Does the FPS Genre Lack Innovation? DICE General Manager Answers

Karl Magnus Troedsson, General Manager of DICE, the studio behind Battlefield 3, believes that gamers will lose interest in the first-person genre soon if strides in innovation and technological advancements are not made.

Recently, Edge asked Troedsson what he thought about the FPS genre and whether he thinks other developers are doing what it takes to keep the genre fresh and interesting.

“The FPS is a very hardcore genre, and the hardcore crowd of the FPS is probably bigger than some other genres,” elaborates Troedsson. “And that crowd has extremely high demands on what the games are and how they develop.”

He adds “if they don’t see some kind of new, if not revolutionary then at least evolutionary, step of rendering in every game they will start to lose interest. And I think that is what’s happening. Because a lot of franchises out there don’t take this seriously; to actually make sure that we don’t just challenge ourselves on the gameplay aspect, or perhaps some other area like distribution method, but also how it [feels], how it looks and how it sounds.”

Innovation seems to have been a big part of DICE’s plan to get a strong foothold in the FPS market as their latest project, Battlefield 3, was powered by the brand new Frostbite 2 engine which has been in the development for a number of years and was built to push the limits of current-gen hardware as well as to spearhead the next generation of gaming.

However, Troedsson explains, “DICE has a strong history, for good and for bad, of doing this. We constantly bash ourselves and say, ‘We could have done that better’. It might just be a rendering feature but in the end it adds up to the complete experience of what we’re doing.”

Other than technological advancements, the setting of a game has also always been a large determining factor when it comes to reviving or boosting the relevance of any game series or franchise. Take a look, for example, at Call of Duty’s jump to the modern setting with Call of Duty 4 and what it was able to achieve. One could wonder whether or not we would be seeing as many modern shooters being pumped out these days if it weren’t for CoD4’s success. But Troedsson warns that a change of scenery cannot always be so heavily relied upon:

“I think we’re going to start seeing people moving away from the modern setting, because every now and again settings or themes start to get stale and then everyone jumps over. Y’know, at some point dinosaurs are the hottest thing and everyone is making games with dinosaurs, but there are trends. It used to be WWII, and recently it’s been the modern era and people are now moving towards near future,” as what happens to be the case with the upcoming Call of Duty title, Black Ops II.

Troedsson continues, “but it’s a bit cheap to just say, ‘Okay, we’re going to switch and go back in time or into the future and that will be innovation’. It will definitely drive the franchise forward for whatever game, but it’s not true innovation, it’s more a thematic change that has a perceived value to the gamers out there. But as a developer you can only make so many games in one particular era, and then you personally start to get a bit bored with it.”

To conclude, Troedsson states, “I think it’s our responsibility as game developers to always push ourselves when it comes to the experience of games. To always make sure that when we put games in the hands of consumers that we are proud of what we’ve done. I’m not saying we’re going to build an FPS that will make you cry, or anything like that [laughs]. But we want people to be amazed when they look at our games. And I think this is more important than becoming number one in whatever way you look at it – though naturally part of that comes from a very high level of competitiveness here within DICE. We want to make the best game that we can, and we want that game to be the best one on the market. If gamers think that, then we’ve done our job. We’re not there yet, but we’re working on it.”

Do you think the FPS genre is beginning to show signs of age? Is a change of setting enough to breathe new life into the world of FPS, or do developers need to step up their game when it comes to technological advancements? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

  • I dont think it is getting stale but like Karl says it needs innovation. New engines are whats going to drive this genre and if you can’t keep up with the next gen then you are going to be left behind.

  • 123456

    “We want to make the best game that we can, and we want that game to be the best one on the market. If gamers think that, then we’ve done our job. We’re not there yet, but we’re working on it.” – My faith in DICE has been restored.

    • I Personally think its still the best FPS out in the market even with its flaws.

    • MasonMei

      Faith in DICE? Oh, nothing more aside of dinosaurs.

  • yeah but what did BF3 do to make itself different? suppression……….thats all i got

    • If you compare BF2 to BF3, there’s absolutely TONS of differences. The fact that it’s on a new engine on top of all the gameplay features is only the tip of the iceberg.

      • ….im talking about the genre not just the BF series -______-

        • Why would that matter though? We’re comparing how each title in the series has improved from the last one. It’s what this entire article is about.

      • asgaro

        And what gameplay features do you see as “new” then? I still think BF3 is the best shooter in recent years, but really: apart from the splendid game engine, there isn’t much innovation in gameplay compared to their older games…

    • PJ Kids

      Different from what? If you are comparing it to BC2 there are so many different things. If you are comparing it to any cod game you have no argument whatsoever.

      • no im talking about as a FPS not as a game in the BF series WHAT has BF3 done to make itself different? where did i say “how is BF3 different then BC2 or BF2”?

        • badtimesahead

          There isn’t a lot of FPS’s that have bullet ballistics and air/ground vehicles that can also be upgraded opposed to just weapon upgrades that the soldier carries. BF has also added a little higher level of realism with soldier movements, sounds, and destruction.

        • Its different because its not stale after hours and hours of gameplay, new moments happen and new tactics are learned. With all the gameplay BF3 has to offer, lots of possibilities are out for exploring.

          • Its different because its not stale after hours and hours of gameplay” maybe to you after a 100 hours i got tired of BF3 and started playing it weekly

    • asgaro

      Although I am a Battlefield fanboy, I have to agree with you. If you think about it: the huge discussion about BF3 feeling totally new and MW3 feeling old, is due to their respective game engines.
      But if you think about it: what things are new to BF3 gameplay related? They only introduced TDM and Gun Master. And shuffled the class mechanics a bit.
      What else is REALLY new compared to BF2? Not much eh…

      • DoYouReallyWant2Know?

        Exactly. Im still trying to fund good sniping spots in rock cracks and rrying to perfectly blend my camo like snake’s octosuit.

        • DoYouReallyWant2Know?

          Wrong post reply above. The mobile site of this website sux big yellow bananas.

    • DoYouReallyWant2Know?

      Vehicle unlocks. Scope glare to balance recon class. Change game dynamics by making suport have ammo and assailt have health. New engine that i can fairly say blows most other engines, even those not streamlined for fps, out of the water. And most important of all, replayabilty and diversity. When you play call of duty for example, you play on the same small maps and sadly do just about the same thing. Run, shoot, look for your next prey (and lag while doing so). Im sorry but if all youve noticed as a change i n bf3 is the suppression you either need to pick up the game and play it OR (this i highly recommend) dont be so ignorant of the truth.

  • The opening paragraph to this article really seems like a shot at Call of Duty in my opinion.

    • JJ Redick

      Yeah because they have made no inovation for 5 installments and all the inovations they have made have been shit

      • Well they haven’t made a jump to a new engine mid-console life like DICE/Epic Games/Crytek have. That’s what I was alluding to.

        • actually BO2 engine has been updated. and dont give other company’s credit for updating their engine when all they do is buy it from Epic games.

          • There’s a major difference in updated the same engine and upgrading an engine completely like DICE/Crytek/Epic Games have.

      • @TonetheBone925

        Uhh Zombies?

  • No_NAME

    Yea, innovation, BF3 should all kinds of innovation to the series; it introduced TDM, it introduced Operation Metro, and finally the Close Quarters maps that are straight up CoD clones…Good Job!

    • You don’t deserve a name

      Get over yourself, CODboy.

      • Actually everything BF has done so far has been to try and be like CoD. why do you think they are adding in Armored kill in after CQ.

        • Dick in ASS

          not really, they only added close quarters maps since the most popular map was metro

        • sparx

          it was to add variety, some players get bored of running insane distances to cap an objective, some want to go from the large battles into an infantry based fight, also with the private servers and 500% tickets, CQB has become a DICE sponsored boosting server.

        • did you notice that after close quarters was announced. CoD made face off maps are minuscule. i guess they’re like “we will hold the title for the smallest maps” lol

          • DoYouReallyWant2Know?

            Ha. Down to the final pixel

      • asgaro

        He has a point.
        Can you tell me some new gameplay elements that were not in BF2 or BFBC2? I would be glad to hear.
        I can also only think of: TDM, Gun Master, new class mechanics.

        • But me and you know that DICE has made BF3 feel more enhanced and smoother than BF2 and funner even though it has the same Modes etc.

          • asgaro

            That’s true, yes.

        • Roger Larsson

          When you have the basics – solders, weapons, vehicles, destruction
          – not all games have even that…
          The changes will not be revolutionary, but changes include
          * Suppression
          * Light related (flashlights, visible lasers, destructible lights)
          * Indoors environment
          * Scope glint/reflexes
          * Better audio
          * Graphics and gfx effects (particles, lightning)

        • Roger Larsson

          If you do not think lightning matters take a look at the Arma3 Night Ops showcase

          The remarkable thing is that Frostbite 2 does almost(?) have everything described there on current consoles!

          • asgaro

            Yes, I agree that graphics are important and provide an immersive experience. 🙂
            But I hope the next Battlefield titles don’t receive criticism like the CoD titles received. If DICE want to be ahead of the competition, their next titles should also introduce new game modes. Something more tactical than TDM and Gun Master. Something that encourages team play and squad play.
            I’m glad they are at the top regarding technology but I hope they realise refreshing gameplay is also important.

        • DoYouReallyWant2Know?

          Innovation doesnt mean get rid of the core concepts. If bf got rid of cq, rush, vehicles it wouldnt be bf. It would be a far better call of duty.

    • There would be a lot of people to argue that point. COD wasn’t the first title to focus on having close quarters combat.

  • sgt_mofo

    Look no further than the JRPG genre. During most of the PS1 and PS2 eras, there was nothing bigger. Once the Halo series began gracing consoles, there was quite a shift in the console gaming landscape towards FPS’s.

    The same thing could happen again. To what genre exactly I’m not sure, but I have concerns with both the Battlefield and Call of Duty series.

    CoD is coasting in neutral. Repeatedly I have said MW3 (excluding Elite) should have and could have just as easily been DLC for MW2. The engine is practically identical in terms of animation, functionality, and graphics. I think the user base is still holding out for BO2, but if it doesn’t deliver, I wouldn’t be surprised if MW4 gets released on this generation and ends up being a dud.

    BF3 had quite a number of innovations, albeit sacrificing the destruction aspect a bit. Still, the particle effects are great and in conjunction with the suppression mechanic, add a level of immersion not seen in many shooters (haven’t played KZ2 but I hear the always on first-person view is immersive). However, I would not put it past EA and Dice to have their next release for the next gen consoles be BF3: Something-something-hardcore-xtreme 2.0 edition. It would essentially be the PC version (more graphical bells and whistles), with a couple new maps and guns, and maybe the player cap being bumped up. Although that sounds pretty cool, paying full price for that doesn’t. I’ve played BF3 with varying degrees of frequency, but playing a game for a year (come Oct. I mean) and then paying $60 for an upgraded version of the game I’ve been playing for over a year doesn’t intrigue me whatsoever.

    For the 1st person genre, the AAA blockbuster will be:
    Halo 4
    (Dice’s next shooter which will likely be) BF3: something-something-double-my-ePeen)

    That’s a pretty bleak horizon. And don’t even pretend you’re buying Crysis 3 or the next Far Cry. Unless you have a PC, you’re not touching those games (sans a possible rental).

    The FPS goliath will become exposed. The question remains if a new genre will come in to be the new king in town.

    • have you done any research? the next BF is going to be bad company 3 unless they swithc directions and try to make BF 1943 come out first. WTF is up with MW4? who even knows if IW will be working on the nest cod with all the shit that has been going on.

      • gph456

        BF 1943 has come out already, I think you mean BF 1944

        • vinbusa91

          or BF 2143

      • sgt_mofo

        You’re right, I didn’t do any research. I’m just blindly throwing out predictions. After all, DICE has never, EVER done something like this before…

        …oh wait what’s this?

        Just because BC3 might be being worked on (all we have are resume listings so far), doesn’t make it a lock to be released next in line.

        Oh and how about this too:

        In particular: “”Yeah, I’ll be honest with you — Frostbite 2 was built for the next
        generation,” he said when quizzed on future consoles. “That’s how we
        started it. We had that in mind and we said, ‘We’re going to have to
        build something that can scale.'”

        So Frostbite 2 can be scaled up for next-gen consoles. Why not re-release a game that was already built on the engine?

        • It is already confirmed that the next cod(after bo2) will be made by sledgehammer.

      • you dont know this -_-

    • BingXD

      two souls is looking deep and innovative, as a next move i see open world games taking over the whole market soon not just open world rpgs but even massive world shooters where games go one for days like a real war that wld be epic (in my opinion) huge open world action games like that take almost a month to finish just bc of the case of traveling from one location to another but not only worlds we need to see new ideas with these worlds that arent just concreted around the main story but also as side activities that we can pursue no matter what they may be shit from digging a hole and planting a flower and coming back months (in game) later and it being a bush with hundreds of flowers that wld be an incredible thing to see in games i know we may need next gen for this yes graphics wld be amazing but i want more than just that i want to see the future of gaming like when i was a kid and every year we wld see something that wld just blow us away with goose bumps and shivers.

      • DoYouReallyWant2Know?

        So basically i get to creep up in yo house and murder ur family BUT NOT GET ARRESTED?

  • YepHa

    I would just like to see a comeback of shooters that focus on the core gameplay/ tactical shooters with current or next gen graphics luckye we are beginning to see something in the works for this from some small company’s that are trying to accomplish this with there games GroundBranch and Takedown. shooter games that don’t focus so heavily on the Hollywood action, xp,level system,unlock system,perks,High tech and all that stuff, to me that would be refreshing.

    • Maybe if you got your head out of your ass you could finds some like arma 3.

      • YepHa

        I know about Arma,I don’t have a gaming pc you idiot, Also I am not talking about that I would like to see a simulator game, thats what Arma is. The two games I am talking about yes do want some realism but they are still not aiming for a simulator game, it is still there own type of shooter. I am saying I would like to see some more old school tactical inspirit games with less focus on all the stuff most games is having now a days. But that is where Groundbranch but specially Takedown comes into the picture, seeing as Takedown at this point is the only one also releasing on Console…

  • YepHa

    I just like to see more company’s going back to the core value that the old games had, like some smaller company’s are trying to do at the moment, with the games Groundbranch and Takedown…

  • JustinD

    An awesome change for a next gen game I think would be a set theme for a map but say buildings and there locations are random at the start of every map and change around

    • Roger Larsson

      Won’t happen with current consoles
      – severe memory limitation…
      Could be handled using a server that holds whole state
      – severe allowed network bandwidth limitation…

      But lets imagine it for a moment. What would you need?
      – Dynamic lightning
      – Destruction (a random static environment would not match)
      – Dynamic sound rendering engine (outdoors is not enough, should sound different depending on distances and angles of nearby walls)

      Frostbite 3?

      But would a ‘random’ map be as good as a carefully constructed map? I am not sure…

      • JustinD

        That’s why it says next gen. Carefully constructed maps are ok… They are not realistic everything lines up completely random and new lines of sight everytime is what is needed

        • Roger Larsson

          Oh, I read “for a next gen game” like BF4. 🙂

          Some of this effect can be archived by simply randomize ‘loose’ objects – parked cars/buses/construction equipment. Maybe even letting players move things around…

  • Mike

    I went back to Bad Co. 2 and now I dont have to worry about being spawn trapped nor spawn killed anymore! Should have done this ALOT sooner. Ok now thats off my chest.. Yes the FPS scene is getting stale but some games are fine in my book.

    • Guest

      Well… Ah, I want to say you’re right, but I can’t help but think of Atacama Desert and the “Spawn Trapping” faced against the helicopters.

      • Circle strafing helicopters w flares FTW!
        I played BC2 and realize how painstakingly frustrating taking a chopper out without a real missile guidance system in place.

  • Cred

    Call of duty sucks ass. Black ops was ok but mw3 is a complete joke.

    • ha, it’s so funny. This time, last year everybody called black ops shit and mw2 brilliant. This time next year everyone will hate Black ops and love mw3, so funny , hypocrites

      • BingXD

        i think its more of them just saying that the last one was better than the next mw3<bo<mw2<mw1 sry if i missed one i dont like cod games except mw1

      • MasonMei

        Hypocrite my ass. Do you know the setup of different Refrence systems? At first people thought BO is worse than MW2. Then after the crappy MW3 is released, BO got much much better compared to it.
        Ok take this as example. You once tasted a drink which was sweet. The you ate a sweeter candy. When you tasted the drink once more it was not sweet at all. Are you a hypocrite now? LMFAO your words
        Oh right, theres a mistake. It’s everyone will hate Blac Ops 2 and love MW3 (which is not gonna happen)

  • shadman

    im going to be happy when the call of duty frenchaise completley goes and shuts down then well all can focas on better games then people just sweating over 1 fukin game every fukin day

    • Guest

      I know I’m going to get shit for this, but I mean, I’m hoping that Call of Duty does continue on: Leave that type of “Gamer” where it cannot harm excellent games such as Battlefield 3 or Assassin’s Creed.

  • Hol_Up

    “I think we’re going to start seeing people moving away from the modern
    setting, because every now and again settings or themes start to get
    stale and then everyone jumps over. Y’know, at some point dinosaurs are
    the hottest thing and everyone is making games with dinosaurs, but there
    are trends. It used to be WWII, and recently it’s been the modern era
    and people are now moving towards near future”

    Battlefield 2143 confirmed

    • Glock Lover

      No…. he was talking about Black Ops 2

      • Hol_Up

        So you think DICE won’t make a 2142 remake in the near future?

    • DoYouReallyWant2Know?

      People play games as well as other rec activities (excersize,masturbation, youtube,etc) to escape reality. We were very fond with ww2 and hitler’s army and how the world was saved. As we progress as a civilization we yearn for the future are something not of true reality. We are a species of wants. We want to see the near future like watch dogs or even the far future so we may immerse ourselves and maybe even relate back to the present. Video games translate that natural desire into an artform which we are also attracted to.

  • The fps community are full of cunts. Everybody whines about every last thing, look at other genres and the way their communities handle themselves.

  • IamLegend

    You will always have those people that just complain, cause they can. People want “innovation” and “new shiit”. But trust me, ask one of those people/children/kids/noobs what they expect to get they will say “Better graphics, and new stuff yeaa” cause people have no idea what to expect, Innovation? Revolution? all that bullcrap is way to overrated these days. Call of Duty is made to be fast, easy play, lone wolf. Battlefield is made for big maps, teamwork, classes. It’s what we expect from the game and what we WANT from the game when we play it.

    The only thing in this world is that people want more, and more and more…but they actually don’t know what they really want. I think if you love call of duty, you enjoy the new game you get each year, doesn’t really matter what setting…but just something refreshing and a new setting will just do fine for the next comming 12 months. After that you want some new items, perks, maps and you will be happy again.

    Trust me, once we get the “Innovation” we always asked for we get a total new COD EXPERIENCE, and you know what peoples reactions will be?? “WTF #!@$ this is not COD!! this is a bullshit game! Going back to MW3…wtf wasted money!” that is what we will get. Just because people are being dumb enough to ask for stuff they have no clue about.

    The future will bring us new consoles, virtual gaming and shit…but that will still take some years. until then….Enjoy the time in COD and BF and other amazing FPS games. In 10 years you can look back and say; “That were some awesome FPS games, classics.”

    Over and out.

    • KillrateOmega

      You nailed it right on the head. You introduce too much change, people complain. You don’t introduce enough change, people complain. It’s a problem without a universal solution.

  • Stef Man

    And then the Matrix was created to fulfil the needs of all the nerdy gamer geeks of the world!

  • word

    atleast i can say i enjoy playing battlefield and def do not enjoy getting buzz kills on COD!!!

  • Tirtel

    I think he should have said something he thinks it is like – bf3 is fuc*ing great cause it is fuc*ing original and got new maps except of those in dlc, and cod sucks cause it is not made by DICE TROLOLOLOLOLO

    • DoYouReallyWant2Know?

      L. Do it right and stop spamming rubbish. Fool.

      • Tirtel

        my comment is still better than your nickname.

  • First person shooters tap into a primal desire of video games: The ability to control one single person, through their eyes, and BE that person for a while.

    First person shooters will die when people dislike being other people. In other words, never.

    (Though, of course, the genre where the BIG MONEY goes can change with the blowing wind, so if the point of the article is that the most popular genre will eventually change, I agree with that.)

    • DoYouReallyWant2Know?


  • DoYouReallyWant2Know?

    Is a banana yellow?

    • It was until you stuck it up your bloody vag

      • DoYouReallyWant2Know?

        Lets stay on topic now mister.

  • roland0811

    The same thing happened with the fighting genre in the 90s. SF2 and Mortal Kombat brought it to the forefront and then it blew up and the market was oversaturated for the rest of the decade.
    I haven’t played any truly innovative shooters in a LONG time. I think the most enternaining one’s I’ve played were Frontlines:Fuel of War and Enemy Territory:Quake Wars. Nothing super innovative but the most fun I’ve had in the FPS genre in a while. At least they were balanced and new what they were.
    BF3 is decent fun but nothing in it really blew me away.

  • dsd

    the best article ever, never could have said it better

  • dsd

    the only game that really made the cut in terms of innovation and radical rendering was the first crysis

  • dsd

    I have yet to see something better than crysis

  • dsd

    it seems EA, DICE, TREYARCH all have lost direction, we gamers want to see gpu and cpu chewing graphics and way better sound and texture in fps and even car games, make them as complex as GTR2 but with better sound

  • dsd

    they=developers need a revolutionary engine change, stop using and enhancing unreal engine