Red Orchestra Dev: CoD Has Ruined A Generation Of Gamers

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Red Orchestra Dev: CoD Has Ruined A Generation Of Gamers

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Tripwire president John Gibson says he is "discouraged" by the state of multiplayer shooters on the PC.

"I just thought, 'I give up. Call of Duty has ruined this whole generation of gamers,'" John Gibson, president of Tripwire Interactive said to PC gamer in an extensive interview about the state of the PC FPS. Tripwire is best know for the Red Orchestra franchise, and Gibson talked at length about his frustrations with trying to sell Red Orchestra 2 to the Call of Duty crowd. He does praise singleplayer shooters such as Fallout, saying that they are "finally coming out from under the shadow of the Hollywood movie, overblown 'I'm on a rail' linear shooter," but is "discouraged" by the state of multiplayer shooters on the PC.

"When I was developing Action Mode [for Red Orchestra 2], I got a group of people that I know that are pretty hardcore Call of Duty players. And my goal was to create something that was accessible enough for them to enjoy the game-not turn it into Call of Duty, but try to make something that I thought was casual enough but with the Red Orchestra gameplay style that they would enjoy," says Gibson. He said that his frustrations with the Call of Duty players eventually led to him giving up on them entirely.

"I'm really discouraged by the current state of multiplayer shooters. I think that, and I hate to mention names, because it sounds like 'I'm just jealous of their success,' but I'm really, I feel like Call of Duty has almost ruined a generation of FPS players. I know that's a bold statement, but I won't just throw stones without backing it up."

When asked what the Call of Duty players specifically complained about, Gibson said "Almost every [complaint] boiled down to 'it doesn't feel like Call of Duty.'" He spoke of the "randomness" of games like Call of Duty and how they "compress the skill gap." He says that it is OK to compress it to a degree, so that the elite players aren't constantly dominating newbies, but Call of Duty takes it too far. "You might as well just sit down at a slot machine and have a thing that pops up and says 'I got a kill!' They've taken individual skill out of the equation so much."

Gibson says that the idea of making players feel awesome despite their personal skill has made it incredibly difficult for more hardcore, skill based games like Red Orchestra 2 to flourish. "They get enough kills in Call of Duty to feel like they're awesome, but they never really had to develop their FPS skills beyond that." He says that when these players come in to a game like Red Orchestra 2 and aren't immediately successful like they have been in Call of Duty, they instantly assume that the problem must lie with the game, not the player.

"It's frustrating for me as a designer to see players come in and they're literally like 'In Call of Duty it takes 0.15 seconds to go into ironsights. In Red Orchestra 2 it takes 0.17 seconds to go into ironsights. I hate this.'"

Source: PC Gamer

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Yet... Games like Natural Selection 2, CS:GO, Arma 2 (without DayZ and probably Arma 3), and various others have been popular despite not being anything like CoD. Sure they don't have the same finanical success but still...

Hell their own Killing Floor is massively popular and that's very multiplayer centric. I mean I know it's a "zombie" shooter but still...

Oh what a load of pretentious wank. I'm used to the CoD players are all morons nonsense from forum goers but its just sad to hear it from an actual dev. As someone who enjoys CoD at times (not that much mind you, I traded in BLOPS2 for some credit to buy Dead Space 3) what turned me away from buying RO2 wasn't that "its not CoD" or some nonsense abut iron sights, it was that it seemed a bit too much like real WW2 city fighting: Slow, and likely to end suddenly with a instantly fatal bullet from someone you never saw.

This reminds of another story the escapist did:
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/115296-AMY-Doesnt-Suck-Its-Just-Hard

I don't personally play ArmA, but from what I have heard it is a hard game and still quite successful.

He just makes me wanna try out Call of Duty, honestly.

I've wanted to get Red Orchestra 2, but the rational part of my brain tells me not to, because I'm just way too much of a casual these days to enjoy it.

did he just call fallout a shooter? because of he did he really should turn in his hardcore member card.

I think Tripwire are misdiagnosing the problem here. I have 615 hours logged on RO2 and the problems the game has is the same problem as you find in all team based muiltplayer fps. The key is the ratio of players willing to attack/defend objectives versus the number that are only concerned about K/D. In R02 too many players spawn and plink at targets with an MP40 and never stand on the point. There is also the attitude, carried over from RO1, that anyone using an automatic weapon is a noob and because you don't repeatedly stand in the same spot and duel with a rifle makes you a bad player. The idea that you might move and flank and score more kills never occurs to them. So the issue, in part, comes down to map design, I know they are using historical places for RO2 but that doesn't stop moving objectives about to incentivise the player to go there. The other thing that tripwire could do is look at is the scoring system, if you don't record the K/D stat, how many players would try to maximise it? If you reward having a high win/loose stat, more players would concentrate on maxing that. For the record my k/d is 1.67 and win/loose is 2.89, so I practice what I preach.

I'm no CoD supporter/fanboy etc., but their map design is reeeeeeally good. And the action is not so much flinch trigger based, as say CS:GO...CoD games just have really good gameplay.
And playtesting with people who's comment in the end is "It's not like CoD", is idiotic and may indicate what your problem is.

Oh, fuck off you pretentious git.
The reason Red Orchestra didn't sell well is because it's a fairly unknown shooter based in a time we've all moved passed that played and ran like shit, and also doesn't focus enough on supporting objective based play.

There's still a bunch of "hardcore" shooters out there, this guy needs to stop making excuses as to why his game didn't sell well.

Well I disagree that this is the reason why RO:2 didn't do well but I don't disagree that a good few of the people that play games nowadays don't care for challenge. I wouldn't say CoD is to blame just that it is so popular so many people play it so a lot of people that play it don't have the right mind set. Some people think that if I am good at 1 FPS/RTS/genre I must be good at them all. They then don't take the time to learn a game's nuances and then quit.

So, you get a bunch of people who are big fans of some game, and then are surprised they complain your game is different from what they're used to?

Of course if you're used to some specific game-series, you're then going to be frustrated if you have to deal with something you're not good at.

Were these people who generally just played COD? I mean, I know people who don't really play much video-games (and certainly would not identify as 'gamers'), but they play a lot of COD multiplayer.
Sure, it may suck and be frustrating there's a big audience that's not interested in diversity, but if there were no COD, would those people be playing a great selection of very different games of different genres?

Glademaster:
I wouldn't say CoD is to blame just that it is so popular so many people play it so a lot of people that play it don't have the right mind set. Some people think that if I am good at 1 FPS/RTS/genre I must be good at them all. They then don't take the time to learn a game's nuances and then quit.

Yes, a lot of those people don't have enough experience with different kinds of shooters and overall games, so they can't tell if the game is bad or just different from what they're used to.

I think the answer is to think who your target audience is, and aim to design your game so that it's easy to approach by people who aren't familiar with a lot of shooters.
It doesn't mean you should simplify it, but unless you're targeting an audience that already knows how to approach the game, you need to make it so they can get into it, and tell if they're failing because it's because they're doing something wrong and know how to improve.

hazabaza1:
Oh, fuck off you pretentious git.
The reason Red Orchestra didn't sell well is because it's a fairly unknown shooter based in a time we've all moved passed that played and ran like shit, and also doesn't focus enough on supporting objective based play.

There's still a bunch of "hardcore" shooters out there, this guy needs to stop making excuses as to why his game didn't sell well.

Saved me from having to say it. Comments like this...

"It's frustrating for me as a designer to see players come in and they're literally like 'In Call of Duty it takes 0.15 seconds to go into ironsights. In Red Orchestra 2 it takes 0.17 seconds to go into ironsights. I hate this.'"

... are just ridiculous.

Eh, I wanted RO2 to be good. I really did but by the time I got it, it just wasn't. The tanks are crappy, the playerbase sucks and nobody is willing to take points. At least in COD people try. In RO the penalty for dying really discourages anyone taking risks.

It's because it does well what 'most' fps players clamour for; fast paced and responsive gunplay that makes you feel like a badass. It's done what Doom and Quake did back in the day.

What he's saying is that it's difficult to make a hard game that will be successful, because of games like CoD that appeals to a mass audience.

I think he's right. Ignore the fact that he's talking about CoD, that's just an example of the many shooters we have today, the point is that you can't market a game with a high skillcap and expect people to buy it or like it, because they're not used to adversity in games today. They can't be bothered to put themselves into a game or spend any effort learning ANY complex mechanics.

I'm not saying things should be nintendo hard, but the harder the challenge, the more rewarding the feeling.

You guys are focusing waaay to much on what he's comparing and not enough on what his point is. This isn't about RO2 or CoD, it's about the state of the market and what it wants.

teebeeohh:
did he just call fallout a shooter? because of he did he really should turn in his hardcore member card.

the new ones became more of a shooter than an rpg....

how about "dont give a fuck about the call of duty player base"
if they want to play something like call of duty, they are going to play call of duty.
focus on anything else and make working as a team enjoyable and satisfying.

Honestly, I can see where he's coming from.

Not because COD might not be a superior FPS, because it probably is in a way, but because this very same situation reminds me so much of World of Warcrafts dominance in the MMO market.
So many other mmos have died trying to cater to WoW's audience it's not even funny, and the ones that're actually doing somewhat well are because they're trying to do something different from WoW. Ultimately, that's the only reliable way to tempt customers away from the status quo.
Being a developer trying to break away shares from the shooter market must be frustrating as hell for the very same reason, and so his reaction is very understandable. It's not easy when your vision of quality doesn't match the expectations of your audience.

But of course, he's going to have to try something else in order for his studio to survive. That's just the way of things. Humans are creatures of habit, and the FPS crowd has been conditioned to expect COD and not much else. If someone has eaten green apples for a long time and learned to love that, you're probably not going to have much success selling them red ones at the same price. Try an orange instead. Variety is the spice of life, after all :)

Also, nothing lasts forever. Sooner of later, CODs dominance will be broken. Either by player apathy, or because something better comes along.

Well what did they expect?

COD is people running around. No thought. There was even a video of a pro Counter Strike player owning an entire server on his first try.

Red Orchestra 2 is a calmer part of the warzone, skirmishes where you can be taken out by a rifle man 600+ meters away. If you aren't an assault class (90% of the server on the bigger maps) its a game of "who's the best sniper?"

Camo yourself into the surroundings, and start sniping with nothing but ironsights. Most of the time you are shooting at nothing but tiny specs on the bigger maps with nothing but ironsight, pure skill, and VERY GOOD EYES. Often you are sniping in fog, or some sort of snow storm. With custom maps being some of the worst offenders.

My cousin plays COD religiously, he saw me getting kills in Red Orchestra 2 and asked if he can try. I said he won't like it, and he will die repeatedly if he tried COD tactics here. He said he was ready for it.

7 matches later and he has yet to manage to get a single kill, or manage to get out of the starting trenches without getting head shotted by a rifleman or gunned down by a machine gunner. He doesn't want to try anymore, and he respects it for how hardcore it is.

Did they expect an iron sight bolt action sniper competition to sell well? Making 600 meter/yard shots at tiny specs that may or may not be on your team?

Not knowing where the bullet came from at all and crawling around like a survivor would in Day Z trying not to be sniped? Yeah, that's a level of hardcore not many people will put up with.

Lieju:

Glademaster:
I wouldn't say CoD is to blame just that it is so popular so many people play it so a lot of people that play it don't have the right mind set. Some people think that if I am good at 1 FPS/RTS/genre I must be good at them all. They then don't take the time to learn a game's nuances and then quit.

Yes, a lot of those people don't have enough experience with different kinds of shooters and overall games, so they can't tell if the game is bad or just different from what they're used to.

I think the answer is to think who your target audience is, and aim to design your game so that it's easy to approach by people who aren't familiar with a lot of shooters.
It doesn't mean you should simplify it, but unless you're targeting an audience that already knows how to approach the game, you need to make it so they can get into it, and tell if they're failing because it's because they're doing something wrong and know how to improve.

I suppose I'd agree with that as it seems like a reasonable approach as to why people act like this. I don't know people who only play 1 game well so I can't really comment on their other gaming habits.

Know your market... people flock to these "no work all reward" games for that very reason, meanwhile you are making the opposite game, yes you market will be niche, very niche.

But hey at least the millions of CoD fans crying out in pain over this statement is good marketing.

anian:
I'm no CoD supporter/fanboy etc., but their map design is reeeeeeally good. And the actions is not so much flinch trigger based, as say CS:GO...CoD games just have really good gameplay.

I hate to be that guy, but... wait, no. I don't.

Call of Duty is the most flinch-based, skill-less shooter I've ever played. The original Unreal Tournament had more depth than CoD ever has - save perhaps for CoD2. The maps are too small to provide any real tactical opportunity and it usually boils down to whoever is seen first gets killed first. Games with larger health bars provide a degree of tactical gunfighting... games like CS:GO where perma-death is switched on every round encourage more careful, meditative play...

Call of Duty is a popcorn shooter, a game where you can switch it on and get points and unlock weapons and level up. Which is fine! That's cool! Nothing against that! But to say CoD has depth is blatantly untrue.

CardinalPiggles:
It's because it does well what 'most' fps players clamour for; fast paced and responsive gunplay that makes you feel like a badass. It's done what Doom and Quake did back in the day.

No, Doom and Quake were about 'dogfighting', really fast movement, and positioning on the map. Cawadooty is about centering your targeting reticle around a person with red text over their heads and then pushing a button. Maybe grenades and killstreaks if you're really good at that.

Take this Q3 video for instance:

And compare it to this BLOPS 2 video:

(To be fair, I haven't watched all of the BLOPS 2 one because my audio is dead right now, so I just picked it out at semi-random)

My point: Call of Duty, as a trend/phenomenon/whatever, has both done miracles and fuck over the multiplayer FPS market (at least on consoles). I admit, it is a wonderful introduction to that genre of gaming, but because of dog piling and annual releases it has stunted the expectations of MPFPS players, as they haven't been given a chance to "grow out" of it and move in to other games requiring more skill and dedication on the player's part.

lancar:
Honestly, I can see where he's coming from.

Not because COD might not be a superior FPS, because it probably is in a way, but because this very same situation reminds me so much of World of Warcrafts dominance in the MMO market.
So many other mmos have died trying to cater to WoW's audience it's not even funny, and the ones that're actually doing somewhat well are because they're trying to do something different from WoW. Ultimately, that's the only reliable way to tempt customers away from the status quo.
Being a developer trying to break away shares from the shooter market must be frustrating as hell for the very same reason, and so his reaction is very understandable. It's not easy when your vision of quality doesn't match the expectations of your audience.

But of course, he's going to have to try something else in order for his studio to survive. That's just the way of things. Humans are creatures of habit, and the FPS crowd has been conditioned to expect COD and not much else. If someone has eaten green apples for a long time and learned to love that, you're probably not going to have much success selling them red ones at the same price. Try an orange instead. Variety is the spice of life, after all :)

Also, nothing lasts forever. Sooner of later, CODs dominance will be broken. Either by player apathy, or because something better comes along.

Red orchestra isn't a common multiplayer FPS.

More often than it not its a full blown realistic bolt action rifle sniping competition. Except no one uses scopes because scopes are restricted.

And that's the problem.

Its 99% sniper competition, no actual movement or incentive to move. Just like real skirmish warfare is. You plop yourself down and make extreme range shots in the middle of fog and snow storms. You don't even get to see where the bullet came from or who killed you.

And on top of that its trying to be brutally cynical. The dialogue tries to personify the soldiers to try to make you feel like an asshole, the dialogue tries to convey the death of a real person opposed to a silent robot. Just like WWII movies do.

"Congrats! You got a kill! Except it was a drafted husband and loving father, His last moments were of extreme pain, and now his children and wife will starve and grieve their loss. Hope you feel good about yourself you ass."

So its trying to be a hyper realistic skirmish simulator, complete with guilt tripping mechanism that may or may not work depending on the person.

And honestly when I say it out loud, did they expect this to be a huge hit?

major_chaos:
Oh what a load of pretentious wank. I'm used to the CoD players are all morons nonsense from forum goers but its just sad to hear it from an actual dev.

Dude, read the whole article!

He's not saying the CoD players are idiots at all, but that CoD's constant spoon feeding gives a lot of players a false sense of security, one which puts them off when they go to other games and find that actually, they don't get that constant drip-feed from other games.

He's completely right too, outside of CoD it's pretty much wrote that you spend the first few hours of play in an FPS online dieing horribly, then you learn. I know some people who play nothing but CoD online, year after year they jump from the same mechanics and maps to the next game with the same mechanics and maps. There's no progression and on the rare occasions they get persuaded to try something else they often assume their getting twanked is because of a problem with the game, not because they need to learn new skills.

rhizhim:

teebeeohh:
did he just call fallout a shooter? because of he did he really should turn in his hardcore member card.

the new ones became more of a shooter than an rpg....

they really are not
just because of the perspective and the option to use guns is there does not make it a shooter(in the fps kinda sense)

teebeeohh:
did he just call fallout a shooter? because of he did he really should turn in his hardcore member card.

I noticed that too.....kind of made me wince

Andy of Comix Inc:
Call of Duty is a popcorn shooter, a game where you can switch it on and get points and unlock weapons and level up. Which is fine! That's cool! Nothing against that! But to say CoD has depth is blatantly untrue.

I didn't say it was "deep", but gameplay is interesting for what it is and it's fun and it is polished. I do hate how it has taken over and I do hate the whole annual releases though.

But I agree on the rest, it's basically what I meant, for what it is, CoD is good. It's not supposed to be a realistic battlefield tactics game, but more of a close combat skirmish. That is also what makes room for games which have other kind of battle tactics and gameplay included.

As a really bad twitch shooter, that had really bad fps on Black ops 2 for example, it really is not based on who has better reflexes (not that it doesn't help, but it's not crucial to get kills if you just don't run around).
And I really didn't get the part about "skills", if you play this game you'll get better, you'll see different stuff works better. I really don't see which FPS requires skills so much more that CoD is worthless.

Welcome to the MMO Genre, dude, where everyone wants to be like WoW, and everyone wants it to be like WoW.

At least people are starting to get tired of it and want more. Wait another 5, 10 years and the COD lovers will start to fade away a bit.

I think if you offer the CoD players something worth their time that they'll be willing to turn in their instant gratification card and attempt to get better at shooters. My younger brother was the most dedicated CoD player you'd ever meet but after a few games of TF2 with me pocketing him as a Medic so he could get the hang of things, he never went back.

He's one of the best Demoman players I've ever seen to date. A better Demoman than myself (though I can play every class well and he can only play Demoman! I've still got pride as the big brother!) and he's really a credit to team!

Well maybe if he offered them hats...
But then he would have to remember that Team Fortress 2 exists, which would undermine his whole point.

DVS BSTrD:
Well maybe if he offered them hats...
But then he would have to remember that Team Fortress 2 exists, which would undermine his whole point.

Well, this is awkward...

He's right (not the escapist extract, the whole article) to a degree. CoD is an 'easy' FPS, but a dangerous one. It tells players they could swim in the ocean in a hurricane whilst in reality they're paddling in a inflatable pool wearing water wings. So when players go to a 'real' FPS, they suddently feel like they've been dropped into the deep end without ever learning to swim, so they cling to CoD.

In the past, if you played a game, it could lead you onto other games within the genre. With CoD, you simply don't learn the skills to ever be competant elsewhere. No-one likes to feel like they've gone from being good to abysmal, even if the 'good' was only smoke, mirrors, and killstreaks.

Ultratwinkie:

Red orchestra isn't a common multiplayer FPS.

More often than it not its a full blown realistic bolt action rifle sniping competition. Except no one uses scopes because scopes are restricted.

I'll have to disagree here - scopes are very much in demand, mostly because they give a significant advantage spotting things at longer ranges.

And that's the problem.

Its 99% sniper competition, no actual movement or incentive to move. Just like real skirmish warfare is. You plop yourself down and make extreme range shots in the middle of fog and snow storms. You don't even get to see where the bullet came from or who killed you.

Generally speaking you don't see where the bullet came from, you have to -know- where the bullet came from, as exposing yourself to an overly wide arc of potential incoming fire is suicide.
The major problem here isn't that it fails at what it's trying to do, the problem is that its goal is incredibly niche.

And on top of that its trying to be brutally cynical. The dialogue tries to personify the soldiers to try to make you feel like an asshole, the dialogue tries to convey the death of a real person opposed to a silent robot. Just like WWII movies do.

"Congrats! You got a kill! Except it was a drafted husband and loving father, His last moments were of extreme pain, and now his children and wife will starve and grieve their loss. Hope you feel good about yourself you ass."

Correct, minus the guilt-tripping. Your character is pretty damn stoked about it.
A good portion of the voice-acting seems to be intended to convey a sense of threat - you're not meant to idly shrug off an artillery bombardment, or an MG opening fire on your position. Again, this is an incredibly niche effect - especially as it goes against the normal narrative of the protagonist being a superhuman badass with nerves of diamond-encrusted wolfram.

So its trying to be a hyper realistic skirmish simulator, complete with guilt tripping mechanism that may or may not work depending on the person.

And honestly when I say it out loud, did they expect this to be a huge hit?

Aye, it really does boil down to this, doesn't it? They've picked themselves a very narrow niche, and made a game for that. Given the resources they've had available I'd say they've accomplished their goal quite well, but at the end of the day, it's still a niche - and for many the largest turnoffs will be exactly what the game set out to do: a hyper-realistic WWII combat simulator, where the protagonist mostly is trying to live to see another day.

Which incidentally also was the reason I loved it.

They should never expect CoD-like success when they go on with this, but I for one would be a very happy bunny if they'd release a Red Orchestra 3 that iterated and improved upon the whole formula of squad-based hyper-realistic action.
Needs not be Stalingrad, needs not even be WWII.

Ultratwinkie:
Well what did they expect?

COD is people running around. No thought. There was even a video of a pro Counter Strike player owning an entire server on his first try.

Red Orchestra 2 is a calmer part of the warzone, skirmishes where you can be taken out by a rifle man 600+ meters away. If you aren't an assault class (90% of the server on the bigger maps) its a game of "who's the best sniper?"

Camo yourself into the surroundings, and start sniping with nothing but ironsights. Most of the time you are shooting at nothing but tiny specs on the bigger maps with nothing but ironsight, pure skill, and VERY GOOD EYES. Often you are sniping in fog, or some sort of snow storm. With custom maps being some of the worst offenders.

My cousin plays COD religiously, he saw me getting kills in Red Orchestra 2 and asked if he can try. I said he won't like it, and he will die repeatedly if he tried COD tactics here. He said he was ready for it.

7 matches later and he has yet to manage to get a single kill, or manage to get out of the starting trenches without getting head shotted by a rifleman or gunned down by a machine gunner. He doesn't want to try anymore, and he respects it for how hardcore it is.

Did they expect an iron sight bolt action sniper competition to sell well? Making 600 meter/yard shots at tiny specs that may or may not be on your team?

Not knowing where the bullet came from at all and crawling around like a survivor would in Day Z trying not to be sniped? Yeah, that's a level of hardcore not many people will put up with.

I'm not trying to be dismissive of you but that is why the RO1 and RO2 have not done very well. At no point does the game emphasise the fact that a moving target is harder to hit or that its easier, and less likely to get you killed, to shoot someone from 20 meters in the back or the side than sit in static position and try to out twitch someone. Its not your fault because you are doing what the games mechanics award you for. There is no penalty for sitting in the church on Spartanovka and shooting at the Russians in the town hall with your Kar. However if the rifleman sitting in the Church moved up into the flanks of C and shoot the Russians from the direction they are not looking your team is more likely to cap the point and you are less likely to get killed. Before you say its realistic, its not, because ignoring an orderer to attack or defend an area would earn you a one way trip to a punishment battalion at best. The problem is that Tripwire have built a team based multiplayer FPS without incentivising team play or penalising camping. They should have considered ways to create the team play with game mechanics.

deathbydeath:

Yeah I agree on the way multiplayer competition is handled these days on consoles. Even the games with the unrealistic space technology have started going a bit too much toward the whole "you round the corner and you die" mentality. Striving towards realism in gameplay is another version of striving towards realism in the visual arts: it gets boring really fast.

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