First-Person Shooters: A Deep Dive

First-Person Shooters: A Deep Dive

Perhaps more synonymous with gaming culture than any other genre, first-person shooters (FPS) have been influencing the video game industry for a very long time. From the humble beginnings of 1973’s Maze Wars and cult classics like Doom, first-person shooters have certainly come a long way in terms of how they look and feel — and the genre has had an undeniable impact on society at large during this time. In this article we will explore where FPS games came from, where they have been and where they are going.

When we think about early FPS history, one game development studio comes to mind: iD Software. iD Software released Doom and Wolfenstein in the late early 90s and subsequently set the technological stage for an industry that was about to develop. iD Software was able to render 3D graphics just as quickly as 2D graphics, on hardware from the era that had not yet been optimised for gaming. That trend continues to this day, with the popular colloquialism referencing physical hardware: “can it run Doom?”. Indeed, Doom can still be run on all sorts of low-grade hardware — but it wasn’t the only game in town at the time. There was also the Unreal Engine, released by Epic Games in 1998: this would power an assortment of FPS games for years to come.

You might recognise Epic Games from more modern history, too. Their immensely popular Fortnite Battle Royale title has been plastered across television sets all across the world, while they have also made headlines over their recent battle with Apple over in-app payments. Epic has continued to iterate on the Unreal Engine as well over the past two decades, with the extremely impressive Unreal Engine 5 released earlier this week. More modern FPS games have moved away from the popular “dungeon crawler” that was seen in the early days, with multiplayer gameplay taking centre stage in many popular titles. This focus on multiplayer gameplay also brought along with it an entire sub-industry centred around flexing your prowess to your competitors in multiplayer with unique skins and attachments for weapons. Modern FPS games have also continued to push the envelope of what is possible in terms of graphical fidelity, with games such as Halo Infinite now available in 8K resolution on modern hardware. This is a full 518 times more pixels than in the original version of Doom.

Speaking of graphical fidelity, what about the future? As immersive as they have become, will first-person shooters forever be confined to the flatscreen (or curved, if that is your persuasion)? We think not. With the flood of investment that has come to the metaverse space, we believe that there will be significant development of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) first-person-shooter titles. Unique VR first-person shooters such as Superhot have already given us a glimpse into what this future may hold, with a completely different and enticing play style that focuses on precision timing more so than any shoot-em-up style FPS does today.

Further, we believe that play-to-earn mechanics, NFTs and ownership of in-game assets will play a huge role in redefining the FPS experience for dedicated players. Actual ownership of certain elements in the game — and not just giving recurring revenue to game development studios for the sake of recurring revenue — will help to build a more synergistic relationship between players and developers.

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