Move your body
Ask any DJ what truly defines their craft and most will explain that technical ability and the quality of the contents of your record bag mean little if you’re not playing the songs in the right order. The art, and the purpose, of playing loud music to a big room lies in keeping people moving to it for an entire night. Sure, it’s about the tunes, but also, crucially, it’s about the journey.
That’s something FPS developers seem to be cottoning onto. In this most competitive of genres, there’s only so much you can do with the act of aiming and shooting. The FPS is ultimately a game of pulling a trigger until something falls over, and nothing is going to change that.
What can change, however, is the journey. As we close out the year that gave us Titanfall’s wall-run, Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s boost-dodge and Destiny’s glide, we find that developers seem set to continue experimenting in the future with the things the player can do when the shooting stops. In Halo 5: Guardians, 343 Industries is bravely expanding a 13-year-old moveset with unlimited sprinting, a double jump and a devastating ground pound. On p36, we discover how the studio is balancing its additions to avoid upsetting fans, but the very fact that such radical change is deemed necessary says a lot for where the genre is heading.
Blizzard Entertainment, meanwhile, continues its history of ploughing its own furrow, though it’s once again telling that it enters the FPS space with a game defined as much by its movement as its weaponset. In Overwatch (p40), jump packs, grappling hooks and teleports help differentiate classes in far more meaningful ways than the traditional big-and-slow/light-and-squishy template. It’s an idea borrowed from the MOBA, admittedly, but there’s no harm in a little gentle pilfering. After all, DJs make their names and their money playing other people’s records. It’s only fair that we extend the same courtesy to developers seeking to push things forward.