There’s a debate to be had about the potential desirability of finding the “definitive shooter,” something that many game studios seem to express an interest in creating (or perhaps the words just look good on a press release). After all, if anyone did one day manage to make the ultimate shooter, whether third-person or FPS, we’d have to look forward to a gloomy lifetime of knowing that the gaming experience had already peaked, and that it would be all downhill from there.
Having said that, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with developers attempting to make a game that outdoes all those which have gone before, especially if you’re not a true believer in the possibility of a Definitive Shooter™. Such is the case with Halo developers Bungie, whose forthcoming open-world sci-fi FPS Destiny is one of the most highly anticipated games of the next generation.
If a developer is seeking to create the definitive shooter, the obvious place to start would be to look at some of best shooters already available and treat them as prototypes – taking the best parts, stripping away the less desirable elements, and adding improvements where necessary.
“We are absolutely doing things that would be familiar if you’ve played any kind of open-world game. I mean… ‘Far Cry,’ even. We would be idiots if we didn’t look at an awesome game like ‘Borderlands’ and ask, ‘What are they doing well and how can we try to hit that same ball?’ I have never played a game where I have such a great attachment to my gun as I do in ‘Borderlands.’”
Staten went on to suggest that the multiplayer and co-op experience of Destiny is designed in such a way as to make the world feel more alive and populated. A big part of that will be the experience of seeing other players engaging in their own adventures on the horizon, and having the option to seek them out or to go your own way:
“When we look at a game like that, we look at the things they’re doing well and also at opportunities they might have missed that we can capitalise on. You can party up with a group of people and then go around with that group, but never in ‘Borderlands’ are you going to collide with a group of other people doing it too. We don’t do that just once or twice in the game, we do that all the time, everywhere. You see other people on the horizon, hear gunfire over a hill and see space magic flying behind some trees, and you know… there are other people out here, that [changes everything]. ‘Borderlands’ right now is: ‘I’m going to walk into that space and we’re going to clear them out and keep going.’ And frankly that’s not just ‘Borderlands,’ that’s any co-op shooter.”
The Borderlands influence is fairly tangible in the gameplay video that was released earlier this month, mostly because of similarities in the setting and aesthetics. In the co-op campaign, characters were seen meeting up on the edges of a roughly-constructed settlement located on the frontier of a mostly barren wasteland, battling their way through the outer wall and seamlessly meeting up with other players to battle alien foes The Fallen (who are actually pretty lively, despite the name).
Do you think it’s possible to create the ultimate first person shooter? If so, do you think that Destiny could be it? Tell us what you think of Staten’s approach to making the game in the comments.
Destiny is targeting a 2014 release on the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.