In the world of FPS games, great multiplayer is a must. If a game doesn't compare to Battlefield or Call of Duty, many will simply ignore it. But with multiplayer being so important, the emphasis on great singleplayer had dropped significantly. To the point where I'd have trouble pointing out a good story in an FPS game. Of course, I only mean in recent games. Consider Half-Life 2, the FPS to rule them all. It's a game released in 2004 that innovated the FPS genre. Now look at Call of Duty or Battlefield, they've sure innovated the multiplayer aspect, but the singleplayer just isn't up to par.
The main character is usually some person who doesn't talk, or if he does talk, he's got about as much to say as a potato. And if he does talk more than a potato, it’s usually not worth listening to. In my free time, when I'm peeling potatoes, I often think of better stories than what FPS games have in ten minutes. At least, I think I do, I'd just prefer something that I could enjoy. Take Gordon Freeman from Half-Life 2, he’s a character that is incapable of speech. Now, while I enjoyed the game’s story, it could have been better if he could voice his own opinions. The only thing that separates Half-Life 2 from FPS stories today is that Half-Life 2 has a story beyond the main character. We care about Alyx Vance and Eli because they go through character arches. When you think about it, Gordon Freeman is a puppet that is told what to do, he doesn’t make his own decisions because he can’t speak his mind. Why not take from good military movies? Military movies are the closest a movie will get to a FPS. You can always adapt what works in a few good movies, change it to be unique, and voila. By the way, keyword is unique. Every game should innovate at least one aspect of gaming, whether it be story, gameplay, atmosphere, or anything else. As long as it brings something new to the table of gaming geeks like myself.
I would argue that it would be better to have a convoluted mess of an FPS story than one lacking of any story at all. Because, potentially, the story could be a gold mine of hidden story goodness. I'm going to assume that of the many who purchased Battlefield 3, few played its campaign. I didn't, and I was a fan of the Bad Company storyline. That is an example of a decent FPS story, the Bad Company games. They had mediocre characters that grew on you because they grew on each other. Comedy can really help a game, and I think it works especially well in FPS games. What is the solution, you hopefully ask? Infuse some comedy, love, and scares into the typical explosive FPS game and see what you come up with.