Battlefield 3 dev says modern FPS setting getting "stale"

DICE's general manager calls out the next FPS trend as near-future

DICE general manager Karl Magnus Troedsson believes first-person shooters need to do more to innovate. Before Modern Warfare hit the scene the big time period in first-person shooters was World War II, but these days players can't get enough of fictionalized versions of current conflicts. Troedsson called out the modern setting as one way FPS developers have been resting on their laurels.

"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," Troedsson told Edge Online. "You 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."

"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," he added.

Troedsson said that developers need to push themselves, technically and thematically.

"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," he said.

"We want people to be amazed when they look at our games. 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."

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Latest comments (16)

Terence Gage Freelance writer 7 years ago
Interesting how he's saying this a few months after Black Ops II's near-future setting is revealed. Of course, DICE effectively were there first with BF2142 just like they had games in the modern era before COD did with Battlefield 2 and Modern Combat, but if BF4 is set 30 years in the future, say, it really is going to look like they're just following the COD series.
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More importantly, what does it mean to innovate the FPS genre. I'm not sure where else it can go beyond FPS?
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Keldon Alleyne Strategic Keyboard Basher, Avasopht Development7 years ago
More importantly, what does it mean to innovate the FPS genre. I'm not sure where else it can go beyond FPS?
Well, that's where innovation comes in.
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Dan Howdle Head of Content, Existent7 years ago
It's a sad prediction, but DICE will most likeley do whatever COD does. Like I say, sad, because some very talented people work at DICE and I'd really like to see them taking the Battlefield series either in a completely new direction or remaining stoic in becoming the best modern military shooter series out there, through real innovation, and a big fat Vs-up to COD.

Sorry COD, we were in love once, but now it feels like we've been married forty years.
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Harrison Smith Studying Games and Graphics Programming, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology7 years ago
I am playing Mount and Blade Napoleonic wars expansion, and its so fun shooting with weapons with horrible accuracy therefore teaming up with other players to better the chances, and the bayonet charges. So how about going further back to the 1800-1920 periods instead of near future which most of the Modern war shooters are set in anyways.
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Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve7 years ago
I would really like to see that as well, but you only have to look at the trend of the CoD franchise to see how it constantly moves towards faster action and more focused maps. The massive step back in pace to the era of the 17th/18th/19th century conflicts may appeal to some such as you and I, but probably not to the "core" audience, or at least that's the conclusion you can expect from the boards at EA/Activision-Blizzard.
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I am not sure if the word Innovate is a Euphemism for, new setting with new toys.
VR battlefield or a full scale MOUT with 200-300 players would be awesome. perhaps you get a chance to turn enemy at any point ranging from military, police, civilian.
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Hugo Trepanier Senior Game Designer, Ludia7 years ago
Innovation in this sector should come from focusing less on the shooting part and offering a better diversity of player and environment interactions. Choices and consequences should become increasingly important in the storytelling aspect but ideally they should also impact gameplay.

Also, not everyone in a FPS game should be a soldier. Mixing roles and abilities within a single game session would be interesting, and by this I mean going way beyond simply choosing a sniper or assault class.

For instance, imagine a game where there's a typical war around you being waged by real players and you are the unarmed civilian trying to survive and deliver a secret message to the resistance... This civilian would have the ability to hide and interact with the environment in ways not available to the soldier players, creating two totally different experiences for both players.
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Hugo Dubs Interactive Designer 7 years ago
Soldier to Soldier was the first step, then including vehicles was a great thing as it drasticaly changed the gameplay. It think this kind of innovation would be better than a change in era.

Speaking about dinosaurs, implementing external dangers to the FPS gameplay would be a great idea. Like fighting in the middle of dangerous T-Rex. Or in the same field, the sand storm event in Gears of War 3 was a pretty cool idea too.

Another idea would be to seek more into the general and soldier aspect of the game. One Wii game that I don't remember the name is implementing a general feature where a player is able to see everything and dispatch objectives to his squads. This would be great to play battlefield and receive unique objectives to make your team win the match.
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Hugo Trepanier Senior Game Designer, Ludia7 years ago
Hugo, Battlefield 2 on PC already had the functionality you describe. One player could be the Commander of his team, with abilities to call UAV, artillery strikes and drop supplies, plus give specific goals to squad leaders who could then relay the commands to their squad members.

Not sure why this was dropped from subsequent entries in the series though but it was certainly an interesting twist. The trouble was that almost no one got to be commander (only 1 per team) and also a team with a crappy commander would almost certainly lose against a competent one.

see screenshot
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Hugo Dubs Interactive Designer 7 years ago
Didn't know about BF2, I didn't play this one (my mistake).

It may be subject to retail and innovation but it seems to be pretty cool
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 7 years ago
What is the alternative having just as much mainstream appeal? Call of Duty: Mordor Warfare? Wizards and bowmen as skin replacements for guys with AKs? Or is it laser pistols instead of 9mm?

Nobody having fun emptying whole clips of ammo into other dudes wants to see imprecise guns with half a minute reloading time.

First you also need a replacement for the American patriotism card which is played so heavily when marketing those modern military shooters. That is where the best Sci-Fi and medieval setting will crash and burn miserably.
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Mats Holm Battlefront Producer, Electronic Arts7 years ago
They could always go WW1 warfare. Landships and pickelhaube. New enemies, the Ottomans, new arenas of war, like Africa and Samoa.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 7 years ago
It's 2012 now. Only tow decades ago, people would have assumed a contemporary 2012 setting to take place on Mars, or at least the moon. My bets are more on evolution instead of revolution. Crysis is a good example. Familiar modern military shooter, with a slight Sci-Fi/Alien twist. Worked wonders for Avatar, did not so good for Battleship, which is why I do not expect all series to convert at once.
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Battle field Los Angeles perhaps? Join the ranks of alien bashing?
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Paul Gheran Scrum Master 7 years ago
+1 Hugo Trepanier

For a lot of those reasons and other interesting variations on play, BF 2142 was the best iteration (after 1942).
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