Splash DamageBlogCommunity Question: Preferred Period of History

Splash Damage Blog

Community Question: Preferred Period of History

Community, over the years we've created multiplayer worlds set in all manner of time periods. We've visited World War II (Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory), near-future scenarios of several sorts (Brink, Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars), and even flung ourselves into super-futuristic settings (DOOM 3). With so much variety, what we'd like to know from you this week is this:

What period of history is your favourite backdrop for multiplayer shooters?

Do you crave modern combat? Are pew pew laser more your thing? Do you want just a tiny sprinkling of The Future? Cast your vote in this week's poll and do let us know in the comments why your chosen setting ticks all the right boxes for you.

58 Comments

I think any shooter set in the past has been ludicrously overdone, I'd say distant but not too far future.
Posted on 15 June, 2012 - 17:04
I think every period in history (past/present/future) has been done to death. Personally, I'd go for Cold War (that 50s setting looks like the only good thing in the XCOM FPS).
Posted on 15 June, 2012 - 17:25
I've said it before and I've said it again: Make worlds clash. Literally best of both worlds, as long as you keep them separate in factions they won't turn into soupy chaos, instead you have even more extreme asymmetry. Quake Wars was so great in that it pitted near future technology against far more advanced tech. You can do the same with pitting modern tech against completely fantastical QIII tech. As to answer the question, I like very very near future. Technology level TED is enough for me and enough to allow for interesting gameplay mechanics. For WO you need Indiana Jones stretches of reality to be interesting which is also great.
Posted on 15 June, 2012 - 17:27
Cool question :) Dont really have a favourite. A lot of it would depend on whether the fighting mechanics of the game, needs to reflect the period.
Posted on 15 June, 2012 - 17:30
Far-future = everything is possible, everything is permitted :D
Posted on 15 June, 2012 - 17:44
I prefer modern combat, I don't mind delving into the future if the weapons aren't overly ridiculous. I don't mind WW shooters but it's my 1st choice of period.
Posted on 15 June, 2012 - 17:45
Far-future gets my vote. WW2 has been done to death. So have Zombies. Zombies and WW2 doubly worse. I'll take Zombies in the future please.
Posted on 15 June, 2012 - 17:52
I went with Near-Future mostly because once anything 'far future' is concerned, everything has 6 layers of silver or metallic on it and it's nauseating. The time period and story of Brink intrigues me the most, followed closely by the Strogg assimilation. So Near Future it is (although I had the most fun overall in ET).
Posted on 15 June, 2012 - 18:50
Abvious answer, WW2 will win here because mos forum creepers here (including me) are ex-WolfET. Maybe some of this questions should go to a more etherogeneous public.
Posted on 15 June, 2012 - 19:04
World at War 2 Because it is interesting, dark, cagey, gory time theme. Think how the single-player could be, your war buddy gets shoot in the face, so awfully regrettable.
Posted on 15 June, 2012 - 19:04
Interesting question. In my opinion it depends on the gameplay. WW2 is nice as it offers a lot of variety shooting wise. You have got powerful single shot snipers, semi automatic rifles like the garand / k43, full auto with mp40 and thompson and bigger machine guns and explosive weapons. Modern warfare on the other hand is quite boring as every weapon is essentially the same and the garand / k43 equivalents are lost. Far future is nice because it allows all kinds of ridiculous gameplay like rocket jumping in quake, surfing in tribes or the flight mechanics in ETQW and basically any kind of weapon mechanic as well. For me it's a tie between WW2 and far future. :)
Posted on 15 June, 2012 - 19:13
I voted "other". Simply because it depends on the game. Wolf:ET is my all time favorite gameplay- & fun-wise, but I got countless hours worth of being remembered from the Quake Wars Beta. Brink I didn't like. Not because of the period of history, but because gameplay was boring and monotonous, the levels looked and felt all the same.
Posted on 15 June, 2012 - 19:24
Any period really as long as the game is fun. I kind of liked the sci-fi and occult elements that are present in the Wolfenstein franchise and would like to see more that, imagine an ET:QW style game with experimental weapons and vehicles set during WW2.
Posted on 15 June, 2012 - 20:00
I don't really have much of a preference on the period. As long as the guns shoot realistically, are balanced and the game mechanics are sound I couldn't care less if I am using a musket or a BFG3000. I think a mix of near future/modern day with futuristic is good because it gives us something we are all familiar with and gives dev's and designers scope to be creative. ET:QW as others have mentioned did this very well.
Posted on 15 June, 2012 - 20:59
Sleek Far Future with post-apocalyptic or Pre-WW2 crossed with fantasy or retro future tech.
Posted on 16 June, 2012 - 00:54
WW2, Nazis ftw :P
Posted on 16 June, 2012 - 03:24
I prefer ones where i can have a real connection with, an event I can relate to, so either present day or in the past. WW2 is the best because so many documentaries and films etc are done about it and we all have had some connection with it. I like the idea of combining eras of weapons like in one of my previous posts, have an fps set now and base it on citizens revolting against totalitarian governments with citizens using weapons from pre modern era such as cold war, vietnam, ww2 & ww1 which they have scavenged and the governments using modern weapons. ET Revolutions:)
Posted on 16 June, 2012 - 12:53
WW2 no doubt. I have tried other games but keep returning to those games, specially for the multiplayer. + WW2 theme although is quite violent makes older gamers as younger gamers interest in the game. When I saw Brink and it's cartoon style graphics I did not even give it a try as that atmosphere said nothing to me and felt a bit for kiddies, thats the problem with sci fi and futuristic games, most of them feel like games for 14 year olds.
Posted on 16 June, 2012 - 17:36
It's not the period what makes you like the game. Oh wait, did I said sth wrong? The old Enemy Territory had the genuine feeling of its "story's" times. If you feel the game is internally coherent, there should be no real difference which period you've picked. Off course when asked we can answer - but it's not about the periods, it's all about how good were the games that took "place" in given times of human kind history. So, the question should be rather - which period is mostly underestimated? And it is a hard question... but not for us, who prefer ET-like games, not mainstream COD or other no-fun-but-killing-everything-and-unlocking-new-bull****-items-or-buying-DLC games, that just feels void. The ET, especially ET:QW style of teamplay is the selling point, and - to the point - any period you'll fill with an amazing game will be the favorite one for masses. :stroggtapir: Have a good day!
Posted on 16 June, 2012 - 22:09
[SIZE=4]WW II 1944 April, preferably on a Thursday around dinner time.[/SIZE] i cant be more accurate than that. reason : normal nice looking houses, with normal doors windows. i like my kiiling to be done with a nice backdrop that i can actually relate to. ww2 with a qw type structure ie deployables. with the possibility of vehicles. they dont have to be inserted into all levels. abosolutley no middle east or jungle.
Posted on 16 June, 2012 - 22:52
It's not the period what makes you like the game. Oh wait, did I said sth wrong?
They never asked what time period makes you like the game, they just asked what time period you prefer. It's not exactly a complicated question...
Posted on 17 June, 2012 - 01:14
Anything not strictly bound to history could do :)
Posted on 17 June, 2012 - 14:20
Bullets are definitely my thing, I'm not a big fan of lasers. With that said, I'm open to pretty much any time period.....but more so than a time period, I'm looking for originality in the setting and the story being told. If that can be done during WWII, great! If you need to create a brand new universe, not a problem!
Posted on 17 June, 2012 - 14:53
Cold War, the soviets had such crazy tech. Would be great to see a shooter in the present where the soviets prevailed with some of their crazy tech ideas. (Just don' t make the mistakes Homefront made). Or maybe go the ETQW route, only with the Rage ip. It has quite the potential.
Posted on 17 June, 2012 - 16:28
Near Future is awesome, couse we can positione our selfs well on the game and have the "new goodies" of the future. Far future just trow your day-by-day on the trash bin. The transition life->game and game->life does not works well.
Posted on 17 June, 2012 - 16:59
Very difficult question. I think I would go with near future, but in all honesty a game can work equally well in every time period. I like ETQW (near future), I like Tribes (far future), but historic games like W:ET are also fine. Just not modern, or you'll get inevitable CoD/BF comparisons which you simply can't win, even if the game is actually better.
Posted on 18 June, 2012 - 12:19
As reported before: any time zone will do. A good story can be in any time. My suggestion: 2 litres of beer, 1 of vodka and see what the writers do after that amount of alcohol. :penguin: They have the advantage that they can 'play' with the time. I'm going to give some examples There was this one game (I don't remember it's name, I read it in some magazine) where you had some 'time machine'. The game let you go to some time zones (like WWII) but you had modern (2020 or something) weapons with you (what explained why you were a super soldier). Some other games (like metro2033 & resistance & even brink) have some disaster scenario and you play in (more or less current/modern) time, but some weapons & parts of the world are different. They can use 'best of both': use the stuff that people like in the current world, but with new weapons or new environments or ...
Posted on 18 June, 2012 - 13:39
There was this one game (I don't remember it's name, I read it in some magazine) where you had some 'time machine'. The game let you go to some time zones (like WWII) but you had modern (2020 or something) weapons with you (what explained why you were a super soldier).
Sounds like Timesplitters :)
Posted on 18 June, 2012 - 14:24
i think he means "Darkest of Days" i wouldnt mind the old strogg jumpin through the slipgate to 1944 but then thats a case of been there done that, more of a mod.
Posted on 18 June, 2012 - 16:58
Any period, really, as long as it`s fun. Near-future warfare that ARMA3 devs are pushing looks really interesting, not unlike GDF in ETQW.
Posted on 18 June, 2012 - 18:00
v[];402023'][SIZE=4]WW II 1944 April, preferably on a Thursday around dinner time.[/SIZE] i cant be more accurate than that.
Sure you can. What region / time zone?
Posted on 18 June, 2012 - 18:48
I voted near future, because this frees the developers to include technologies that make game-play fun...that might be discarded as "unrealistic" (e.g., strogg-spawn hosts) if it were a more realistic setting such as WWII. ET was fantastic though. But so was ETQW!
Posted on 19 June, 2012 - 12:14
World War II definitely.
Posted on 19 June, 2012 - 23:01
Voted: WWII Talking about purely engagement here although I may stray a little hither and thither. :) Perhaps it's because I find reading about the period enjoyable anyway but I just find WWII provides so many familiar references and materials that it is an excellent backdrop to a conflict. But yes to asymmetric play. WII has unexplored angles and near-alternate realities that could be explored.
Posted on 20 June, 2012 - 19:51
WWII has the advantage of really specific classes and really elaborate (side)missions. Between ET, ETQW and Brink; ET had by far the most dynamic and malleable maps due to this. In this setting you can lower the emphasis on the main objective and raise the importance of all the side objectives so that winning the map becomes a sum of stacked up mini-missions that grossly determine the outcome of the main objective. You can still have the parts in the map where both teams tend to converge on but outside of that it could just be a really fun mess of everyone having their own agenda.
Posted on 20 June, 2012 - 21:03
I said other. Time period doesn't matter to me. What matters is that the weapons are balanced, fun, and there aren't too many gimmick weapons/gadgets. For example scopes that let you see through walls, gadgets that let you spot other players, etc. Blech. For this reason I think WWII through Korean War technology is usually the best but it doesn't really matter to me. This doesn't mean I haven't enjoyed games with those gimmicks, I just don't prefer it. Honestly, if a dev wants a get out of jail free card, then put the game as a parallel civilization in a distant galaxy. You can pick any level of technology and write the history any way you want. Hell, you could even start with old tech and evolve the story over 200 years if the series took off, progressing the gameplay as you wanted (like BF I guess). Then nobody could argue that your M-16 model is missing a flange on the doohickey so it's not accurate. You could even make your species reproduce asexually and avoid the problem of female models and corresponding threads all together. It might be worth it, just for that.
Posted on 21 June, 2012 - 06:10
I recently played Quake4 for the first time and I liked the futuristic details of pretty every structure very much. Can't wait to see a ETQW2 in a +/- 20 year later situation having battles on earth and going out of earths atmosphere to infiltrate and do objectives that will self destruct the Strogg ships. I rather prefer dirty. scratched, heavily damaged and the abandoned look then going back in time. Going the futuristic way gives designers en developers so much more freedom and options to do experimenteel things that one ever done before instead of trying to achieve something from the past which forces the makers to make something which is already been done hundreds of times already. Doesn't mean it has be laser canons coming from every GDF weapon but a short usage 20.000 volt teaser vs the Strogg agressors lightning gun would be nice :infiltrator:
Posted on 21 June, 2012 - 12:19
You could even make your species reproduce asexually and avoid the problem of female models and corresponding threads all together. It might be worth it, just for that.
lol, that's good forward thinking xD
Posted on 21 June, 2012 - 12:56
So when are we going to find out the name of this new pc game? *cough*
Posted on 21 June, 2012 - 16:40
Secession war
Posted on 22 June, 2012 - 12:42
I picked far-future, but only because I feel that if you take a game and set it hundreds/thousands of years in the future you have no boundaries to what is possible. No one knows what technology will be there, so for all we know bunnyhopping and strafejumping is a legit way to move around and we can carry 10 weapons and just magically hide them in our pockets. Everything is allowed in the far future scenario and hardly anyone will question it. Too many developers pick "near-future" for their games and that really restricts how crazy you can be. Crazy, if done right, is the most fun you can have in gaming.
Posted on 22 June, 2012 - 21:23
I picked far-future, but only because I feel that if you take a game and set it hundreds/thousands of years in the future you have no boundaries to what is possible. No one knows what technology will be there, so for all we know bunnyhopping and strafejumping is a legit way to move around and we can carry 10 weapons and just magically hide them in our pockets. Everything is allowed in the far future scenario and hardly anyone will question it. Too many developers pick "near-future" for their games and that really restricts how crazy you can be. Crazy, if done right, is the most fun you can have in gaming.
You could set the game in an alternate universe with no gravity and quantum singularity pockets and it wouldn't make a console gamer climb a learning curve steeper than a "push correct button, get cheese" experiment for which there would be only one button but 1000's of types of cheese. :)
Posted on 22 June, 2012 - 22:52
Historical period doesn't matter much to me. I notice it when a game is new, and I appreciate the effort when done well, but I quickly forget about it to focus on a game's mechanics. There's a lot of nice attention to history in Wolf:ET, but it's a long time since WWII came to mind when I play it. I'm more interested in the ideological basis behind the conflict, but there's not often a sharp enough contrast for me. Killing Nazis is fun, but I'm not thrilled to be doing it in the name of the Allies, who I have plenty of ideological issues with as well. Ditto the "anti-terrorist" genre. I'd like to see an unambiguous clash of beliefs in a game, with no hypocrisy from either side. That might stay with me and keep me excited while clicking stuff. Then again, team-based multiplayer means playing both sides, so it might as well just be red-versus-blue. :)
Posted on 24 June, 2012 - 05:03
I agree. I actually think an enemy being "evil" is quite important. Nazis, Strogg, Helghast etc. They have this dark, inhuman image about them. At best the terrorist henchmen in games like CoD come across as nameless generic targets and at worst some comedic stereotype, there is just little to engage in. This is worse so when you create a future where the people are even less related to something the player understands. I wonder what Brink would have been like if the Security forces were actually some alternate reality future Nazis and in was set on the moon. :) I'm not sure if this is just my personal opinion or there is some wider logic to having that clear 'good vs evil' dichotomy rather than 'good vs good but maybe one is naughtier than the other, you decide' type deal.
Posted on 24 June, 2012 - 13:35
I liked how the humour in the vsays offset the whole good vs evil thing, in etqw. I hope SD does that with their next game.
Posted on 24 June, 2012 - 17:21
I'm more interested in the ideological basis behind the conflict, but there's not often a sharp enough contrast for me. Killing Nazis is fun, but I'm not thrilled to be doing it in the name of the Allies, who I have plenty of ideological issues with as well. Ditto the "anti-terrorist" genre. I'd like to see an unambiguous clash of beliefs in a game, with no hypocrisy from either side. That might stay with me and keep me excited while clicking stuff.
I don't like the "Us vs. Them" universes. It seems cartoonish to me, regardless of whether it's about The West/America versus Nazis, terrorists or aliens. Seems like a shortcut to story telling that doesn't tell anything about either side. Fascism vs. communism, order vs. anarchy, biology vs. technology or similar are far more interesting yet clearly delineated factions that don't reduce to us versus the other. However, the thing I like least about WW2 and Modern is that the setting is usually a repeat of what's been done countless times before. Same props, architecture, color palette and ballistic weapons.
Posted on 24 June, 2012 - 17:30
I actually think an enemy being "evil" is quite important.
Interesting. Does this make it harder/easier to pick a team in multiplayer, or does the motivation/ideology of the teams not matter to you in that context?
Posted on 25 June, 2012 - 11:33
No, for me this is purely an aspect of immersion, using established conventions to define the sides just lets you get into the game without the need for a huge backstory to be told (or needing to care about the back story). When it comes to MP team selection I'm more concerned with the actual game being balanced and fun than role playing a particular side (which IMO contributes nothing to an MP FPS game). Question for everyone? Has a commercial game ever offered multiple versions of the same game? By that I mean the core game is identical but the assets are changed. Perhaps the cost is prohibitive but it would be interesting to see a WWII, Near Future, Far Future game, all playing together but each person would see the game played out in their chosen setting. I guess this could be a DLC type thing too. But again, I'm sure the cost of redoing a whole game is way more than you'd get from reusing assets for a new map or weapon.
Posted on 25 June, 2012 - 12:24
Has a commercial game ever offered multiple versions of the same game? By that I mean the core game is identical but the assets are changed.
COD4 onwards anyone? :D
Posted on 25 June, 2012 - 16:14
COD4 onwards anyone? :D
LOL. Fair enough :) But I did mean at the same time and with interoperable play. :)
Posted on 25 June, 2012 - 16:25
I agree with Sockdog. Invading the Earth/Europe is just as much fun as defending it. Nuance is interesting from a story-based perspective but for immersion it works if the roles are cut and dry.
Posted on 25 June, 2012 - 19:41
Interesting. Does this make it harder/easier to pick a team in multiplayer, or does the motivation/ideology of the teams not matter to you in that context?
The good vs evil thing definitely motivates people to pick a faction, but it also motivates the 'gameplay focused' players as well. For example if youre a 'gameplay guy', and you see a whole lot of players waiting in queue to play GDF it definitely amps the motivation levels to smash GDF. *cough* But ofcourse thats not to say there arent faction loyalists based on mechanics either. :wink:
Posted on 25 June, 2012 - 20:16
Aye, I know they made a big deal in Brink that there were no clear cut bad or good guys but judging by that Brink competition thread a fair amount people assumed the resistance were good and the security bad when citing what team they picked first. Not sure how many people paid attention or cared about the backstory, it felt like it was wasted on an MP game, deserved a real single player campaign.
Posted on 25 June, 2012 - 20:23
"Oh its container city, quick join resistance!"
Posted on 25 June, 2012 - 21:14
Fascism vs. communism, order vs. anarchy, biology vs. technology or similar are far more interesting yet clearly delineated factions that don't reduce to us versus the other.
I didn't want to get too specific and risk sparking an off-topic flame war, but I suppose my dream game (the singleplayer part, anyway) would have something to do with the working-class majority fighting to take back control of productive resources from the elite minority of absentee owners.
Posted on 25 June, 2012 - 22:09
I prefer near-future for multi-player (and single player). The conflict should include a good-evil dichotomy. Graphics and sound must be immersive. These statements all speak to my ability to relate to the game. I believe, near future allows greatest variety depending on the back-story elements. What's interesting to me is the mix of known elements (found today) with unknown elements, but still based in today's physical reality (near or distant future), especially if done with stunning graphics The further the game goes into the future, the more I would need to suspend plausibility, and that would make it harder to relate. The game becomes more abstract, the further into the future, so it becomes more important to ground it with other plausible things. i.e back-story. grit, photo realism, etc. Back-story in a multi-player game, I'd guess is difficult. Story can perhaps can be injected into the game via AI dialogue, sign-posts/bill boards, rewards/cookies, instructions, orders. at time of character selection, or whatever the creative teams can come up with. Without it, unless the back story is obvious, the game sacrifices plausibility...if there are too many "huh?, wtf, really? how does that work?" moments, I for one would lose interest. The perceived good/evil dichotomy can be also be near-good/near-evil, as that would make it easier to integrate heroics into both camps. Heroics meaning actions that risk the individual for a better team outcome. i.e. Its hard to believe in a game where excessive evil can still be heroic, but near-evil is plausible. If others are like me, then there is a clear preference in choosing to play either good or evil. (I'd imagine good is the big winner here). Drawing these two closer would entice a player into either role. Too close and it would be perceived as homogenous and an uninteresting difference. In RPGs a player builds character and good/evil is clearly a main differentiator. If that could be done in a MP FPS game, you'd have a winner.
Posted on 26 June, 2012 - 01:53
I think that the Cold War era has been long forgotten by most game developers. I think giving the player the ability to rewrite history in their own matter would be an excellent way to go. Also I think it would be rather interesting to see what would have had happened if Cold War had suddenly turned hot. And maybe let the player decide either to be good or evil.
Posted on 30 June, 2012 - 23:31
I've always been a fan of WWII games, and when I tell people I wish they would release more WWII shooters, I get responses like, "there's already too many games like that out." I find this odd, considering that all the top shooters now (and for several years) have been either modern day or futuristic - Modern Warfare, Battlefield, CS, Halo, TF2, L4D, HL, Borderlands, Crysis, etc. I think we are due for a good WWII game.
Posted on 2 July, 2012 - 16:19