Charles Cox, founder of 4Gency and developer on projects like SOCOM, SWAT and MAG, has come out swinging against what stands as one of the most popular and problematic genres in the world of gaming: first person shooters.
Cox explains on his personal blog that developers at major companies are essentially being forced by the almighty dollar to create FPS titles. That forced development has actually handicapped the potential of the gaming industry.
He then goes on to talk about working with developers who had children. These devs of violent shooters had to protect their children from seeing the projects they worked on on a daily basis, and Cox totally nails what sucks about that situation:
“I don’t know how I’d have the courage to do what it took to protect my child from the visible, media-ready horrors we know plague us as humanity every second – and the more insidious, invisible ones like my industry friends experience every day: the fact that deep down inside, we love to shoot people on these giant screens and watch them fall into the dirt…”
It all boils down to this, from Cox:
We are ready to do better, and I’m prepared to do my part. No more first-person shooters will come from me.
I’ve said it. Have I destroyed my career?
All of that bluster is really indicative of the gaming space as it stands today. I don’t think Cox is an outlying rebel speaking against a horde of angry FPS fans. For me, and for a lot of gamers and gaming writers, Cox represents a direction we’d love the industry to shift towards.
FPS titles are fun, I’m not even going to suggest that they should be wiped out of the genre. However, as Cox correctly indicates, they are doing a disservice to the potential of the gaming industry. Developers could be making so many more diverse titles, and gamers could be enjoying so much more than Call of Duty wannabe number 32.
There’s room to grow, folks. There are more games to play. Now that Cox has taken a stand with “I will never work on a first-person shooter game, ever again. Period.,” maybe other veterans will follow suit. Here’s hoping they do.