So proclaimed a member of the 360 team earlier today, in a fit of overworked pique, while preparing a piece on Modern Warfare 2. What transpired was a fascinating, if heated, ahem… ‘discussion’ on the development of that special corner of shooters reserved for playing with others.
One argument followed the line that, inescapably, shooters on console are, and always will be, eternally hampered by their control scheme. No amount of apologies in the form of perk lists, vehicles or complex team-based games will replace the basic, underlying fact that trying to control first-person movement with a little stick and buttons lacks the kind of precision and accuracy required to stick a rail through somebody’s eye, mid-jump, from half a mile away. And that precision and accuracy is made available, of course, by a killer mouse and keyboard combo.
“But!” remarked somebody else, “Shooters now, on console or otherwise, are so developed and different from your aged PC Quake Arena-based twitch gaming that they don’t just have to resemble that kind of game anymore. For whatever reason Halo was designed as a slower-paced, slightly more tactical experience, the important thing is that actually happened, and this many years down the line, it and those that followed it have become very different animals in their own right, with all kinds of new styles of expertise and dynamism. Simply saying ‘You needs a mouse with that, mate’ is a lazy and trite argument, not to mention a ludicrously sweeping statement.”
What do you think? Do you think the rise of consoles has sullied the venerable history of the multiplayer FPS, or do you think the genre has outgrown the early disadvantages of the console port to bloom into a more mature and multi-limbed beast of a thing?