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Counter-Strike co-creator says FPS games not as exciting as they used to be

Minh Le says he tried to fix this with new game Tactical Intervention, but it came up short; it was a "huge mistake" to make the game free-to-play.

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First-person shooter games are just not as compelling as they used to be, argues Counter-Strike co-creator Minh Le. Speaking with Gamasutra, Le said his newest game, the free-to-play shooter Tactical Intervention, tried to reinvigorate the genre, but came up short.

"I don't think FPSes are as exciting as they used to be. I tried to contribute to fixing this, but I don't think... Tactical Intervention has not succeeded in terms of addressing some of the problems," Le said. "There's some stuff in TI that I really enjoy playing, but other stuff like the hostage mode, it didn't really pan out as well as I'd hoped."

Simply put, Le explained that he's running out of ideas for how to push the FPS genre forward and he believes he's not alone in this struggle.

"I think FPS games have gotten to the point where there's not much more you can add to it," he said. "Battlefield has really pushed it, and there's not a whole lot more you can do to it."

Tactical Intervention has struggled to find a playerbase, Le said, noting the game attracts only 600 concurrent players during peak play times. By comparison, more than 73,000 people are playing Counter Strike: Global Offensive right this second. Part of the reason why his new game is facing an uphill battle is because the FPS market is flooded with games, he argued.

"To be honest, I think the FPS genre is just so saturated, and CS:GO has really just made it difficult for FPS games to compete in this market," Le said. "CS:GO has done a great job of making the experience so polished. It's got everything you'd really want from an FPS game. The whole presentation and everything is so... it's just really difficult for us to really draw a crowd away from these guys."

Le also spoke very candidly about Tactical Intervention's free-to-play model. He said he rallied against this "huge mistake," explaining that the game might have been better suited for a traditional paid release. However, higher-ups at the game's publisher mandated the game be free-to-play, meaning Le and the other designers have to "rewrite a lot of the game design."

This decision did not pay off, Le said. "Unfortunately, it's not sustainable, financially. We're losing money. It's kinda obvious that we're not doing well financially."

Overall, Le said free-to-play business models only work for fantasy and sci-fi games, or those that aren't "tied down by the rules of reality." By selling weapon skins for games like Tactical Intervention or Counter Strike: Global Offensive, the game world becomes populated with "wacky and crazy" guns that don't match the game's original art style, he said.

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