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MCV 13/08/10 27 FIRST PERSON SHOOTER FOCUS What next for the FPS?


With the release of Halo: Reach, Medal of Honor and Call of Duty: Black Ops looming large on the retail horizon, Kristan Reed investigates the first person shooter landscape and asks if the appetite for shooting monsters in the face is as strong as ever...


EA developers DICE and Danger Close team up on Medal of Honor, which has been created with the help of Tier 1 soldiers


A FEW MONTHS back, the first person shooter officially came of age with the 18th anniversary of Wolfenstein 3D. Barely anyone even noticed. There was no fanfare, no big celebration, no tearful retrospective at the passing of youth. Just the silent acknowledgement that the snotty nosed punk of the scene has seamlessly become part of gaming’s mainstream. It’s not surprising that the landmark passed without comment. It’s been a noisy year for the FPS scene. We’ve had the West and Zampella vs Activision shenanigans to distract us, not to mention Halo: Reach’s incredible TV-advertised beta campaign pulling in an incredible 2.7m players. And then we’ve had the likes of Codemasters’ resident noisenik Stuart Black bringing a bit of John Lydon attitude to the scene, screaming to anyone who’ll listen about how boring shooters have become.


Boring or not, whichever way you spin it, first person shooters are crazily


big business. Games like Modern Warfare 2 continue to break records quicker than we can write them down (20m sales and counting... probably 21 already), while even titles like Bad Company 2 routinely sell multi-millions almost unnoticed. Commercially at least, it’s definitely the place to be – but you have to go big, or sod off home. Scanning at the roster of forthcoming titles, publishers certainly aren’t shy of making bold statements of intent this year and beyond, and it ought to be more than enough to keep shareholders in cocaine and hookers for some time to come.


“ SHOOTING AHEAD


When you’re looking at a schedule where you’ve got Halo: Reach duking it out with Call of Duty: Black Ops, and heavyweight contenders like the returning Medal of Honor trying to smash F.E.A.R 3


out of the way, gamers are not going to be short of things to shoot in the face. And then you’ve got genre crossovers, like the RPG shooter Fallout: New Vegas, not to mention the Wii-remake of GoldenEye 007 alongside Metroid: Other M and The Conduit 2. Even with high


It’s fashionable to look back and say the golden age of FPS is behind us. But I think this is complete nonsense. Tom Bramwell, Eurogamer


profile titles like Crysis 2 and Brink moving into 2011, the FPS bandwagon continues to trundle along just fine. Screaming into the chilly early months of next year, it’s possibly even more crowded. As well as huge sequels like Killzone 3 and Crysis 2 fighting for consumer spend, a number of high profile new IPs are set to make their


noisy debuts in the shape of the three “Bs”: Bulletstorm, Brink, and Bodycount. For the average shooter fanatic, it’s primed to be an expensive six or seven months – and that’s assuming you don’t plump for the increasingly elaborate collectors editions, or buy into the vast amounts of DLC being pumped out. It doesn’t take an accountant to discover that there are probably going to be some casualties along the way.


higher than ever. For a long time, the market has supported this excess by virtue of an ever-increasing hunger for the genre, but every market has its peak. The big question is has this peak already been reached? Was Modern Warfare 2 as big as it’s ever going to get? The law of diminishing returns can be a real bitch.





When development costs routinely run into the tens of millions, the stakes are


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