GDC '08: RIP FPS, RTS, and RPG?

Storytelling panel including Denis Dyack and Tim Willits argues that, in the future, game-specific genres will simply disappear.

SAN FRANCISCO--A seven-person panel tasked to discuss "The Future of Story in Game Design" couldn't agree on much. But one thing they all seemed to think would happen would be the disappearance of current game-genre types.

Denis Dyack, president of Too Human developer Silicon Knights, said, "In the future, in five to 10 years from now, there aren't going to be game genres [like there are today]. Instead there is going to be drama, sci-fi, action...just like you have in books."

Tim Willits, co-owner of Rage-maker id Software, agreed. He added, "For me, I would like to see RPGs, FPSs, RTSs--I would like to see all these genres just go away."

However, that was about all that the panel, which was chaired by indie game developer Deborah Todd, agreed on.

Matthew Karch, co-owner of Saber 3D, believes that the importance of story to a game's success depended on the genre. For role-playing games, obviously a good story would be vital, but for strategy or shooter games, that was much less the case. "I don't think anyone gave a whatever about the story in Call of Duty 4," he said. "It was just great fun to play."

However, Dyack disagreed, and he believes that story will become more and more important across all genres in the future. "We're an entertainment industry," he stressed. "We're here to entertain people. The technology is becoming less important, and the entertainment value more and more important."

The panel also disagreed over whether the level of realism in games had almost reached the highest level possible or not. Michael Hall, a writer for Saber 3D, thinks that there's not much further it can evolve. He explained, "I think we're damn close to the ceiling. I mean, how good can we get? Photo-realistic? We're real close."

Karch emphatically disagreed. "We're cavemen in terms of what's possible technologically. It will not become possible to tell a good story until you can feel like you are actually talking to a real person in a game," he claimed.

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232 comments
bfme2_master
bfme2_master

what i hate is games that use the genre tag to lure customers into buying a crappy game. maybe its just me, but that irritates the hell out of me.

brokenpike
brokenpike

RPGs, FPS, and RTS and they think they will dissappear? Their not going to combine them thats been tried only a few times and none of which were worth it. As for realism they may have pushed graphics to the limit but in the way of AI, and accually putting a person into the world they have created they still have many things they can pull. is it just me or do we seem to be leaping ahead in gaming tech this past year?

krickarck
krickarck

Hmmm... I donb't understand why some people want that game genre desappear... watching a movie or read a book is very different then playing a game... when you watch a movie or read a book you just follow a linear story, you can only watch the story. When you play a game you follow a story with a certain gameplay. Even if a story is very good, if the gameplay is not your type, you'll not enjoy it that much. Game genre exist to classify gamplays, not stories and "drama", "sci-fi", etc... exist to classify stories. That's why there is sometimes games that has sci-fi \ RPG or whatever... I think comparing game genre and movie genre is really absurd, it's like comparing apples with oranges... I agree that games have to have good story, not just good gameplay but I still wanna know what gameplay I'll play before playing the game. If they say it's a sci-fi games, I wanna know if it's more an RPG or an action game or a FPS. If it's an RTS or the has too much RTS gameplay, I'll not play it for long cause I don't like RTS.... Well I don't think game genres will vanish but maybe I'm wrong... who knows! Neither me or gamespot ;)

Richard7666
Richard7666

Lol, anyone who's ever played any one of the 99% of RTS-RPG crossovers that totally suck will beg to differ with this statement, at least as far as RTS is concerned.

nintendoboy16
nintendoboy16

"In the future, in five to 10 years from now, there aren't going to be game genres [like there are today]. Instead there is going to be drama, sci-fi, action...just like you have in books." - Denis Dyack He dosen't know that, nor do these guys know that RPG, RTS, and FPS are going to die. No one knows that, not even me.

fleshsniper1
fleshsniper1

offcourse you need the programmer though, but that has nothing to do with technology, its all in the creativity and resourcefulness

fleshsniper1
fleshsniper1

....photo realistic clich can be achieve already in ps2. its just up to the artist how good they are and what tricks they have to imitate it. really if you want realism it doesnt rely on technology it relys on the creator, the sculptor

SaintJotun
SaintJotun

I wish game type classification wouldn't die. I like clicking the "rpg" tag and actually getting rpg's.

LordLonewolf777
LordLonewolf777

Its April.... Well whats new, Too Human missed its "early Q1 2008" release.... WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY DOING?!?! 8 YEAR!?!?!? Are they serious?!?! WTF?!?

edhc44
edhc44

@ smashhero It's just you. For all of you saying that story isn't as important... Have you even gotten close to Bioshock? From what I see, not every game needs to have a complex plot cuz sometimes you just feel like shooting something in the head and don't wanna worry about much else, but sometimes we need games like that, with a tight, polished and intriging story... or as the press likes to refer to it, "thought-provoking" =p

smashhero
smashhero

Is it just me, or does these guys seems like a bunch of idiots that never really played any games ?

hattorihanzo32
hattorihanzo32

well said gooeykat you took the words right off of my keyboard. they need to remember that games are about interactivity (gameplay) story falls behind that.

Neosword
Neosword

While I disagree all genres will disappear, I definitely think there will be a merger between some of them. I'm also still waiting for the day when a shooter tells a deep story (Bioshock was close). It'll happen.

V-Nine
V-Nine

I'm sorry but I don't see playing R-Type where the pilot leaves the ship as its going from shooter to RTS isn't making me smile either. Ok so it works for Blaster Master. What does this guy want? Final Grand Theft Sim Contra Bros: Command Flight Idol Guitar Fit Touch First Fighter 2 All Calling Epic War Sport of the Swim? Well?

riverraid1
riverraid1

Hell, I remember playing games from say NES or Genesis that were cross type genres. Very few but, I specifically remember "Swords and Serpents" for the NES as a FPRPG as well as "Might and Magic" and a few other games. So this kind of merging of genres or types of games isn't new though. Plus, would most RPG games be considered also Adventure type games?

mr_gouda
mr_gouda

Personally, I never gave a darn about the story in Tetris. But that didn't stop me from loving it!

CyberKnight500
CyberKnight500

I agree w/ Gooeykat. In an FPS, you look through the eyes of the character you're controling. That allows you to aim. With an Action/Adventure game, you have to see everything around you. True, they might combine an RPG with an FPS simply by making your character/gun customizable, or mix a Real-Time Strategy with an action/adventure by letting you switch between general and infantry, but genres disapearing altogether? Impossible.

Gooeykat
Gooeykat

This is the biggest bunch of horse manure I've read in a while. So we're going to get rid of game genres and replace it with "drama, sci-fi, action?" Games are not books and they are not movies, they require player interaction, the genres in place describe that type of player interaction. This is the key part of any game, the gameplay type. If you don't like the gameplay, you're not going to give a hoot about the story-line.

raahsnavj
raahsnavj

I guess Karch has never read a book... You don't need graphics to tell a good story unless you lack real story telling talent. The problem is rather than hiring someone with the ability to tell a story, the VG industry keeps trying to tell it with graphics only... over and over. As for the end of RPG, FPS and RTS... seeming those are classifications that we made up to help catagorize what types of games you might like if you liked 'this' game; I'm sure we can change it. The problem is with games, some people get sick with FPS. Others don't like the quick feel of RTS... so by removing those 'constraints' or basic gameplay premises, you are really creating a new genre that probably won't appeal to anyone that can't play 'every type' of game. And limiting your audience seems like a stupid idea in this day and age. EDIT: To make myself clear, the genres will continue blend, but probably only across genres that make sense if they are to be successful. As for an FPS RPG... give Oblivion a gun and you have it. Oh, and I guess it is RTS because it is real time and not turn based... Sure you can remove the label of RPG or RTS in an attempt to confuse the user if you want, but it is still a RPG with a FPS perspective in RT. You catagorize to appeal to a user base. Refusing to catagorize doesn't provide any value to the customer. And the consumer is the point right?

Sammojo
Sammojo

Yeah I really don't think we are close to realistic games. It's funny when you look back at old games like "Banjo and Kazooey", you realise how utterly horrible the graphics were (compared to now that is) . We have come such a far way, but games still do not look cinematic quality. People used to say TF2 was "Pixar" quality, but when you compare them side by side you can see huge differences, we are so far from photorealism its not funny. Some examples would be having full anti-aliasing on everything, and vector textures instead of bitmaps. Also, vector edges for poly shapes - cylinders in games are still just hexagonal shapes, vectors are the future, and we are definitely not there yet...

elliottsb
elliottsb

"I don't think anyone gave a whatever about the story in Call of Duty 4" - Matthew Karch The reason no one cared is because the story was so weak and poorly developed. They had an opportunity but the levels were too disjointed. For example, the mission where you fly the AC-130 (which was badass, BTW) wasn't tied into the story very well. There was only one line from the troops on the ground on the previous level that let you know who you were supporting from the air. A good story is one of the things that makes a game great.

-barker-
-barker-

There should be both types of classification...Actually, don't most games do that anyway? Such as state whether a game is both "Action RPG", "WWII FPS" and the like? I guess we would just have read previews or reviews to know (If this becomes what they say it will). Which isn't a huge deal, but nonetheless, there should be both. Oh, and there is a LONG LONG LONG way to go before graphics can be described as "photo-realistic"...Jesus Christ

mrklorox
mrklorox

The remarks from people representing Saber 3D are ironically very two-dimensional. Storytelling will both become less important and more important as the two main groups of gamers ("casual" and "hardcore") spawn more distinct, varied sub-niches. Classic-style adventure games (like Sam and Max) are ALL story with virtually no gameplay; and they are STILL fun as hell. Realism is still very far from being attained and exploited. I interperate the question to not only mean graphics and physics but intelligence, gameplay, immersion, and emotion as well. The latter of which's surface is barely being scratched. As for the remark of specific genres going away: I COMPLETELY AGREE. It's like the concept (or pipe-dream) that distinguishing between human races will become impossible in the future if everybody keeps inter-breeding. The line between a true RPG (not the Japanese kind) and FPS is becoming more and more blurred with each season that passes. I personally cannot wait for a proper FPS-RTS hybrid set in an immersing open-world role-playing universe. EDIT1: Why have I not heard of Saber 3D before this story? Are they some sort of joke? EDIT2: Oh, Saber 3D is the ENGINE that runs TimeShift, Saber Interactive is the company whose owners spoke. Still, TimeShift didn't look that realistic... how can Michael Hall say we're even close to photo-realism after TimeShift?

PooPoopyman
PooPoopyman

It probably will happen, and i hope it does

DeadshotDavido7
DeadshotDavido7

okay then, i would like to see tim willits go away. preferably for good and with cement shoes.

TehUndeadHorror
TehUndeadHorror

I think the next generation of gaming and consoles will reach it's limits =) PS4 and Xbox... 440?

0201693
0201693

i can't see action games taking the time out to create deep stories like those in RPG's and the levelup/battle systems which are usually deveoped with a complex ways to customize items/weapons and stuff. Action games are usually aimed at a slightly different audience be it younger or people that don't have the patience to level up characters or spend time customizing there equipment/inventory. I personally play rpg's for the story mainly if action games start taking more consideration into the story telling then I'll be glad but i think the two are not likely to merge into one any time soon unless there is like an option to play this game in RPG style or Action style. if that happened there be fanboys calling people noobs for choose action style cause its simpler ROFL.

PoisonMushroom
PoisonMushroom

think about how rpg's are coming closer to action games already, with their battle systems. and some action games that have upgrades, like an rpg, like bioshock. and think about rpg's like mass effect, which have shooting, sort of; also, tabula rasa.

GogetaX
GogetaX

Tim Willits, co-owner of Rage-maker id Software, agreed. He added, "For me, I would like to see RPGs, FPSs, RTSs--I would like to see all these genres just go away." That's pretty hard to see "blending" in that statement. A FPS with RPG elements is still a FPS. Same goes for the other way around. The way they worded their comments is pretty dumb, although it's not hard to see that blending would have been the proper thing to say here.

reneetruss
reneetruss

This why I say gamers are idiots because some here seems not to understand the article. you see stupidity runs deep.

mightywarlord
mightywarlord

he's not saying that the genre's will go away, just blend together. I can see where he's coming from with RPGs and FPS (and although he didn't mention it, action games), as the elements from these genres are not mutually exclusive. RTS, on the other hand, contains many features that ARE mutually exclusive. You can't play an RTS from first person. Because RTS don't play well in single player, they have a limited storyline appeal and this of course makes it hard to make them RPGs. All good RTS, regardless of unique things them have tried, have all been purely RTS. However, genre melding will contiue to happen, and 10 years from now most FPS and action will games will probably have RPG elements. Look at platformers, there are almost no pure platformers anymore, now they've been merged with the action or in some cases sooter genres.

ilikewhatyouhat
ilikewhatyouhat

Denis spewing some more verbal diarrhea as usual. Nothing new here.

GogetaX
GogetaX

What I got from this is that they don't know what the **** they're talking about. One guy says NO GENRES the other says LOL YOU N00B WE NEED TEH GENRES, the next is like WE HAVE REACHED TEH ULTIME GFX, the other is like GTFO NO WAI. I'd have to say we're just going to see more blending of genres. Saying straight up FPS/RPG/RTS will disappear completely is retarded.

SHACKR
SHACKR

I don't see why they need to get rid of three of the most popular genres.

GameWiz47
GameWiz47

dude hes talking about the most popular genres theres no way they can disappear

Glade_Gnarr
Glade_Gnarr

That would suck, can yyou imagine a world where stories would matter more than gameplay?

wilso326
wilso326

I highly doubt FPS, RTS and RPGs will disappear and blend into more general genres, because not many games have done that, and few have been actually successful at it. The games which do try to blend several genres into one are really just one genre with a few elements from other types of games. For example, Oblivion is supposed to be an "action role playing game", but it's still plays like any other RPG, like Fable or Morrowind. Crytek gives you a lot of freedom in Crysis and Far Cry, but you're still shooting people, and besides the massive levels and the non-linear levels, it's still an FPS. Though the guy's prediction of genres disappearing isn't that crazy - look at what happened to side scrollers and light gun games. They've pretty much died out because most people find today's genres more appealing. Another genre that's dying now is the stealth action games, last generation we had Metal Gear, Hitman, Splinter Cell and a whole bunch of not so successful titles. This generation Hitman and Splinter Cell have been pretty much forgotten, and the most recent splinter cell is rumoured to become vaporware. Metal Gear Solid 4 barely resembles the first one, the series has become gradually less and less of a stealth game and more of an action adventure game with each release. I wouldn't be surprised if next generation, stealth games become completely forgotten, and so may others.

NyGin07
NyGin07

WHO WOULD WANNA SEE FPS's GO AWAY? jeez that guys lame.

Alphamale001
Alphamale001

I hate Dyack. He is pompous and annoying. He is in my mind, the Uwe Bolle of video games. Except he has had a few good games.

woolysockofdoom
woolysockofdoom

It will be a hard fought occurrence for games' genres to all be rolled into their thematic categories; the difference between a movie and a game is that a game is interactive, and at least part of the game's genre defines its interaction. Certain organizations and people categorize games more specifically, like a Sci-Fi Real-Time Strategy or a Fantasy Action Role-Playing Game, but the point is that both the story and the type of interaction define the game, not just one or the other.

woolysockofdoom
woolysockofdoom

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Tokaylegend
Tokaylegend

most of you dont even understand what they are talking about. they are talking about combining the genres and making it so you cant just point out a game and saying it is a fps or this is a rts.

peeweeshift
peeweeshift

its the downfall of halo. the richest game universe(next to stars wars, which is a movie-based universe), is underused. they dumbed it down for all the gamers who wouldn't comprehend the story. everyone who read the books, and played halo 2 extensively will know this.

IsmirZone
IsmirZone

A dieing ganre??? That is a load of crap.

santiagochile
santiagochile

"FPS is the best ever. You are just mad becasue of your Wii not having any good FPS. " Umm, the Wii mote has the best FPSs of consoles. What other console has the Wiimote to play with? NONE! The Wii was made for FPSs, so what you are saying is absurd. MP3 and MoHH2 pawn your other games.

dipper145
dipper145

How could oyu just kill a genre like FPS RTS and RPG? Are you kidding me? Please explain to me one game right now that doesn't fit into a genre. Gamers care about storys, but they care about the gameplay more. You can't just design a game that doesn't fit into any of the genres. It just doesn't work.

jjj13
jjj13

FPS is the best ever. You are just mad becasue of your Wii not having any good FPS. :)

nintendoman562
nintendoman562

i hope the fps genre dies. its boring and uninteresting and you are too busy shooting the crap out of everything to even realise what level your on.