DICE Exec: Military Shooter Market Isn't Oversaturated

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DICE Exec: Military Shooter Market Isn't Oversaturated

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DICE executive producer Patrick Bach thinks that the new kid on the block is now sci-fi.

The "Spunk Gargle Wee Wee" sub-genre of FPS (AKA: Modern Military Shooters - MMS) is a genre that most people would believe to be more oversaturated that an average Instagram photo. Genre fatigue was pretty much the leading cause of death for the most recent Medal of Honor reboot. But DICE executive producer Patrick Bach thinks that we could actually do with a few more MMSs - as long as they can still do something with the genre. "There are not that many [military shooters] out there, to be honest," he told IGN, adding that in his opinion, sci-fi is the new kid on the block.

"Is it [over-saturated]? Today? Really? A couple years ago, I would agree," said Bach, when asked how DICE planned to combat the trend of increasingly sterile MMSs, "But now people are moving away from that genre. We're staying because we have more to do in that genre. And I think if you have a great game, it's a great game. Period. It doesn't mean you have to have the hypest or the coolest new stuff."

So where are all these MMS developers moving to? "Now, sci-fi is the s**t," claims Bach, "Everyone is doing sci-fi. It takes a year, then it's over-saturated because everyone is doing it and then everyone will move onto something else." His point is pretty apt, considering Respawn Entertainment, headed by the guys who created Call of Duty, are now making a sci-fi game.

"I think great franchises stay where they think they should stay. You see Halo being sci-fi for many, many years, and now everyone else is doing sci-fi. So now it's like, 'well, now it's boring because everyone else is doing it.'" In other words, you can stop holding your breath for a sequel to Battlefield: 2142 any time soon.

Source: IGN

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*cough cough*

hahaha hahha ahghhah heee

*wipes tears*

*pats him on the head* We don't need more CoD or BF's. We need more games like half-life.

It isn't just oversaturated. It's so oversaturated that it's OVERFLOWING INTO OTHER GENRES. For crap's sake people, Spec Ops: The Line, Bioshock and even Metal Gear already tore down modern military shooters so stop bloody making them! It's simple economics: the more of a certain type of product there is, the less value every product of that type is worth, at least to consumers. Remeber how hard Warfighter flopped? People are obviously crying out for something different, so for everyone's sake, enough with the CoD clones. I'm not saying you can't have first person gameplay, but try something outside the box, or at least include interesting features.

Why is it that AAA game developers can at least put themselves in the shoes of ordinary gamers to see the situation.

But then again the only thing they see is $$$$$$$$!!!!

But if they're smart, they won't try chasing Halo's coat-tails, because that would be tragic and dumb.

He does have a bit of a point. Not too long ago, everyone was bitching about there being too many WW2 shooters, and Mr. Spunkgargleweewee himself gave a rather glowing review of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

Right now, it looks like everyone is moving over to Borderlands-likes. I know everyone likes to point and laugh at DICE, but that doesn't preclude them from having a point now and then.

If you look right now, then maybe he's right. There's two big MMS' and on the other side practically every shooter at E3 this year was some variation on sci-fi.

But if you look even so far back as last year, then yep MMS saturation

Metro: Last Light, Borderlands 2, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, Sanctum 2, Crysis 3, Halo 4, Dead Space 3, Gears Of War: Judgment, arguably even BioShock: Infinite and probably more. All are sci-fi shooters that saw release in the last year or so. All look, sound, play and generally feel different from each other.

The good thing about sci-fi is that it includes the word 'fiction'. Meaning you can make things up. Anything you want, no matter how outlandish, so lang as it is vaguely sciency. The only way for the sci-fi shooter market to become oversaturated is if everybody starts approaching sci-fi the same way.

He does have a point though. There are still things that could be done with the genre, but so far everybody has been content trying to one-up CoD. And somehow I don't think DICE will be the ones to bring about the great change.

I'm actually sick of seeing any more MMSes like CoD or Battlefield style shooters. Come on, make something different already!

Well, he's getting his paycheck tonight...

I see what he's saying, but when we say "modern military shooter" we really mean "Iron Sighted Multiplayer Based Frostbite Engine Game". It's a terminology issue really, modern military shooters are taking the same mechanics into a more si-fi setting, which makes it gameplay-wise the same game but not really "modern military" anymore.

He does kind of have a point actually. I was prepared to call this guy an idiot, but the more I think about it, the more we've been getting generic sci-fi, or worse, generic Sci-Fi with some spunkgargleweewee elements thrown in. Anyone remember Mindjack?

Does spunkgargleweewee have any rational explanation or did Yahtzee make up some random bs?

This has less to do with the article as a whole, but I just want to say this: can we actually put an end to the "Spunk Gargle Wee Wee" joke?

It wasn't really funny way back when, and it certainly wasn't funny when it was parroted around as if it were an actual, serious term. Here it just seems ridiculous, mainly because, unless you're a fan of the site, it's a joke that doesn't make any sense. True, people who visit get it, but this is presumably something that is meant to help bring in more of an audience as well as catering to the current one.

Anyways, onto the main topic...

He both does and doesn't have a point. On the one hand, if we are going by this E3 alone, then there indeed appears to be a greater shift to Sci-Fi. I think only two MMSs were shown. The difference though, as someone pointed out, is that the current offerings of Sc-Fi can distance themselves enough that it may not be a big deal, while several MMSs of late have looked very samey (however, back on his point, I will admit that some of the Sci-Fi designs seem too similar, and that if I was shown only some stills that it may take me a bit to identify)

At this point though I find myself in quite a dilemma, because while I definitely don't play MMSs unless it's at my friend's place and I'm getting tired of them myself, I don't see the need to get so worked up about them as other people are whenever these stories come up

"Oversaturated" is a sort of subjective term. That is, there's no one number that makes a market oversaturated. There is a point where there's more product than interest. Judging by the sales of most MMS, it's safe to say the market is oversaturated. Maybe not as oversaturated as a couple years ago, but it is still oversaturated.

Hell, DICE is owned by EA, isn't it? EA themselves are the ones most commenting on how their MMS aren't reaching sales expectations. Why is that? Are they just all bad? Does that include DICE's previous offerings? Is this a confession that DICE just can't be bothered to make good games?

I think we could half the MMS field and still be oversaturated, in part because there's little demand for anything with out "Call" "of" and "Duty" in the title. Even Battlefield is, at best, a distant second. And even if they are second best (sales-wise), that doesn't mean the market isn't crowded to the point of borderline failure.

EDIT: Failure outside of those titles, that is. I seriously doubt CoD or Battlefield will actually FAIL any time soon. Maybe Battlefield will fail in EA's eyes, because they seem to think that it's COD or bust.

The problem isn't so much that military shooters are over saturated... it's neo-Cold War gone hot, NATO vs Russia/China/Iran/Badguyistan that is oversaturated.

There are so many conflicts that haven't been explored over the late 19th or 20th century that this focus seems more like desperate micro-armour wargamers still playing Fulda Gap games.

Eternal_Lament:
This has less to do with the article as a whole, but I just want to say this: can we actually put an end to the "Spunk Gargle Wee Wee" joke?

I'm beginning to wonder if it's a joke or just the Escapist trying to cash in on an incredibly forced fad. Most of the community dropped it like a week after the fact.

There's a lot more you can do with Sci-fi than modern.

RatherDull:
There's a lot more you can do with Sci-fi than modern.

A very good point, a MMS usually ends up like COD or BF but Scifi you can get Mass Effect and Borderlands (although ME was mostly meant to be with RPG with guns)

OutsiderEX:
The problem isn't so much that military shooters are over saturated... it's neo-Cold War gone hot, NATO vs Russia/China/Iran/Badguyistan that is oversaturated.

There are so many conflicts that haven't been explored other the late 19th or 20th century that this focus seems more like desperate micro-armour wargamers still playing Fulda Gap game.s

I would go a step further and say that it's not for the sake of conflict we know, it's for the sake of ideologies. America is under the ideology that It can intervine for the rest of the world but is so overly prideful that it fails to understand even basic differences between cultures and is under the delusion that "democracy" and "capitalism" are the ultimate ends of the world. It does seem kind of pathetic that we focus on the concept of America and NATO as the virtuous paragons of justice that can do no wrong in the world. Need I remind people of our lack of intervention in Rwanda despite our "support" of human rights, our intrusion into the Vietnam conflict when we may not have been needed, the Iranian revolution which we started by replacing the ruler with one who was only there to ensure American economic interests, or Nicaragua in which we provided funds to a group of drug dealers and rapists to take down a government that, while not entirely good, was making strides for the people?

How about a game made deliberately to satirize this feeling of ignorance and hubris; the basic structure is that America keeps going down its path and becomes a deluded empire almost like the British back then spreading the ideals of "democracy" and "freedom" through force without respect for other cultures or ideologies. We have the leaders be major war advocates, like a exaggerated version of Oliver North, with a group of businessmen controlling the delusion for their gain. A group of nations decide to form a counter union of nations to combat the American army though guerrilla tactics. It would be an interesting game, showing how inefficient large scale war is nowadays as well as demonstrating how a lot of the international community views the both overly political and overly economic engagements that they make . (yes, I know this game would be really heavy handed but sometimes, the hammer needs to fall and the American people needs to have their "M'erica" pride destroyed)

RatherDull:
There's a lot more you can do with Sci-fi than modern.

agreed but I would argue that a lot of developers aren't willing to change their gun design. I point to Titanfall; the weapons used by the titans themselves are unique with a magnetic redirect shield and arc cannons but the foot soldier weapons themselves seem like reskins or slight modifications of current mms weapons. The assault rifle is basically a SCAR with a different scope and the only significant weapon redesign I saw was the rocket launcher which was clip-based, carried like a assault rifle and with smaller rockets than normal 21th century launchers. This is a game world that has enough technology for warp engines, space travel, and mecha. Why hasen't the technology for infantry weapons changed from our current ones?

BrotherRool:
If you look right now, then maybe he's right. There's two big MMS' and on the other side practically every shooter at E3 this year was some variation on sci-fi.

The one doesn't mean it can't be the other.
Black Ops 2, for example, is both!

PEOPLE ARE

moving away from that genre

BECAUSE IT'S OVER-SATURATED!

There, I pointed out the indelible, glaring lapse in brain functionality colloquially known as 'recognition of cause and effect'.

Perhaps a few years from now people 'will have moved' from the genre, and not be in the present process of 'moving'. THEN it won't be over saturated. Anymore!

ALSO SCI-FI AS WELL AS MILITARY ARE NARRATIVE GENRES, SHOOTERS ARE A GENRE OF GAMEPLAY, NONE OF THE THREE ARE MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE.

I LIKE YELLING.

sometimes

DICE, you're great and all...

... But there's a reason I like Mirror's Edge more than anything else you've done, and more than any other military shooter on the market.

Yes, Indeed! How about publishing Six Days In Fallujah, dear DICE ???????

In other words, the genre's not oversaturated, it's just saturated. World of difference.

The difference is stuff happens in sci fi from time to time, modern shooters haven't done much of anything particularly interesting in their existence.

Yep sci-fi is the biz you say... so what happened to Prey 2?

Well... um.. *Snicker* I... *Bursts out laughing*

Oh yes. It's barely saturated. Nothing wrong here. No sir. Nu-uh.

In a related story, Frito Lays exec says "potato chips have not over-saturated the snack food market."

Bust most of these "sci-fi" games are just MMS games with a very, very thin coat of "pretty soon in the future". If 90% of the weapons in a game are still guns that shoot regular bullets, your game isn't very sci-fi.

Also... maybe I'm not paying attention, but how many sci-fi games are we REALLY getting here? Why can't I think of any? Besides the shitty star trek game, what sci-fi game have we got this year so far?

AC10:
Bust most of these "sci-fi" games are just MMS games with a very, very thin coat of "pretty soon in the future". If 90% of the weapons in a game are still guns that shoot regular bullets, your game isn't very sci-fi.

Thanks to a very basic physical law, shooting bullets will actually NEVER go out of fashion.
Heck, even in HALO (you know, 2552 onwards), they still use bullets.

AC10:
Also... maybe I'm not paying attention, but how many sci-fi games are we REALLY getting here? Why can't I think of any? Besides the shitty star trek game, what sci-fi game have we got this year so far?

If we say "one year" as "past 12 months" while only using first- and third-person shooter, it is:
Defiance, Halo, Star Trek, Black Ops 2, Sanctum 2 (partially, as it is primarely a first-person tower defense), Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon, ShootMania Storm,...

Just to name a few.

Bindal:

AC10:
Bust most of these "sci-fi" games are just MMS games with a very, very thin coat of "pretty soon in the future". If 90% of the weapons in a game are still guns that shoot regular bullets, your game isn't very sci-fi.

Thanks to a very basic physical law, shooting bullets will actually NEVER go out of fashion.
Heck, even in HALO (you know, 2552 onwards), they still use bullets.

Yeah, but in Halo you also have plasma and laser-based weapons that are in roughly equal quantity.

OT: Okay, let's just say for a moment that the market isn't oversaturated. Why are people moving away from it then?
Did people really like Black Ops 2 that much?

Xpwn3ntial:

Bindal:

AC10:
Bust most of these "sci-fi" games are just MMS games with a very, very thin coat of "pretty soon in the future". If 90% of the weapons in a game are still guns that shoot regular bullets, your game isn't very sci-fi.

Thanks to a very basic physical law, shooting bullets will actually NEVER go out of fashion.
Heck, even in HALO (you know, 2552 onwards), they still use bullets.

Yeah, but in Halo you also have plasma and laser-based weapons that are in roughly equal quantity.

Actually, there is about three to four times as many ballistic weapons than there are laser weapons. Halo 4 racked that up somewhat, but until Reach, you could count the amount of Laser and Plasma weapons at one hand.

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