The modern FPS. It's a settled creature. Throw the player into a warzone with a small selection of weapons and a big glowing symbol on the screen telling them where they should go to shoot stuff. Then you go online. Basically the same, but with the subtraction of the glowing dot for being metaphorically raped unless you play them all the time. I'm looking at you Modern Warfare.
I can honestly say, First Person Shooters are my least favourite genre. They're all the same, and it's infuriating. The only FPS series I've played through in it's entirety is the Halo series, and that's for the story more than anything. Halo's universe is like the UV Lamp to my story seeking moth. I've gone so far as to buy 6 novels, and 2 graphic novels without even owning an Xbox 360 or any of the games (I played them all at my cousins house). But, I digress.
Other than the story of Halo, nothing in the FPS market attracts me. No developers do anything different with the genre. Except for Valve and Irrational. These are the only 2 developers who I'm interested in at the minute, as far as FPS games go. Why?
Valve is... well, Valve. I don't think there's a developer like them in the world.They stick to a single style of game, first person shooters, and yet they do so much with it. You have the story driven Half Life series, the frantic and fun cooperative Left 4 Dead games, the epic puzzler Portal, and Valves competitive offerings; Team Fortress 2 and CounterStrike. Right there, you have 4 "sub-genres", all first person shooters, but each with their own thing. Half Life has its alien invasion story. Left 4 Dead has it's zombie apocalypse, and all the glorious frustration that comes with today's faster zombies. Portal has its dry-as-the-Sahara humor and unique game mechanics. Not to mention, Counterstrike and TF2 each offer their own competitive team-based styles which have people playing them long after other games have come and gone. In many peoples eyes, Valve can do no wrong. Until they do, I'm one of the many. Now where's my Episode 3?! Okay, they've fucked up on that one to the point it's not even funny. Seriously though, other than the constant delays, Valve have never put a foot wrong since their debut with Half Life in late 1998. That's over 12 years. That's right. They've been making games for as long as Duke Nukem Forever has been in development. That said, if Valve were making DNF, we probably wouldn't see it until the latter half of the 21st century.
Now onto Irrational Games. Made famous by System Shock 2, hit the big time with its spiritual sequel BioShock. Ask anyone who knows me, BioShock is one of my favourite games of all time. The claustrophobic atmosphere, the twisty turny story(s), the awesome Plasmid mechanics, the Steampunk aesthetics. I could go on. I love everything about BioShock, and the only thing I wish I could change is to add the dual wielding from the second game into the first. Unless you've had your head under a rock for the past few months, you'll know Irrational announced the (first true) sequel to BioShock, BioShock Inifinite. I say first true sequel, because it's not a real sequel unless the original developers make it. It's someone elses vision that's shaping the games universe, not its creators.
One of my biggest gaming wishes is for BioShock to become a Final Fantasy-esque franchise. Final Fantasy games all have nothing in common, besides a few shared elements, such as the names of the summons (Espers, Aeons, whatever), Chocobo's, Moogles, always having a guy named Cid etc.. If BioShock became that kind of franchise, where each game takes place in a separate continuity, with a few things like Big Daddy style enemies, and Plasmids in some form or another, and Irrational made all of them, I would be in heaven. Well, I would as long as they don't start taking the piss and make them linear as hell with no diversion from the main story.
So yeah, that's why I only care about 2 FPS developers. Unless Treyarch and EA can pull something other than Call of Duty and Medal of Honor out of their asses, then I might pay attention. Actually scratch that, once EA/DICE bring out Mirror's Edge 2, I'll add them to my list. As for Treyarch, they have no hope ever since Activision relegated them to the position of "Call of Duty Developer". It's a shame really, I'd love to see what they'd do given a bit of creative freedom. read