Over the course of my E3 previews this year, I kept saying one thing that has gotten several people quite upset. “The military shooter is dead” was my anthem, as I tried out all the new shooters that the industry had to offer. So before the rest of the gaming community starts camping outside of my house with pitchforks and torches, let me explain myself.
When I say “the military shooter is dead” I don’t mean “the military shooter is bad.” What I mean is that the market was oversaturated with military shooters and we are starting to pull away from the genre. Call of Duty and Battlefield were both military shooters and were both some of the most popular games in the industry. But then you added games like Arma, Medal of Honor, Sniper Elite, Spec Ops: The Line, and a lot of other less notable copy cats and you eventually realize that there was no way any one gamer would end up purchasing every military shooter the market had to offer. The fanbase was split and as a result, every title suffered a little
It was Titanfall that eventually opened up the floodgates for some innovation. Being that it was made by the same designers that made Modern Warfare 2, it solidly attracted much of the Call of Duty military shooter crowd. However, even though it had similarities with other Call of Duty games, it was still its own beast. The giant robot combat was unlike anything we saw before, and the game moved at a much faster pace than the shooters we were used to.
Then, at E3 this year, both of the most popular and well known shooter franchises broke from the military formula. Call of Duty decided to go semi sci-fi with its take on futuristic warfare in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Battlefield went full on cops and robbers with Battlefield: Hardline. Other developers seemed to be on the same page. Bungie had a new sci-fi shooter to offer in Destiny, and 2K Games had the incredibly fun asymmetrical game Evolve. Then there were a whole host of zombie shooter/action games including Sunset Overdrive, Dead Island 2, Dying Light, The Last of Us: Remastered, H1Z1, and more. To find any remnant of the military shooter genre, you had to go out of your way and look long and hard at obscure booths.
And this is a good thing! When I say “the military shooter is dead” I’m not saying “good riddance.” I’m saying we have options. I’m saying that for the first time in a long time I might purchase both Battlefield and Call of Duty. I won’t just be choosing between the military shooter that “feels” better or that has a different fanbase. I’ll be able to choose between very different games with very different themes. Everyone will be able to choose! Or hey! Maybe not! I wouldn’t mind having all these shoooters on my shelf. Who needs to choose sides?
Senior Contributing Writer