DICE: FPS Genre Lacks Innovation

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DICE: FPS Genre Lacks Innovation

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Battlefield studio boss says moving on from modern-day warfare is not enough.

Today's FPS market is all about present-day warfare, with more to come on the Christmas horizon. As game publishers attempt to release franchise titles to a regular schedule and bolster existing ones with DLC, DICE general manager Karl Magnus Troedsson took aim at first person shooters, criticising them for lacking innovation.

Troedsson believes that the stagnant technical evolution of the genre is failing to hold the attention of FPS gamers, whom he considers to be a more "hardcore" audience with extremely high expectations. He states that every upcoming game needs a "new, if not revolutionary then at least evolutionary" progression of graphical rendering otherwise FPS audiences will lose interest.

A change from the modern day theme may sound like a more appropriate direction, but Troedsson believes that it is only a temporary diversion and not real innovation. "Every now and again settings or themes start to get stale and then everyone jumps over," he says. "It used to be WWII, and recently it's been the modern era and people are now moving towards near future.

"But it's a bit cheap to just say, 'Okay, we're going to switch and go back in time or into the future and that will be innovation'," he explains. "It will definitely drive the franchise forward for whatever game, but it's not true innovation, it's more a thematic change that has a perceived value to the gamers out there. But as a developer you can only make so many games in one particular era, and then you personally start to get a bit bored with it."

While advances in rendering and presentation are certainly welcome, it is far more appealing to see more thematic variety in a genre that is dominated by a single mainstream idea. It is, however, understandably difficult for big-budget teams to justify a venture into new territory in the hopes that shooter fans will respond well to the change in scenery. We'll see whether better graphics and bigger spectacle will rejuvenate the next batch of FPS games.

Source: Edge

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I'll let others point out the obvious snarky irony.

I will say however that, no I don't think we'll see more military FPS games make any more impact than they already have, Tribes is the only one that's doing it right (In the core game play aspect that is).

Maybe that's what we'll see CoD and BF copying in the future?

I would tell them to practice what they preach and give us Mirror's Edge 2, but I know that's EA's fault, not theirs. And yes, I know Mirror's Edge isn't technically an FPS but it's an innovative IP that needs attention. More than generic grey/brown military shooter franchises do.

Maybe the limitations of a controller versus mouse and keyboard are simply becoming more and more painfully apparent as time goes on which in turn leads to a genre that is nearly stagnant...

*prepares for incoming rage*

He's right. I'm surprised he slipped by EA censors and made his piece.

In fact, I have an actual "innovation" idea to the whole battlefield franchise:

Battlefield: Other worlds

You have a wide variety of classes akin to Team Fortress 2 and each class is a different Alien (One class is human), two different sides and a shit load of places to fight. Each alien provides different abilities and such, mixing that with the well known Battlefield play style would make for a really fun game.

Its lacking like most of the industry because everyone wants safe and no one wants to focus on gameplay...

Somebody give the guy a big "no shit, sherlock". I can hardly believe he only realizes this now considering DICE is a fairly big contributer to the stasis of the FPS genre. Not as bad as some others but still not good.

Well, maybe something good will come out of this. Perhaps its too little too late but I'll take what I can get.

mindlesspuppet:
Maybe the limitations of a controller versus mouse and keyboard are simply becoming more and more painfully apparent as time goes on which in turn leads to a genre that is nearly stagnant...

*prepares for incoming rage*

I wouldn't go so far as to say there's limitations so much as major differences (unless you need a humongous amount of quick-keys, in the case of which yeah, limitations galore)... But I do agree there's definitely some things a keyboard will let you do with a game that a controller wont (example: games with about 40 controls by default).

I have to wonder what innovation in the FPS genre would really be... I mean, yeah, the big titles are all very similar, but niche titles have covered a lot of stuff, too. Changing your setting is nothing but a thematic change, and improving graphics is a technological innovation, not a genre innovation.

Can anyone think of something truly innovative that hasn't been done before in an FPS? I'm genuinely curious, especially since games like System Shock and Deus Ex (original) brought in some pretty unique things that didn't carry over.

Yes, because all that maters in videogames is better graphics and more spectacle.

Timothy Chang:
Battlefield studio boss says moving on from modern-day warfare is not enough.

"But it's a bit cheap to just say, 'Okay, we're going to switch and go back in time or into the future and that will be innovation'," he explains. "It will definitely drive the franchise forward for whatever game, but it's not true innovation, it's more a thematic change that has a perceived value to the gamers out there. But as a developer you can only make so many games in one particular era, and then you personally start to get a bit bored with it."

Okay... and your solution is...?

Really, what is there to possibly innovate?

And on a completely unrelated note, but because someone braught up Mirror's Edge 2 further up, I want to see Brink 2.

It seems like publishers insist on using a proven formula rather than innovating.
I really want to see more sci-fi/cyberpunk/space shooters, instead of grey modern-military shooters.

Reet72:
Somebody give the guy a big "no shit, sherlock". I can hardly believe he only realizes this now considering DICE is a fairly big contributer to the stasis of the FPS genre. Not as bad as some others but still not good.

Well, maybe something good will come out of this. Perhaps its too little too late but I'll take what I can get.

I feel like dice's additions to the fps genre only amount to a drop in the bucket compared to some other games. Yes, I'm looking at you call of duty, halo, and gears. At least Dice gave us a decent destructible environment, whereas these others are just rehashing their old content without even upgrading graphics. Or at least not upgrading much (with the exception of halo, which is rather pretty).

...every upcoming game needs a "new, if not revolutionary then at least evolutionary" progression of graphical rendering otherwise FPS audiences will lose interest.

This guy is just as shallow as the people he's criticizing. He's an old-fashioned graphics whore. Video games are solely a techie's artform, apparently.

The fact that furiously trying to push graphics is one of the things making games so expensive they're forced to be broad and shallow (and very short) alone makes this sound like a bad idea.

Terminate421:
He's right. I'm surprised he slipped by EA censors and made his piece.

In fact, I have an actual "innovation" idea to the whole battlefield franchise:

Battlefield: Other worlds

You have a wide variety of classes akin to Team Fortress 2 and each class is a different Alien (One class is human), two different sides and a shit load of places to fight. Each alien provides different abilities and such, mixing that with the well known Battlefield play style would make for a really fun game.

Reading this article, I had the feint glimmer of hope that perhaps this Troedsson guy was from a really alternative background in innovative games and he was hoping to inject some of that into DICE.

Then I found his back catalogue.

Shakura Jolithion:

mindlesspuppet:
Maybe the limitations of a controller versus mouse and keyboard are simply becoming more and more painfully apparent as time goes on which in turn leads to a genre that is nearly stagnant...

*prepares for incoming rage*

I wouldn't go so far as to say there's limitations so much as major differences (unless you need a humongous amount of quick-keys, in the case of which yeah, limitations galore)... But I do agree there's definitely some things a keyboard will let you do with a game that a controller wont (example: games with about 40 controls by default).

I was thinking more of the accuracy and speed of a mouse versus controller. Everything in modern FPSs is designed around the controller; cover systems, enemy placement, movement speed is all strategically calculated to compensate for a controller's short comings as a pointing device.

Many of the AAA console FPSs that get ported to PC are pretty laughable. There are moments that are clearly meant to be intense, but simply fail because of different aiming systems. Because of these limitations the gameplay of FPS can't really deviate too far, there have been attempts, like Brink, but even it just fell in the same trapping of every modern FPS.

I'm really not trying to stir anything up. I love my 360 controller which I use with my PC. I probably use it as much as, if not more than, my keyboard+mouse for games.

I think that the AAA publishers will soon realize that we are nearing a plateau in graphical capabilities, much like the one around the time of the n64 and ps1. Hopefully they will try to focus on making their games unique instead of trying to push graphics and failing. But then again, the only AAA *EDIT* publisher developer I can even conceive of doing this is DICE, simply because they spend so much time developing and nurturing their games, unlike a lot of others who simply want a new game out the door asap.

I've typed this post 3 times, and every time I think I'm finished, my parrot hits the reload page key on my keyboard. So i'm going to try and make this shorter than I intended.

To those who are saying "practice what you preach" I would say that Battlefield innovates far more than recent shooters.

Battlefield doesn't use hitscan, but a kind of ballistics. Bullets behave approximately like they would in real life, forcing players to compensate for travel time and drop with every shot. This means that:
1) Assault rifles at long distance become increasingly difficult
2) People who play snipers have to be actually good to do anything.

They also added a suppression effect, wherein your screen gets all blurred after being shot at by the opposing side. This forces you to hit the dirt or find cover as it makes it extremely difficult to accurately fire at a target while also making you an easy target. It's helpful when you're trying to push forward in a take and hold game.

Also, how many games can you think of where you get the opportunity to freely pilot/drive choppers, jets, tanks and humvees rather than CoD's bullshit killstreak bonuses where you just use the gun or it bots around for you?

My two cents.

Interesting. Funny, actually. After mediocerly enjoying BF3, I was finished. I said to myself, that will be the last generic big budget FPS I will buy. So that's exactly what I wanted to hear. I will wait and hope that they reeeally do innovate with their next title.

The irony, oh the irony. In all honesty though, the guy is right. the fps genre needs innovation not just thematic change. Hopefully some devs will get that innovation is not just thematic change or some cheap gimmicky gameplay tricks. Both of those things have been done to death while claiming they are "innovative".

So, let's mix Serious Sam with Conker's Bad Fur Day and [i]Monster Party, and we'll see what happens!

Now if only we actually acted on the things we say.

Terminate421:

Battlefield: Other worlds

You have a wide variety of classes akin to Team Fortress 2 and each class is a different Alien (One class is human), two different sides and a shit load of places to fight. Each alien provides different abilities and such.

Could call it Battlefield: A New Frontier or something like that. I quite like this is idea, but would these alien races play vastly differently? Or would it be more like a traditional class sytem but with each class being visually represented by a unique race?

I was thinking of a fps that combines with a POP style freerunning mechanic. So, you'd move around in 3rd person and melee combat might possibly be 3rd person, but you'd go into first person to aim. The emphasis would stop being on use of cover (as it is with pretty much every modern fps) and instead be on keeping mobile to avoid becoming a target.

I would have just posted "nope" if the escapist weren't such sticklers for posts without content, so...

honestly, they're either just going to keep introducing more random stuff to their main attraction leading to feature bloat (like pokemon, but without the range for lateral development unless they have some sort of revolutionary realization) or they're going to screw up a bunch of times like the other battlefield spinoffs

frankly, i'm surprised that they haven't figured this out yet, being the firsthand witnesses of their own spectacle

someonehairy-ish:

Terminate421:

Battlefield: Other worlds

You have a wide variety of classes akin to Team Fortress 2 and each class is a different Alien (One class is human), two different sides and a shit load of places to fight. Each alien provides different abilities and such.

Could call it Battlefield: A New Frontier or something like that. I quite like this is idea, but would these alien races play vastly differently? Or would it be more like a traditional class sytem but with each class being visually represented by a unique race?

I was thinking of a fps that combines with a POP style freerunning mechanic. So, you'd move around in 3rd person and melee combat might possibly be 3rd person, but you'd go into first person to aim. The emphasis would stop being on use of cover (as it is with pretty much every modern fps) and instead be on keeping mobile to avoid becoming a target.

I was thinking totally differently. One race could jump higher, another has the ability to "droidika" it up by rolling around etc.

Terminate421:

I was thinking totally differently. One race could jump higher, another has the ability to "droidika" it up by rolling around etc.

The second bit was a non-related idea. I can't see jumping higher as being much on an advantage in a battlefield type game. At best it might let you get onto a better sniping platform or something. A race that can wall or ceiling crawl could be interesting though. As for the droideka thing... that could be cool? What advantage would it actually offer though? Would you move faster or be tougher orrrr?

someonehairy-ish:

Terminate421:

I was thinking totally differently. One race could jump higher, another has the ability to "droidika" it up by rolling around etc.

The second bit was a non-related idea. I can't see jumping higher as being much on an advantage in a battlefield type game. At best it might let you get onto a better sniping platform or something. A race that can wall or ceiling crawl could be interesting though. As for the droideka thing... that could be cool? What advantage would it actually offer though? Would you move faster or be tougher orrrr?

Those were just off of the top of my head. You get the idea though.

I would guess that would work for innovation, but I believe that DICE will stick to its guns for the next battlefield (Probobly 2143)

this guy ....

is fucking IDIOT.

his 'innovative' answer .... is better graphics, really ....

.... just .... what .... dose he even know what 'innovation' means? cause I'm thinking he doesn't

mindlesspuppet:

Shakura Jolithion:

mindlesspuppet:
Maybe the limitations of a controller versus mouse and keyboard are simply becoming more and more painfully apparent as time goes on which in turn leads to a genre that is nearly stagnant...

*prepares for incoming rage*

I wouldn't go so far as to say there's limitations so much as major differences (unless you need a humongous amount of quick-keys, in the case of which yeah, limitations galore)... But I do agree there's definitely some things a keyboard will let you do with a game that a controller wont (example: games with about 40 controls by default).

I was thinking more of the accuracy and speed of a mouse versus controller. Everything in modern FPSs is designed around the controller; cover systems, enemy placement, movement speed is all strategically calculated to compensate for a controller's short comings as a pointing device.

Many of the AAA console FPSs that get ported to PC are pretty laughable. There are moments that are clearly meant to be intense, but simply fail because of different aiming systems. Because of these limitations the gameplay of FPS can't really deviate too far, there have been attempts, like Brink, but even it just fell in the same trapping of every modern FPS.

I'm really not trying to stir anything up. I love my 360 controller which I use with my PC. I probably use it as much as, if not more than, my keyboard+mouse for games.

I agree with this too, and I like to use the pad as it allows me to relax on the sofa or bed which I can't do the same with a m&k. It's really good for 3rd person shooters, however analog sticks and the low sensitivity really hampers non coridoor, non cover fps games

That's why i've been pinning my hopes on the WiiUs touchpad, I just hope somebody will actually make a good FPS that doesn't have gimicky motion controls in it. Atm it's starting to look like the WiiU will just be like the Wii with only Nintendo and Ubisoft fully supporting it, which is a damn shame considering all the great things that controller could give us, if only a good PC/ ex PC developer supported the platform.

Anyway I just hope FPS devs could gives us a bit of gameplay innovation in future games as achievements, rpg levels, badges and all that other Farmville gamification crap is a pretty dire way of keeping us interested in one FPS over the next

DICE you can talk when you get EAs balls out of your mouth.

PlanetSide 2

That is all you need to know...

That's nice, lets see you do something. Anyone can come up with good PR by saying what gamers want to hear.

Games don't need innovation, they need to make money. All this guy is doing is hanging a lantern on the obvious.

Hey he's doing that EA thing where he states something thats painfully obvious like he just thought it up.

Says the people making Battlefield?

Get back to Mirror's Edge 2.
Be the change you want to see in the world DICE.

Dunno if it's innovative or not, but I absolutely adore Mount and Blade: Napoleonic Wars. I don't particularly like FPS, but it's absolutely hilarious trying to reload muskets without getting stabbed by bayonets or marching into battle with naught but a drum or a fife. :) Or worrying about getting all your shot wet by wading into too deep water.

All those limitations (plus limited precise range) you'd think would make a terribly frustrating game, but I find it absolutely refreshing and funny.

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