First Person Window Dressing

One of the most popular genres of videogame when it comes to multiplayer gaming is the first-person shooter (FPS). But have you ever noticed that all of the different character "skins" available to select from in your favorite game are just cosmetic? You can be the alien, the woman in heels, the balding fat guy, or the Marine. It doesn't matter because they're all the same.

Why can't there actually be a short set of advantages and disadvantages associated with the different characters you choose from? Think about it. Everyone logs in to the game and picks a character based solely on outward appearance. And of all the genres to do this, it makes the least sense in an FPS -- you never even see your own character so what difference does it make!

There is no excuse for this. Even back in the days of the original Nintendo system, people knew that Luigi wasn't just a green-clad clone of Mario, but that he jumped higher. Why not bring this to FPS games? It would be so easy too. Give a speed boost to one character, but slighly more gun shake. For another, make him jump higher but take away his ability to crouch. Another might be extremely small and able to hide, but can't use overly powerful weaponry. Perhaps another character has twice as much health but can only hold one weapon. Another has massive amounts of armor but can only use handguns or melee attacks.

Isn't it at least worth having as an option the Host can select when creating the server? It would certainly add some variety to a multiplayer genre that is growing increasingly stale.


Mory said...

Didn't Metroid Prime: Hunters do just that?

Doug Walsh said...

Hmmm... I wouldn't know. I'm talking about real FPS multiplayer games, though. Games like Unreal, or Half-Life, or Fear, or Halo. Besides, even if it did, that's just an example from a handheld console (and for a game I'm not really sure qualifies as a true FPS, but I don't want to open the whole "what genre is Metroid Prime" conversation).

Regardless, more should do it I think.

Mory said...

My understanding is that Metroid Prime: Hunters is a FPS, unlike its console parents. A multiplayer FPS at that. And it's got a whole bunch of bounty hunters to play (in multiplayer online), each with unique abilities.