Sunday Meditation: Can Gamers Get War Weary?
America has been at war for a very long time.
The people are tired, the soldiers are tired, countless people are dead, and popular culture is moving on. The shine of heroic coalition forces decked out in their best new gear raiding desert terrorist strongholds has come off.
It's normal for the country and the world to get war weary, it's just a part of the package. But is it affecting gaming now? Are gamers war weary? Can and does this common human experience extend into the gaming sphere?
While there have been a few pretenders along the way the headliners like Call of Duty, Battlefield, Bad Company and Medal of Honor (to some extent) tend to bring in the money from a market that wants to be closer to real war experiences. The big sci fi games like Halo, Killzone, and Crysis are in a different milieu with their own science fiction worlds and fans. Those worlds are about to get some challengers because of a war weary public that will cause a change in those traditionally military driven shooters. I believe this is so because the military based games are starting to push into the territories of other FPS.
The money that goes into Call of Duty and Battlefield is immense, they are tailored for as many people as possible. The publishers probably hold numerous control group studies which are telling them that straight up war isn't enough. The evidence is right there in the games. Call of Duty has needed to push the limits of real technology into sci fi territory. Battlefield: Hardline isn't even related to war, it's cops and crooks in the city. You could call that a certain kind of war but it is clearly a risky endeavor to find an alternative to the endless sand strafing in the Middle East.
That makes me wonder what this generation will bring with FPS if the reign of military FPS does come to an end. Will concerns turn toward home as in Hardline, will sci fi be the way forward for mainstreamers? Personally I'd like to see more attempts at unique experiences, maybe something to rival what Bioshock did, but Call of Duty is going to lead the way no matter what. If the gaming public is actually war weary then we could really see some big changes in the next few years.
One excellent example of change is Wolfenstein: The New Order, it's a straight up shooter mostly, just like games of the past. It feels like those kinds of experiences are needed these days more than ever. I'd invest in a Bulletstorm 2 if I could. I think this war weary condition is an opportunity to redefine what kind of entertainment we like as we close out a generation of real life war.
There will always be people and creatures to shoot dead, where and how we do it is probably undergoing a big change right in front of our faces. What do you think?
6/28/2014 David D. Nelson