John Romero Talks "MMO-ish" Shooter Plans

John Romero Talks "MMO-ish" Shooter Plans

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John Romero hasn't actually started working on a new FPS but he's definitely going to do it and his plans are big.

I can understand having to explain who Jane Jensen is, but John Romero? Come on. He's only the guy who, as a part of id Software, basically invented the FPS genre and gave the world online shooters; think Wolfenstein, Doom or Quake and you're thinking Romero. Of course, the same can be said about Daikatana and that slowed things down for him a bit, at least in that particular genre, but he said last month that he's not done with shooters yet and apparently he means it.

"I'm definitely going to be making another shooter and it will be on the PC first," Romero told Eurogamer. "I don't want to talk about the details but I already know what it is. I've already kind of designed the thing and it's pretty cool - though of course, I am going to say that."

The plan is to create an "MMO-ish" shooter, with a persistent world that lets players grow and improve their characters over time. It will "feel" like a shooter, presumably because it will be a shooter, "but the specifics of your situation, narrative wrapper and reward system are all unique," he said. And while he said it won't be an "old-school shooter," he made it clear that he's not a fan of modern shooter conventions like cover system or "bullet sponge" characters, either.

"I do realize that a lot of the movement in new shooters is directly attributable to the console controller because you can't play well and fast with them so they had to come up with some design to make it so the player can do something else if they can't skillfully move quickly. They have to do something different," he said. "But I'm a PC mouse and keyboard type player. I love twitch 180s, fast targeting, fast firing, fast movement. So anything that's not like that - like current shooters that are basically a track going through a level to the exit and everything is closed off - is not interesting to me."

Whatever Romero has in mind, don't expect him to fire up the hype machine anytime soon. "I wouldn't want to give out any specifics until I'm close to shipping it," he said. "I've learned my lesson about talking too soon about specific game features and release dates."

Romero's Loot Drop studio is currently working on Ghost Recon Commander, a mobile and Facebook social game based on the Ubisoft shooter franchise that's expected to come out this summer.

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"I've learned my lesson about talking too soon about specific game features and release dates." - That made me giggle.

*In other news;* John D. Carmack, John Romero, American McGee and the other Doom-a-crats continue to be totally irrelevant.

*raises hand*

I have a question.

Has this guy done anything remotely relevant in the last decade? Because I'm having real trouble seeing why I should give the slightest of shits.

He might have been there to invent the genre, but has he really touched the FPS genre much in the past decade? Here's hoping it turns out well whenever it does see the light of day. I miss the days when an FPS meant I had more guns on me than fingers to count them on and tension was gained from sitting with a small platoon of angry men with guns between you and the only way to refill your measly remaining 10 HP, as opposed to ducking behind cover hoping no-one accidentally wings you before your bullet wounds are done closing up.

Folji:
but has he really touched the FPS genre much in the past decade?

Let's hope he hasn't!

The vast majority of shooters, especially in the latter half of that period have been hulking sacks of lowest common denominator, controller-orientated shite. Even alleged "old-school" inspired PC shooters like Hard Reset make a right mess of things by having slow movement speed and console style sprint.

GoaThief:
Let's hope he hasn't!

The vast majority of shooters, especially in the latter half of that period have been hulking sacks of lowest common denominator, controller-orientated shite. Even alleged "old-school" inspired PC shooters like Hard Reset make a right mess of things by having slow movement speed and console style sprint.

Thought about getting that game, but in the end wound up not getting it. Even the Duke succumbed to slow movement speed, but then again he succumbed to everything that's happened to the FPS genre in the 14 years of development hell. Remember back in the day when he'd run down the street at forty miles per hour while face-stomping standing enemies with both his feet at the same time.

The guy is turning up the hype machine just by this annoucement.

That said Romero is a developer that has to earn back a LOT of trust as far as I'm concered, and also the whole "MMO Shooter" concept is something that has been tried before. APB, Tabula Rasa, War Rock, Neocron, and others are all examples. It presents some unique challenges in terms of monetization and encouraging long-term play.

Basically those who play shooters pretty much want to log in and start fragging things immediatly, a huge, persistant world means that finding other players can be tricky, and then there is the issue of how you reward players for success without basically handing them the game and totally unbalancing the entire thing.

I'm not saying these issues are insurrmountable, but there is a reason why we haven't seen any massive successes from this design concept, which has probably been in the back of people's minds ever since MMOs started to appear. You generally see MMORPGs because the nature of those types of games happen to work well together.

Romero is synonymous with 'overhyped ' il taking this witb an enture dune of salt.

Scrumpmonkey:
John D. Carmack...continue to be totally irrelevant.

You're right about Romero and to some extent American McGee, but Carmack is still quite relevant.

So I wonder if Romero is going to try and make us his bitch again?

Ugh, if he had said he was going to make an actual full-blown old-school game it would turn me off so much.

I mean, the 90's were great, but selling a shooter based on nostalgia alone? Doesn't make it any better. I like to think of Serious Sam as "the one that got away" from this curse.

Therumancer:
War Rock

Not a MMO.

Romero, dude, Planetside 2 is already in development. All hail Planetside!

Scrumpmonkey:
*In other news;* John D. Carmack, John Romero, American McGee and the other Doom-a-crats continue to be totally irrelevant.

How anyone could consider Carmack irrelevant in the gaming world when id software continually rolls out ground breaking tech is beyond me.

American McGee is still making games, and you know his name, that puts his heads above the interchangeable, nameless masses that work on today's triple A titles.

"I do realize that a lot of the movement in new shooters is directly attributable to the console controller because you can't play well and fast with them so they had to come up with some design to make it so the player can do something else if they can't skillfully move quickly. They have to do something different," he said. "But I'm a PC mouse and keyboard type player. I love twitch 180s, fast targeting, fast firing, fast movement. So anything that's not like that - like current shooters that are basically a track going through a level to the exit and everything is closed off - is not interesting to me."

Wow, Its funny as hell to see someone who was considered a visionary in the field not only reject conventions that were made to bypass his own lack of vision (IE the addition of cover mechanics, because theres nothing like standing behind a full fledged wall and bullets somehow penetrating pixels designed to look like concrete and still finding their target and doing damage) and then profess because HE doesnt like controllers in FPS games that he assumes that they must be slower and more unwieldy.

Yeah, if you hold such a narrow view of the genre you helped create, then I have no interest in playing a game that reflects that narrow view. Just sayin.

The obsession with "relevance" as defined by people who weren't there for whatever topic happens to be at hand never ceases to amuse and aggravate me.

And regardless of what you think of the man or his opinions, I don't think anyone is seriously going argue that controllers aren't slower, clumsier and less precise than a mouse and keyboard. (Right?)

The internet is about to make you it's bitch, John.

Andy Chalk:
The obsession with "relevance" as defined by people who weren't there for whatever topic happens to be at hand never ceases to amuse and aggravate me.

And regardless of what you think of the man or his opinions, I don't think anyone is seriously going argue that controllers aren't slower, clumsier and less precise than a mouse and keyboard. (Right?)

I'll agree that the mouse is much faster and more precise (which is important in a genre about aiming), but I still maintain that the keyboard is awful for FPS games. Far, far too many useless keys that it's far too easy to hit by accident. Not to mention the terrible movement controls compared to console controllers (8 directions? Seriously?)

I'd say a mouse is better than an anolog stick for aiming, sure, only a retard would argue over that.

But a keyboard? For movement? Over an anolog stick? 8 directions over 360 degrees? May aswell use a NES D-pad for all the good it does. I think not Mr. Romero. Come back when you're relevant to gaming again.

ElPatron:
Ugh, if he had said he was going to make an actual full-blown old-school game it would turn me off so much.

I mean, the 90's were great, but selling a shooter based on nostalgia alone? Doesn't make it any better. I like to think of Serious Sam as "the one that got away" from this curse.

Therumancer:
War Rock

Not a MMO.

Incorrect, just about everything with online multiplayer is an MMO right now, even if that term is not used. This is why especially to begin with people were careful to specify MMORPG. Technically things like CoD's multiplayer, and other assorted things that have persistant tracking fill the definition. If you want to get technical MMOs started waaaay back in the day with things like "Club Cairbe" run through services like "Q-link" as an example of how far the definition can stretch, as that is around the time these started appearing... Club Cairbe, Kesmai, etc...

Well, the guy pretty well outlined the problems I have with modern shooters (I usually describe it as "I'm fighting the controls, not my enemies" followed by "I'm going back to UT'99 now, call me if they make another shooter for me to bash").
I suppose I could be considered interested enough to sit back and watch at this point.

mindlesspuppet:

Scrumpmonkey:
*In other news;* John D. Carmack, John Romero, American McGee and the other Doom-a-crats continue to be totally irrelevant.

How anyone could consider Carmack irrelevant in the gaming world when id software continually rolls out ground breaking tech is beyond me.

American McGee is still making games, and you know his name, that puts his heads above the interchangeable, nameless masses that work on today's triple A titles.

Because they released one major game in the last 7 years and that game is Rage. Ooh, technology. How wonderful. Most gamers don't give a shit, hence the Xbox and the Playstation.

Therumancer:
just about everything with online multiplayer is an MMO right now

Then where does the "massive" come from? To my knowledge, most shooters today have online modes and we don't call them MMOFPS.

wikipedia:
A massively multiplayer online game (also called MMO and MMOG) is a multiplayer video game which is capable of supporting hundreds or thousands of players simultaneously. By necessity, they are played on the Internet, and usually feature at least one persistent world.

WarRock can't support that many players, and there is no "persistent world", only maps.

ElPatron:

Therumancer:
just about everything with online multiplayer is an MMO right now

Then where does the "massive" come from? To my knowledge, most shooters today have online modes and we don't call them MMOFPS.

wikipedia:
A massively multiplayer online game (also called MMO and MMOG) is a multiplayer video game which is capable of supporting hundreds or thousands of players simultaneously. By necessity, they are played on the Internet, and usually feature at least one persistent world.

WarRock can't support that many players, and there is no "persistent world", only maps.

Wikipedia's definition is flawed since some of the first MMOs featured comparitively tiny populations. Basically when the term first started to appear "Massively" basically meant anything above 4 players, as that was seen as the practical limit. While archaic the old Atari 2600 game "Warlords" was being held up as the practical ceilling for what multi-player could probably be, even if it was eventually shattered rather amazingly.

War Rock allows players to progress their characters consistantly, purchusing and maintaining money, weapons, and similar things which carry over from game to game. They represent the "persistant world' as opposed to the maps themselves. In comparison to a game where everyone starts out "fresh" every single time a game is started and nothing at all carries over.

Later games like APB (which are still pretty bad) outdid War Rock (and I believe APB is being run by the same guys who run War Rock right now).

The thing is that the popular perception of what an MMO is, is not it's only form.

The very first MMO games were pre-internet (well as we know it now) running through things like BBSes or college mainframe computers. They could take the form of dozens of people fighting at once limited largely by the hosting computer's power and the number of seperate phone lines linked into it, to things like the old CGM system (Computer Game Master) and games like "VGA Planets" where the game would be turn based and people would upload files into the computer and then a persistant universe would be updated when all the turns were in.

Therumancer:
War Rock allows players to progress their characters consistantly, purchusing and maintaining money, weapons, and similar things which carry over from game to game. They represent the "persistant world' as opposed to the maps themselves.

A-whaaaaa?

image

So you are basically saying that BF2 is a MMOFPS...?

I have been living a lie... And Tabula Rasa being a MMOFPS was redunant because MMOFPSs have been around for longer than we all thought.

ElPatron:

Therumancer:
War Rock allows players to progress their characters consistantly, purchusing and maintaining money, weapons, and similar things which carry over from game to game. They represent the "persistant world' as opposed to the maps themselves.

A-whaaaaa?

image

So you are basically saying that BF2 is a MMOFPS...?

I have been living a lie... And Tabula Rasa being a MMOFPS was redunant because MMOFPSs have been around for longer than we all thought.

Sorry to blow your mind, but yes, it is indeed true.

Really, the confusion is due to mis-use of the term "MMO" from when it was first coined. The current "internet" generation ascribed it a specific meaning due to the things they were told were MMO games, and started to limit it's definition.. as opposed to being there pre-internet (well pre-internet in it's current form) when the term started to be used.

At least nobody tried to start making arguements about semantics and the evolution of language to say that the definition should be considered changed due to mis-use, which I half expected given the way debates in these forums tend to go.

In general the industry tends to be using the term as most of the audience understands it, perpetuating a bad definition. The industry feels saying "MMOFPS" is an easier way to convey it's menaing to those who don't understand the distinction, than to specify that they want a successful "Persistant World FPS game" which doesn't roll from the tongue quite as easily, as a persistant world enviroment isn't nessicary for something to be an MMO (which simply requires a lot of people to be online playing together, hence the name, a "lot" being subjective since a "lot" of people at one time was around 5). They want something beyond persistant stat and character/avatar tracking, in the form of a single uber-map or series of transitional maps that people all log into and out of at the same time... and no that has not really been done successfully because of the needs of the game.

To put it into perspective, a big part of the problem is that people who play FPS games tend to be after immediate gratification, and want to login and start fragging people. In a huge enviroment, like say WoW, just finding people could be tricky, unless everyone more or less agrees to hang out in one place, which raises the entire question of why have a map that big to begin with? I remember some days in the original EQ where I'd be out on the Karanas with like 100 or more people in the zone, and not see anyone for hours.

Building your game around the idea of fighting mobs (or bots) to advance characters and such is probably going to bore a lot of the people in the target audience, since your trying to target FPS players who will figure "why am I playing an RPG to begin with". What's more if you have enough of an advancement system to keep people playing for a long period of time, the issue of how to keep things "fair" and preveenting a handfull of people from griefing everyone else of vastly lower levels becomes an issue... simply refusing to enter matches with those people doesn't really become an option.

These are all the kinds of issues that have lead to such a game not being designed yet, and why shooter MMOs exist and succeed, but persistant world shooter games generally do not, games like APB or Tabula Rasa and their relative failures more or less demonstrating exactly the problems with a persistant world enviroment.

Freechoice:

mindlesspuppet:

Scrumpmonkey:
*In other news;* John D. Carmack, John Romero, American McGee and the other Doom-a-crats continue to be totally irrelevant.

How anyone could consider Carmack irrelevant in the gaming world when id software continually rolls out ground breaking tech is beyond me.

American McGee is still making games, and you know his name, that puts his heads above the interchangeable, nameless masses that work on today's triple A titles.

Because they released one major game in the last 7 years and that game is Rage. Ooh, technology. How wonderful. Most gamers don't give a shit, hence the Xbox and the Playstation.

That makes most gamers morons, it does not make Carmack irrelevant.

Didn't this guy drop Daikatana or something, which is considered by many to be utter absolute shit?

So yeah, I won't exactly give him too much credence.

 

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