The new shooters

Shooters are one of the oldest game genres, but that does not stop them from continuing to dominate sales. This is mainly due to the fact that shooting games know how to renew their gaming experience. Here are three examples.

Shooters are one of the oldest game genres, but that does not stop them from continuing to dominate sales. This is mainly due to the fact that around game mechanics very simple and accessible to all, shooting games know how to renew their gaming experience. Here are three examples.


Superhot (Superhot Team - Steam, PS4, Xbox One)

Released in 2016, this solo game is built around a very innovative concept: opponents, projectiles and thrown objects freeze when the player stops moving. This allows the latter to take the time to analyze the situation before performing an action and restart the course of time. Superhot offers a Matrix-like cinematic gaming experience.

But above all, this game incorporates a tactical dimension absent from most FPS: Anticipation. Bullets are rare, you must anticipate the position of your opponent before opening fire. The player must also anticipate the position of the enemy projectiles to better avoid them. The various levels of the game are so many puzzles that require more thought than reflex.

This concept ticks all the boxes of good innovation: Immediate understanding of the mechanism, instantaneous pleasure, diversity of the level design and innovative artistic dimension.


Vigor (Bohemia interactive - Xbox One)

The developers of Arma and DayZ games have inaugurated with Vigor a subgenre they call shoot-and-loot. Classic in appearance, this game offers a unique gaming experience. I had the chance to contribute as game and level design consultant on the game before and during the early access phase. Vigor has been available in freemium since the summer of 2019. It already has over 3.4 million players and 40,000 players every day.

In this multiplayer game, 8 to 12 players find themselves in vast outdoor environments. Their goal is simple: Recover as much loot as possible before fleeing a radioactive cloud that covers the map after about ten minutes. This loot includes components essential to the development of the player but also ammunition and weapons more or less rare. The real danger comes from other players who do not hesitate to eliminate you to recover your loot or just not to get killed by you. When a player dies, he loses everything: his loot and his armament.

This leads to an intense gaming experience because we play in the fear of losing everything we found at the risk of his life. Consequently. Most players play very differently from other shooting games because they try to avoid the fight rather than rush. Vigor is perhaps one of the shooter games that best emulates the anxiety of "real" combat.


Spellbreak (Proletariat Inc - Epic Store)

This game has long been accessible through closed beta, and it is possible to play now by buying a founder pack.

Spellbreak is a royal battle game, which is not very original. But what differentiates it from other games belonging to this genre is the exclusive use of magic to face his opponents. Replacing traditional weapons with spells is not trivial. While the former are content to throw projectiles at opponents, spells can offer an almost limitless number of effects, whether offensive or defensive.

In addition, spells can be combined with each other. Thus, one can start by creating a tornado, then make it even more deadly by throwing a fireball. Finally, runes are hidden in the map and offer important tactical bonuses such as temporary invisibility.

But what makes this game so different from its competitors is that it makes less use of shooting precision than the tactical sense of the players.

Those who knew me at the beginning of my career in the video game industry, 25 years ago, may remember the first game concept I proposed to publishers, Magica Arte. His theme? Battles between magicians in multiplayer arenas.


My previous blog entries on game design issues:

Mario Kart Tour: Gameplay: 1 - Onboarding: 0

Is there life after Fortnite? An emerging trend in game design brings novelty

Quantitative design - How to define XP thresholds?  FEATURED BLOG


Pascal Luban

Creative director & game designer, freelance

24+ years of experience serving studios and publishers

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