Sitrep: The FPS is dead and dried out, but what’s next?


By on May 7, 2014 at 4:12 pm

The other day, someone – I forget who, some kind of games person with high scores all up in hair – was saying something to the effect of, “Shooters are gonna be like the 2D platformers of the ‘90s.” It’s hard to imagine now, but those were massive then. It was all you could see on the gaming horizon. Mario and Sonic gave us such follow-along luminaries as Bubsy the Bobcat, Cool Spot, Boogerman (rad), Global Gladiators (ack), Jazz Jackrabbit, and even Zool. Remember Zool? Probs not. Will we be saying the same in a decade when some plucky young upstart who still thinks life is OK goes, “Remember CoD?

If we’re being specific about CoD, I hope so. But if we’re being broad and talking about FPS games, I hope not. I like them! So do a lot of good sociopaths. They’re all you can see on the gaming hori- wait a minute. Déjà vu of a kind. In truth, I thought this bubble would burst ages ago. FPS games felt like they were tying onions to their belts circa Crysis 2 not being that good. Everything was brown and we’d done it all before, a similar vibe as felt during Mario’s umpteenth re-release (with a new hat). If nostalgia was not a thing, Nintendo would be in the pachinko business.

So why hasn’t it happened yet? We’re still shooting all the thingies in exactly the same fashion, more or less, that we have been since Wolfenstein (although Wolfenstein’s umpteenth new-hat re-release is liable to be sheer pachinko again, weirdly). We’re also, by the looks of many a packed-out server, still totally into it. It’s true that only a minority prefer novelty over nostalj, but this still doesn’t seem right.

And then you remember that maybe the only reason 2D platformers –  I loved those too, not even apologetic at all – went out of fashion is because gaming tech bumped up to the point where it could offer the next level of experience, that being the same level we’ve been on since we reached it. It’s like level 3 of Battletoads on the NES. Screw that level, hey. Imagine yourself sitting around in your cool grunge with your Nirvana tee playing radical jumping games and trying to envision where it could go. “Seeing through my own eyes and doing stuff,” never occurred to me personally, but it happened.

So for FPS games as we know them to officially phase out, the next level of that needs to come about. Here I am in my cool mathcore with my Dillinger Escape Plan tee playing sick shooting games and trying to envision where they could go. For so long, it has felt impossible to transcend this miracle of immersion, one screen removed as it is. That’s why I think peeps are really so excited about things like Oculus Rift. Then we can combine everything that’s defined the ages together as one and play MF’ing Jumping Flash the way that digital nature did not intend to happen at all.

18 comments (Leave your own)

Activision just announced that they’re spending $500mil on Destiny over the next 10 years. Somehow, I don’t think FPS is going to die any time soon.


The FPS as a general rule, won’t die. The reason for its rise was increases in computational power, so thus being able to render worlds from a first person viewpoint. Even the rise of disruptive technologies such as Occulus doesn’t change that fact (in fact it reinforces it). FPS’s may get out of this rut of shitty ass stories, and bleaker and bleaker gameplay, but the core fact is that everyone likes to play pretend soldiers, and how close can you get than playing thru the eyes of a soldier?

Ralph Wiggum

People are expecting more from their FPS, rather than just cookie cutter hallway run and gun shooters. Plot, pacing, stealth, tactics, immersion, inventory, character customisation, etc. are no longer just afterthoughts in a game nowadays.


It’s like level 3 of Battletoads on the NES

Thanks Tobs. Had completely repressed the memory of the turbo tunnel, and am now going to have to book in another few counselling sessions.


FPS isn’t dead, it’s just been muddled in with and unceremoniously combined with the MMS – or ‘Modern Military Shooter’. This distinction isn’t readily clear however.
Total Biscuit did a Couple of Good videos on the matter.

It’s just at the point where we can no longer look to the AAA industry to deliver these, Because “lolz COD sells let’s copy that formula” (Duke Nukem Forever../shudder) and instead must look to the Indies and things like Serious Sam, these ROTT/Shadow Warrior Reboots, Wrack, Tower of Guns… Things like Cult County on Kickstarter (Which totally didn’t get funded.. goddamn it..) to keep the genre barely alive and kicking in this sea of brownish grey Military Shooter, Regenerating health, Linear Path, Checkpoint only, two weapon carrying grit.



Well technically platformers havn’t really died either. They have just dropped in popularity significantly. The same will happen with FPS as new game concepts are discovered. Just look at the MOBA (dota/lol) scene.

Also, VR does not work well with FPS, unless you go for full body simulations. Sitting in a chair with VR goggles on will make half the population feel sick if they played an FPS game.

My guess would be things like star citizen, elite, eve and other cockpit simulation or 3rd person view games will take off in the next few years. Then there will be games with completely new concepts that havn’t even been thought up yet. The FPS genre will likely slowly dwindle, it won’t disappear, but it won’t have the popularity it has now.

Also FYI, not everyone likes to play pretend soldier games…


stoibs: FPS isn’t dead, it’s just been muddled in with and unceremoniously combined with the MMS – or ‘Modern Military Shooter’.

This … I want another Quake already >.>

Toby McCasker


Solidarity, bro. Every time I close my eyes, it’s there, waiting.


Well I fired up Commander Keen the other day, and the nostalgia did bring a tear to my eye.

But the gameplay made me sob uncontrollably and uninstall it.

André Axe'm

Now I want to play Zool again…


IMHO gaming in general peaked at Crysis (1). When it came out we all said “Wow look at these photorealistic graphics, intelligent AI, destructible environments and intricate physics. Imagine what we’ll be playing in 5 years time!”. But 7 years have passed now and nothing has surpassed it.


I wouldn’t really say FPS is dead, It has just been held back by last gen consoles for far too long now and it is time for the genre to evolve.

I think FPE (First Person Exploration) could very well be the next big thing especially when VR is out. They can offer whole new level of interaction when equipped with PrioVR, STEM System or Myo.

Also as hellbender mentioned FPS might not work well for VR considering most of these games are very fast paced, but an FPE which is a much slower pace game might be more appealing to a wider audience, non-gamers and so on.


Innovation in FPS is certainly dead.


spooler: This … I want another Quake already >.>

Same, set in quake 1′s universe. Would be so amazing.


Innovation in FPS is certainly dead.

^this. The big publishers have spent all their time and money making FPS shiner and shallower.


Originally I got into fps’s for the ability to explore interesting new locations. Yeah there was shooting people in the face but mostly it was checking out every nook and cranny, exploring for secrets, looking for that all important item or weapon or whatever that would enable me to defeat the next challenge. I could spend ages in D3D and Doom just looking around for that last secret.

Nowadays you try to explore and you get a flashing message telling you you’ve left the battlefield, you have 10 seconds to go back. Everything worth looking at is put right in front of you, you don’t have to worry about looking around, it’s all been done for you. Our hero has gone from being able to hold a small arsenal and muck around flipping from weapon to weapon, he can now carry only two guns, maybe grenades and a melee weapon. When did games become like this?

That’s my thoughts anyhow. About the last fps I can remember having a blast exploring was Metroid Prime of all things. I wish somebody would do a game with similar mechanics to that one again, for PC. I would buy it in an instant.



Well said. This is why Quake single player was fun, finding the secrets via granade and rocket jumping etc. You can’t do it in FPS anymore…

I’ve practically stopped playing FPS, there is no lore in them anymore… Its all just constant non stop action and no time to think.

Then there is the multiplayer… they have tried to even the playing field so much that victory is no longer sweet.


I like to explore too. It’s the reason I take about 3 times longer to complete a playthrough than the average player.

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