I simply don’t see the appeal of playing the latest version of CS anymore than I can see myself taking CoD seriously.

    Why doesn’t CS appeal to you? I had always figured it would, seeing as the players who are good at CS can completely dominate.

      (Quote)

  12. That aspect does appeal to me but the bland and unchanging nature of the game over the last 15+ years does not. For me, moving from TDM to Conquest style gameplay is akin to eating a gourmet meal; There’s nothing wrong with hungry man tv dinners, but it just isn’t the same.

      (Quote)

  13. Your way of using TDM and conquest styles to define FPS genres is…. insteresting. Bit confusing (CS TDM? What? I thought it was build with hostages and bombs in mind! Never heard of Doom and Quake?!!!! You n0…..O wait…. :p), but I see where you’re getting at. But are there’re many other conquest style shooters out there besides BF? Kinda limiting if you define conquest style solely as capture and hold on big maps with combined warfare.

    To be nitpicky btw: listen server (= player hosting) is not the same as P2P. P2P wouldn’t work well with shooters. :)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_server

      (Quote)

  14. P2P, Listen server, it’s a moot point. It still gives the host a landslide advantage.

      (Quote)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>