Skip to main content

Carmack Addresses "Creativity" Issue of FPS Market

Looks as though id Software's John Carmack has noticed that the genre he helped establish – the first-person shooter – is currently saturated with squad-based military titles. But he's also apparently annoyed with developers and critics who think that there's no creativity in producing those very same military shooters.

IndustryGamers reports that it recently asked the famed programmer if the genre has hit a wall regarding innovation, only to receive a "more annoyed tone" with Carmack's overall feelings on the matter – that certain developers and critics have gotten "snooty" when it comes to creativity in the FPS genre.

"That’s one of the things - I’m actually happy RAGE is a little bit different in terms of feeling and tone," he said. "It’s not just, 'Here’s your squad mates.' But that’s still a proven formula that people like, and it’s a mistake to [discount that]. As long as people are buying it, it means they’re enjoying it. If they buy the next Call of Duty, it’s because they loved the last one and they want more of it."

Essentially, if people are still buying it, then there's nothing wrong with developing another squad-based military shooter. But this is where many developers and critics seemingly have an issue with the genre in its current state: there's not enough creativity, not enough originality.

"So I am pretty down on people who take the sort of creative auteurs' perspective," he added. "It's like 'Oh, we’re not being creative.' But we're creating value for people - that’s our job! It’s not to do something that nobody’s ever seen before. It’s to do something that people love so much they’re willing to give us money for. So I do get pretty down on people that - you see some of the indie developers that really take a snooty attitude about this. It’s almost as if it’s popular, it’s not good. And that’s just not true."

He went on to admit that he expected third-person to be the more popular genre simply because it offers more of a visual field, especially when Gears of War stormed on the Xbox 360. He also expected the viewpoint to allow developers to do things in games that haven't been done before. But ultimately the oneness players get from the first-person perspective, the total immersion, has seemingly kept the genre at the forefront.

And despite the saturation of military shooters flooding the genre, he gives Call of Duty a thumbs up.

"I’ve actually been really happy seeing the success of Call of Duty, which is also a 60 fps game, which would validate some of my [thinking]," he said. "That was one of our big arguments internally as we were stressing over that, like, ‘Y’know, I think some of the success of Call of Duty is because of how good it feels.' But seeing the huge success of that, it has been great to see it swing back towards people really seeing the advantages of first person perspective, the immersion that you get in the game - that you may be watching a kick ass movie in the third person view, but you’re in the kick ass movie with first person. But there will forever be first-person shooters and third-person shooters and all of that. They’re stable genres that will continue to be polished and improved forever after."

id Software is expected to wrap up its post-apocalyptic first-person shooter, RAGE, within the next few months. RAGE is slated to hit the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC on October 4, 2011.