The Forgotten FPS Style
Quake, Doom, Counterstrike, Team Fortress 2…
The majority of you are getting stuck into Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 right now. They’re the online games of the moment and arguably the biggest FPS releases ever, raking in money that would make Scrooge McDuck spit feathers in envy and ensuring PSN pops to the sound of exploding tanks, rat-a-tat gunfire and someone, somewhere calling your mum gay.
Still, it’s not the only style of FPS game out there. Remember Quake? Doom? When PC FPS games were the dominant force and it was all about speed and a whole different subset of skills? This video shows how different FPS games can be when they’re not all trying to follow in Call of Duty’s wake by offering perks, killstreaks and the like.
Timing when the pick-ups will respawn, controlling the map, predicting where the player will be, using the right weapon for the right situation… all stuff that sounds obvious yet watching it in motion, at the lightning speed with which Quake Live plays out, is a beautiful thing.
It’s amazing to think about how much the FPS genre has warped and changed in 10 years.
The genre started on PC with the likes of Wolfenstein and Doom, then grew on PC through the likes of Duke Nukem 3D, Quake, Unreal, Half-Life, Counterstrike and Team Fortress 2. Multiplayer and modding underpinned what worked for PC FPS games and they retained the fast, frantic gameplay which mouse and keyboard controls afforded them.
FPS games on consoles evolved in a significantly different to how the genre emerged on PC. They were slower, owing to the fact that analogue sticks don’t offer the same instant precision as mouse, and online didn’t become a part of the console era until Xbox Live really took off. That saw a focus on story and single player over multiplayer in the likes of Medal of Honor, Black, Killzone, and so on (split-screen TimeSplitters being a notable exception to the single player over multiplayer rule).
It wasn’t until online became a console standard that multiplayer started to catch up to single player in the genre, with Call of Duty 4 acting as the posterchild for console FPS multiplayer, and now publishers are trying to cross the console and PC divide with the likes of Crysis 2, Battlefield 3 and so on.
Now it’s not like Quake-style of PC FPS games have suddenly disappeared. There are millions of players still getting stuck into them today. Rather, it’s more that they’re now the sideshow to the gargantuan Call of Duty main event, no longer stealing the spotlight in the genre. I don’t know how big the analogue stick hurdle is to overcome to getting that style of FPS on console – I guess it’s big enough that no-one would risk that kind of game on PS3 today, especially as the playing style is outdated now – but I really wish a developer would take that chance and figure it out.
For those PlayStation3 owners out there who own gaming PCs, do you play Quake Live? Team Fortress 2? Even Battlefield 3 on PC over PS3 or any PC FPS games? Or do you keep it console only?