You hear it all the time. “ANOTHER SHOOTER?! God, developers are running out of ideas.” Complain, complain, but the main reason big named devs still make shooters is because you lousy consumers keep buying them. That and the game is cool, but save that for later. Right now we are in a crisis. A creative crisis. Shooters, whether they be first-person or third-person, all look the same. Sure each game has their own story and characters and whatnot, but they all have one thing in common: KILL, KILL, KILL! That’s not to say violence in your games is wrong, but all shooters have the same gameplay premise of kill enemy to reach goal. So boring. How about we change it up and liven the popular genre up a bit? The following are minor suggestions, though please add your own if you have an interesting take you want to add.
1) Shoot something other than bullets
Killing the enemy with sprays of lead is always the go-to mechanic in shooters. How about something different? Follow Portal‘s example, though the transporting through space ability is already taken. How about a gun with the Wabbajack effect, or gun that shoots only bad lyrics from a terrible song? A gun that is powered through sadness and converts negative emotion into nice ones. A gun that causes spontaneous combustion to anything that starts with the letter “R” (not with bullets). I don’t know just make it something different.
2) Setting takes place somewhere non-apocalyptic/wastelandic
Nothing says “Yeah, we ran out of ideas” like setting your shooter in an apocalyptic/trashy wasteland setting. Also don’t name the place Wasteland. Two games already have that name and they both share the same characteristics as the other: a basic wasteland. Set the game somewhere unconventional. Urban neighborhood? Out of the question. The sea and the sky are interesting locations, but taken. How about in a movie? No, really. I mean literally in a movie. The locations of movies vary from film to film and there will always be something different to accomplish as a game. May as well go meta since that is in nowadays.
Why is it always my job to save the world when shit hits the fan? Why can’t someone else do the dirty work for a change? How about I stand behind the main badass and follow his suicidal commands for once? I’m even content with being the lame escort getting the main into trouble in the most inconvenient way possible. Come on, let me be a lame escort just once.
4) Have the enemies be something other than people/monsters/aliens/evil creatures/robots/zombies
Oh, no. What’s left if the player can’t shoot what they’ve always shot in other shooters? Time to be creative and start brainstorming.
Optional: Make the game a text adventure
Nothing is more scary than shooting something you can’t see, but to have a game be completely text based is even more stressful. The game doesn’t have to use the “Take/Use/Inventory” commands, even a simple multiple choice would suffice. This won’t appeal to everyone, but hey it’s different.
Well it looks like I run out of ideas. Form your own in the comments section while I collect my thoughts.