In recent years, there’s been a notable trend in gaming toward light, somewhat goofy games. As an avid gamer, it’s something I’ve noticed not just in one particular niche of the gaming market, but rather across multiple systems and genres of gaming. Consider the following examples.
- In the major console market, while action-packed shooters and adventure games remain some of the best-selling games out there, we’ve also seen some simpler, more cartoonish games pushing their way into the conversation. At Metro UK’s list of the top selling games of 2013, for example, you’ll find the likes of Lego Marvel Superheroes and even Minecraft in the top-10, just behind the likes of Assassin’s Creed IV, Grand Theft Auto V, etc. Personally I don’t find anything wrong with these games, but it’s still a little bit odd to see them listed right alongside major action-pacekd blockbusters and more complex games.
- In the app market – an increasingly active and significant corner of the gaming industry – the most popular games tend to be silly arcade options such as the wildly popular Flappy Bird, or simple, light-hearted puzzle games like Candy Crush Saga. I understand the addictive quality of games like these, but they’re lacking ad depth and complexity that I prefer in gaming. Meanwhile action games such as the Grand Theft Auto mobile adaptations, while still popular, tend to translate pretty poorly to mobile devices, which leaves a lot of us wanting.
- Even in the online casino industry, there are hints of lighter, more cartoonish games taking center stage. At the Betfair Arcade casino gaming platform online, you can find a pretty wide array of themed jackpots and slot machines, with many ties to modern console gaming and pop culture themes. For example, there are games based on Marvel characters, recent action films like RoboCop, and even a Street Fighter themed game. They’re kind of fun, and all of them are done in a light, fun manner with familiar animated themes. However, they can also get a little repetitive, and in looking through gaming options there’s nothing even resembling a modern action or shooter game.
Now, I don’t mind to suggest that shooters aren’t selling well; any gamer knows that would be nonsense. The same Metro article I cited previously lists both of the most popular shooter franchises – Call Of Duty and Battlefield – in the top five. However, it’s fair to say that there hasn’t really been anything drastically new in shooter gaming for a few years now, and if you’re like me you’ve been waiting for a new look. Don’t get me wrong – I still love jumping into CoD multiplayer as much as the next guy, but something new is always exciting.
Luckily, I believe that the shooting genre is about to get a significant boost in the form of the release (finally!) of Titanfall on Xbox 360 and Xbox One. From everything I’ve seen leading up to the release, this game looks like a revelation for the shooting genre, and could be the fresh look action gaming needs, as well as the boost Microsoft could use for struggling Xbox One sales. Why, you ask? Here are my reasons for why Titanfall is going to rock.
It’s Not Call Of Duty
Everyone stop this chatter right now. Yes, Titanfall happens to come from Respawn Entertainment, which was founded by a few people who were involved at Infinity Ward when Call Of Duty became popular. And yes, some of the early images and gameplay looks similar. But this game is not a Call Of Duty knock-off. It’s set in outer space, in the distant future, and combines soldier combat with giant, mechanized units. In other words, Titanfall is a completely fresh twist on the modern shooter, and I can’t wait.
Multiplayer Is Embraced
We all know that console shooters sell largely for their multiplayer modes. Sure, people enjoy a nice campaign mode, and every now and then a surprisingly good one comes along. But for most gamers (including yours truly), campaign mode is little more than an introduction to a modern shooter, before the online multiplayer is explored. This has been true for some time now, yet the majority of modern shooters have continued to insist on rolling out short, unsatisfying campaign modes (I’m looking at you, CoD: Ghosts). Titanfall appears to be breaking this trend, and is unabashedly depending on multiplayer. Good for Respawn. IGN delves into the decision to scrap single player campaign, essentially coming to the conclusion that it diverts a lot of development focus and most gamers hardly bother with it anyway. I say it’s about time a modern shooter admitted that multiplayer is the way of the world!
You Can Actually Move Around
Call me crazy, but movement is sneakily maddening in most popular shooters. There’s still a bit of a jerky, angular quality to first person movement that’s reminiscent of N64’s classic Goldeneye game, and frankly it feels a bit archaic. Word is that this problem has been dealt with to some extent in Titanfall, with a Paste Magazine preview of the game specifically comparing player movement to the more acrobatic, freestyle running and climbing we’ve seen in games like the Ubisoft Prince Of Persia series, and even in Assassin’s Creed games. It’s almost hard to imagine this working in a shooter, but it’s also incredibly exciting, purely from a gameplay perspective.
All in all, I believe that these factors – in addition to the obvious beauty of the game, and the inventiveness of combining “Titan” and “Pilot” play – will make Titanfall the most exciting shooter in recent years. Focus on sillier, more cartoonish games will surely endure, as they largely appeal to different audiences. But if you’ve been waiting for a fresh shooter to come along and dominate the conversation the way Call Of Duty was doing a few years ago, Titanfall may well be your answer! This game, and possibly Xbox Ones along with it, is going to be flying off the shelves.