You know Tripwire, right? Killing Floor, Red Orchestra, shooty murder-death? They’re a studio founded by modders, build on the first-person shooters of the ‘90s. And they don’t like what Call of Duty has done in the last decade to change the expectations of their audience.
“I’m really discouraged by the current state of multiplayer shooters,” Tripwire president John Gibson told PC Gamer. “I think that, and I hate to mention names, because it sounds like ‘I’m just jealous of their success,’ but I’m really, I feel like Call of Duty has almost ruined a generation of FPS players.”
When Tripwire were developing Red Orchestra 2’s Action Mode, Gibson gathered together a group of “hardcore” Call of Duty players in an attempt to create something “accessible enough for them to enjoy the game”.
“We iterated on it a lot,” he said. “And just listening to all the niggling, pedantic things that they would complain about, that made them not want to play the game, I just thought, ‘I give up. Call of Duty has ruined this whole generation of gamers’.”
Testers complained about gradual acceleration in player movement, and the extra 0.02 or so seconds it took to raise ironsights. “Almost every element boiled down to ‘it doesn’t feel like Call of Duty’,” said Gibson.
But Gibson doesn’t want to make Call of Duty – a series which he believes limits its own potential depth by compressing its “skill gap” to the point of randomness.
“The skill gap is so compressed, that it’s like a slot machine. You might as well just sit down at a slot machine and have a thing that pops up an says ‘I got a kill!’,” said Gibson.
“They’ve taken individual skill out of the equation so much. So you see these guys—I see it all the time, they come in to play Red Orchestra, and they’re like ‘This game’s just too hardcore. I’m awesome at Call of Duty, so there’s something wrong with your game. Because I’m not successful at playing this game, so it must suck. I’m not the problem, it’s your game’.
Sometimes, Gibson concedes, it is the fault of the game: “Sometimes we screw up, sometimes we design something that’s not accessible enough, they can’t figure it out, we didn’t give them enough information to figure out where to go.
“But more often than not, it’s because Call of Duty compressed their skill gap so much that these guys never needed to get good at a shooter. They never needed to get good at their twitch skills with a mouse.”
There’s fighting talk. But if you’re a riled up Call of Duty player, you’ll struggle to find a common game with Gibson to settle the matter in.
Do you think Tripwire have a point?