Is the FPS dominance stamping out creativity?
As most people know (assuming you've been gaming for the past 4/5 years), the FPS genre has really taken off in the past few years thanks to the initial success of Call of Duty: 4 Modern Warfare back in 2007. Following the game's success, we have seen a yearly release from the series, numerous successful - and unsuccessful clones as well as various spinoffs from big-name competitors. So, due to the FPS genre taking the world of gaming by storm, has the creativity and bravery of developers decreased?
To begin with, the PS2 had one of the most varied video-game libraries I have seen. Ever. Whether it be sports titles, shooting games, racing games or role-playing games; the PS2 had it all in abundance. In comparison to today's console generation, a difference can be seen in the type of titles available - and yes, after looking at what the PS2 had available, the variety of games seen in this generation has declined. So much so that the majority of games released for the current-gen consoles are FPS, racing or sports games. Whilst this may not be too much of a problem on PS3 (in comparison to XBOX), it certainly is still there however; games such as Journey, The Unfinished Swan and When Vikings Attack redeem the PS3 for the barrage of FPS games the market has endured throughout the past 5 years.
This is where the problem develops, if companies realize they can play it safe by making an FPS game (in order to appeal to the masses), then that's probably what they'll do. This is particularly applicable to the state of the Halo franchise; a trilogy has ended with a new one promised to arrive. This portrays the market perfectly - why not move on from a 10+ year old franchise onto something new? In addition, the Call of Duty franchise has enjoyed dominance of the charts, every Christmas for the past 5 years. With hits such as Halo and Call of Duty dominating the charts, surely some developers will be put off another genre and jump into FPS due to lack of confidence? Alternatively, this may put them off their original ideas thus; causing them to twist the formula of the game in order to make it contain action of some sort.
This problem particularly effects smaller developers during the Christmas period; with the hype of larger FPS games at their peak, the hype of smaller, usually more creative games gets crushed like an ant as mass-advertising drowns out the sound of lesser-known releases. This of course means that creative, unique games suffer from poor sales which may put other game developers off making something similar in the years to follow. Nearing the end of a generation, the effect of this is clear to see. In comparison to the PS2, there are arguably only a handful of creative games worthy of recognition. Maybe if the juggernaut of a series: Call of Duty hadn't reigned the charts of this gaming generation, we may have seen a little bit more variety in what developers had to offer over the past 5/6 years.
For example, it becomes clear when once big-name competitors have suffered the transition from last generation to this generation by losing their creativity. Both the Silent Hill and Resident Evil series have been decimated from what they once were and have been reborn as action/shooting games. Comparing the modern versions of the said titles, it becomes clear why this change has been applied to the once great series; to appeal to more people in order to gain more sales. This is yet again a perfect example of creativity removed in order to please the fans of FPS/generic action games. This may prompt the saying "if it ain't broken then don't fix it!" In my opinion, this is extremely frustrating; if your game had creativity and something that made it unique, then why remove it in order to please people interested in a completely different genre? Yet again, Silent Hill can be brought into this argument. Releasing on the 2nd of November 2012, Silent Hill: Book of Memories launched however; it completely changed the traditional formula of Silent Hill by changing the genre. Yes, that's right - they changed it. Rather than naming the game something different, they took a prestigious brand name (Silent Hill) and slapped it on a generic action game as if it doesn't even matter. Now, their motive becomes clear - doesn't it? They changed what should be a psychological horror game (the creative element that made Silent Hill... Silent Hill!) into an action game. Oh dear. If acclaimed series are scrapping their creativity for a simplistic approach upon what they once were then something is clearly wrong.
On the other hand, it can be said the FPS onslaught has pushed developers to actually be more creative when it comes to making their games. Whilst it may be harder to be recognised (due to said reasons), really unique games stand out on the internet as the word gets spread and articles appear on sites such as N4G. This is all positive publicity however; these games still won't get the recognition they deserve because not everyone follows gaming news such as myself or (presumably) you. This therefore acts as a limitation, stopping the game from having the full attention it deserves.
In conclusion, I really see a change in the creativity of games from last generation to this generation. As a punishment, we have been introduced to more action/shooter games and less games that define gaming as a unique experience - creative games.
Thankyou for reading.