Romero: There’s Plenty of Evolution Left for the FPS Genre
The designer of Doom shares his thoughts on why intuitive game design will always be more important to the growth of the gaming industry than simply improving its technology.
In an interview with Developer, the legendary developer John Romero made some critiques about the current state of the FPS genre that we can certainly agree on. Romero mentions that it doesn't matter how good the graphics get, most of the popular FPS franchises have become cookie cutter-made versions of one another with slightly different fixings.
There are unbelievable amounts of new stuff to do in that genre. The idea of a shooter is running around with weapons, in first-person, blowing things away. But what are you really doing? What is the world like? Who are you, and what do you care about? What are you doing in the world that’s different?
Take something like World of Warcraft – what if that was a shooter? You have a giant world full of quests, and tons of people with PvP already in the game. If World of Warcraft was a shooter, that would be brand new – nobody would have seen something that big and that cool.
And it wouldn’t be anything like WoW because of the nature of being a shooter – it would probably concentrate on a lot of areas that were similar to Team Fortress 2. Perhaps villages would become like TF2 levels, where you would try to score as much as you could before deciding to move on. Or that area would have specific goals, like taking out five snipers and two demo guys to retrieve some key items. Perhaps once you’ve exhausted that village, you could go to another one down the road. And maybe the planet’s full of them – nobody’s played a game like that.
Romero mentions that the FPS experience has so many places it can venture to, but most developers just repeat the tried-and-true formats because they're afraid to experiment, it brought so many others success and big-time publishers won't back something different, they'll only fund something that worked in the past. He highlights the fact that Minecraft was only made by a single person, and its immense popularity shows there's still room for innovation and growth in gaming.
The doom dev mentions when you go to the next-gen beyond PS4/Xbox One, a game's designs will still matter more, not the technology. Just because there's more you can do with the polygons and AI on the screen, that is never a standard of a quality gaming experience.
“There’s no Call of Duty-Con, but there is a MineCon, a QuakeCon and a BlizzCon. If a game makes a bunch of money really quickly, that’s a testament to the marketing power of the company and not really the quality of the game."
We couldn't agree more, Mr. Romero.