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The Shooter Formula

2 posts in this topic

Hi everyone,

I haven't posted much for a long time, but I felt like I had something to say.
You can see it as a reply to AJ's video "Battlefield V Delayed! - Will it Help EA?".
And see it as a review of the events revolving around Battlefield V's delay.


Currently on the market we see Fortnite being the strongest game in shooter history.

It is only clear that other shooter developers want to get the formula right and be as successful as Fortnite.

The "why" is quite simple actually:
EA thinks there is the amount of players on the market Fortnite has.
They look at their own player numbers and think "we have this number of players, but we COULD have THAT number players".
So it is only natural for them to try and adapt.

Important to note is also that Call of Duty (CoD) is also very popular and was always outselling Battlefield.


Both games can be considered "main stream", but are actually very different.


What EA seems to have been trying with Battlefield V was to become more like both.
They want to copy the battle royale thing from Fortnite and use the gameplay of Call of Duty.
And that sounds like a great idea, because it clearly is the battle royale mechanic that made Fortnite strong,
and Call of Duty doesn't have any qualities but its gameplay, so it must be that, right?


But that thought pattern is too simplistic.


Fortnite isn't strong because it is battle royale per-se.
And nobody should be playing CoD at this point.


Let me dismantle CoD real quick so we can move on:
CoD doesn't have any features left than the gameplay it always had.
They are at a point where they just re-skin their old games.
CoD sells because the customers are used to buying it.

(look at Madden and FIFA - developer does nothing at all, ppl still buy)


So EA thinks they have to copy a game that is actually not representative of good game design
but instead makes its profit solely for a non-design related reason.

But EA wants Battlefield to be as profitable as Call of Duty, so they must mimic it, right?
It can only improve!



In the past Battlefield has been criticized a lot by their fans for having too much downtime and way too difficult gun play.

But this is where the actual problem starts.
Because that stuff was never a problem.

The actual problem of Battlefield now is that it is now less like Fortnite than it was in Battlefield 3 and here is why:

Fortnite isn't anywhere near being like Call of Duty.

Fortnite does the same thing as Battlefield 3 when it comes to the following word: TENSION

Because Fortnite has just as much downtime as Battlefield 3 had!!
In Fortnite you first have downtime when parachuting off the bus, then you often have downtime collecting stuff and then you have downtime when travelling.

In Battlefield you have downtime spawning at the home base, then you have downtime taking the first objectives then you have downtime travelling to the combat zones.

And what both games have in common is tension:

Both Battlefield 3 and Fortnite put the player in the situation that at any given point in time, in any place you may be in, you may get jumped on, or find an enemy you better jump on yourself.
If you find an enemy, you have to think up a plan to either kill them without a real fight, or fight them so your chances to win are higher than theirs.
Or maybe there is an enemy right around the corner mirroring the same thing? You better have you finger on the trigger!

Both games create an incredible amount of tension DUE TO THE DOWNTIME.


The more downtime you have, the higher the tension.

Of yourse you can get bored, if you KNOW nobody is around,
or if the combat is not intriguing enough (but both games do that fairly well), especially in close combat you can compare the two very well to a point.

But why didn't take Battlefield 3 take off like Fortnite did?

Well there are some reasons I can think off:


First off the already mentioned loss of tension when you KNOW nobody is around:
If the map is designed so that you can tell that there can't be an enemy, you will feel relaxed and carefree,
which is not what you want if your game is supposed to create tension by keeping the players on their toes.
In Fortnite there is always this chance that someone just arrived and runs into the house you're in to loot something,
or they spotted you first because you let down your guard, so you better be on guard, which creates tension.


Battlefield is forgiving when it comes to dying.
You wait for a couple seconds and get right back in.
While in Fortnite if you die, it's game over.
That means where Fortnite creates tension - "I don't want to die or the match is over for me",
Battlefield trivializes it - "Meh, if I die, I can just respawn."
Meaning Battlefield creates less tension than Fortnite here and that is already a big reason in itself.


The next problem Battlefield has is the spawning itself.

In Fortnite every player jumps off a bus and is unable to fight until they land, making sure players can decide on their fate, by regulating the risk themselves and giving them control over the situation they will find themselves in once they landed and are able to fight.

Battlefield has people just pop in randomly in one of a couple of pre-defined spawning locations, which can be camped.
Also vehicles have a history of spawning in a way so that an enemy can camp their spawn.

For example some Battlefield 4 maps had helicopters spawn in locations that let enemies shoot them on spawn with a tank shell (and tank shells are one-hit kills on helicopters and that's justified in every other scenario)

And here again the ability to control your fate in Fortnite, but having other players just have a LITTLE say in it, creates tension,
while in Battlefield you're left to the frustration of being spawn-camped very often.


Gameplay breaking bugs, especially in Battlefield 4, also ruin tension and have frustration take its place.
(for example emptying the magazine of an LMG at an enemy and having not a single bullet hit them but the wall behind them, because of de-sync and package-loss)

Fortnite on the other hand seems to be outstandingly well polished.

And there are other examples of polishing being partly a reason why a game is successful.

For example Overwatch is another highly successful shooter, that may be valid for various criticism that is now taking its toll, but you could never criticize it for not being polished.

Polished games feel better and therefore amplify the feelings a player has while playing the game.
An immersion and tension based game would feel way more immersive and tense if there was not a single hint that the player is just running a piece of software.


To sum it up:
It's not the battle royale game mode, it's what the game mode does to the game.
It creates tension through down-times on vast maps you can't really explore in one match alone.
It keeps you on your toes because an enemy could be around every corner, hill or tree or hide in a bush.
It amplifies the tension through proper polishing and gameplay.
And keeps their players entertained through a strong cosmetic library with a rather fair business model. (EA is not known for fair business practices OR proper cosmetics)


All of this in my opinion influences the market to the shape it is in today.


And that means the flop of Battlefield V we have learned of recently was to be expected, because Battlefield V went into the complete opposite direction.

Latest Battlefield games decreased the map sizes, removing the tension generating downtime,
made the gameplay more CoD-like and less Fortnite-like, making encounters less fair and skill based,
were under attack because of their shady business practices, frustrating the players,
and rather blindly copy a feature, than analyzing its properties and adapting to it.

Shagger likes this

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... and then there is Broketober.


And Broketober is just putting the entire player base before a choice.
"You have to choose one game, which one will it be?"

And the company that has been under severe attack by the player base that is now choosing which game to buy,
just outright copies a game without knowing why it is popular,
alienates their community for the sake of getting a share of another game's cake,
now wonders why Battlefield V doesn't sell.


And here also comes the "unrealistic with females in WW2" discussion in:

It's just more fuel to the fire that burns the game.

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