It would be trite to expand on the artistic differences of Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3. It would be banal (devoid of originality) to exclaim that these two games have different economic roots, one being the financial king, the other reaching out it’s hand in attempt to collect greater market share. It would be commonplace to soliloquize on the engineering of engines, their age, and attempt to explain the difference between their mathematical properties. Unless we are game designers ourselves, we fall victim to having the only thing left in our arsenal of gaming discourse – and this is: our opinion.
We are the First Person Shooters. As a group, laymen call us ‘gamers’, a term that throws us into the general category, or genre, of video games. But First Person Shooter fans are as a specific a group as those who play MMOs. In relation to virtually-social tendencies, our intense desire for ‘fast paced’ and competitive gameplay make us either a ‘friend or foe’ in the virtual world. ( Utilize the word ‘fast paced’ to your own relative amount, for there is no need to disagree on the value of fast paced - as one might deem Halo to be more quick or less than, let’s say, Unreal Tournament).
Ask anyone who doesn't play FPS games what their largest deterrent is and they might chime, “I’m just not good at it” or “it’s too frustrating for me”. This competitive landscape might be only one aspect, of many, that determine the gravitational pull towards these type of games, but there is no argument on the validity that ‘virtual competition’ heightens the desire to play multiplayer FPS's online. (If disagreement on this point exists within you, consider the repercussions if we were to take away the ranking system that is inherent to online gameplay. How many would continue their FPS multiplayer journey)?
In many ways, players play FPS games for enjoyment, but the psychology of enjoyment grows as we mature. One day, many of us reading this article might lower the frequency with which they play games. ( Perhaps children, starting a company, or various other goals might inhibit our frequency of play). But the point remains: Our enjoyment is correlated by that which we have been conditioned to accept as the ‘status quo’.
For this reason the analysis of Battlefield 3 has been more of a comparison to it’s competitor. BF3 fell to the ‘analysis table’ of continual comparison to the ‘status quo’ – that being MW3. But with time passing by, and enough attempts, however, many were changing their bias and opening their eyes to the sophisticated difference that existed between the style of the two games. With enough time – and time was necessary to change the bias, (for if not, the fear to leave the status quo remains )– gamers could truly see a difference in quality, technique, and tactics. The demographics of many who play Battlefield 3 are older – and thus, a particular conclusion that could be reached is that those who play it are more mature. But it is often an interesting parallel to make regarding these types of games and the types of people who play them. To have a fair opinion, one must devote considerable time – an even amount – to both games. Many opinions exist without full consideration, or analysis, of both options.
Modern Warfare 3 gave fans exactly the same equation that had existed for 5 years. There would seem to be no plausible reason to evolve a game engine that, we’d be damned, still generated profit with the same FPS equation. Why change a methodology that, historically, gave considerable results – especially high monetary results? For such profits to be reaped and almost guaranteed, no sane developer would consider the expense needed for an evolutionary upgrade to their game. If such an occurrence were to happen, it would be, on the part of the developer, for altruistic reasons only.
Our eyes see what we continually perceive to be true. We stay with the same game and continue to gain ‘FPS comfort’ from our hardened, concrete vision. This illusion that any game creates – especially for a genre as powerful as FPS – would entice anyone and more importantly, bias them to a comfort- leveled demand for the ‘status quo’. In other words, that which we are continually used to, we find difficulty criticizing or critiquing. The Modern Warfare psychology was not unsophisticated so much as it was blatantly original – and thus, too a point, mundane. Long time FPS fans were ready for something new. They were ready to evolve, (even if their preferred engine would not). And so, many FPS fans (not necessarily Call of Duty fans, but just FPS fans in general), left to eat a different meal –obtain a different taste.
Humans age, and so do our concepts, our intellectual capacity, our goals, our initiatives, our creativity. With time, many who sought the FPS energy that had been created by the Modern Warfare franchise were becoming bored with the ‘taste’ of the continual meal. If Modern Warfare was the lobster dinner, fans were now ready for Filet Mignon. The Darwinian battle between these animals [BF3/MW3] created an ecosystem where, if anything, FPS games of the future will continue to evolve towards our desires.
As of 2012, it is incomprehensible to leave BF3 without true credit or consideration. Battlefield 3 must be rewarded for being the game that has been the most adaptable. And only those neglecting a full investigation of this fact will, unfortunately, fail to see the vision of that paradigm.
If Modern Warfare was checkers, fans have shown they are now ready for chess.
Big Shiny Robot reader, First Person Shooter, Technology Product Vendor Employee, and twenty-something Connecticut resident, HotfireXG, provided the preceeding article and welcomes all feedback in the comments below!