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Philosophy of BF3 & MW3: Chess & Checkers

It would be trite to expand on the artistic differences of Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3.  Furthermore, it would be banal to exclaim that these two games have different economic roots--one being the financial king, the other reaching out it’s hand in attempt to collect greater market share.  In addition, it would be commonplace to soliloquize on the engineering of engines, their age, and attempt to explain the difference between their mathematical properties.  Unless we are game designers ourselves, we fall victim to having the only thing left in our arsenal of gaming discourse: our opinion.

We are the First Person Shooters.  As a group, laymen call us ‘gamers’, a term that throws us into the general category, or genre, of video games.   But First Person Shooter fans are as a specific a group as those who play Massive Multiplayer Online Games, like World of WarCraft.  In relation to virtually-social tendencies, our intense desire for ‘fast paced’ and competitive gameplay make us either a ‘friend or  foe’ in the virtual world. 

Ask anyone who doesn’t play FPS games what their largest deterrent is and they might chime, “I’m just not good at it” or “it’s too frustrating for me”.   This competitive landscape might be only one aspect, of many, that determine the gravitational pull towards these type of  games, but there is no argument on the validity that ‘virtual competition’ heightens the desire to play multiplayer FPSs online.   (If disagreement on this point exists within you, consider the repercussions if we were to take away the ranking system that is inherent to online gameplay.   How many would continue their FPS multiplayer journey)?

In many ways, players play First Person Shooter games for enjoyment, but the psychology of enjoyment grows as we mature.  One day, many of us reading this article might lower the frequency with which they play games. Perhaps children, starting a company, or various other goals might inhibit our frequency of play.  But the point remains:  Our enjoyment is correlated by that which we have been conditioned to accept as the ‘status quo’.  

For this reason the analysis of Battlefield 3 has been more of a comparison to it’s competitor.  Battlefield 3 fell to the ‘analysis table’ of continual comparison to the ‘status quo’--that being Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3.  But with time passing by, and enough attempts, many were changing their bias and opening their eyes to the sophisticated difference that existed between then the style  of the two games.  With enough time gamers could truly see a difference in quality, technique, and tactics. The demographics of many who play Battlefield 3 were older. Thus, a particular conclusion that could be reached is that those who play it are more mature.  But it is often an interesting parallel to make regarding these types of games and the types of people who play them.  To have a fair opinion, one must devote considerable time to both games.  Many opinions exist without full consideration, or analysis, of both options.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 gave fans exactly the same equation that had existed for 5 years.  There would seem to be no plausible reason to evolve a game still generated profit with the same mechanics.  Why change a methodology that, historically,  reaped high monetary returns?  No sane Publisher or Developer would consider the expense needed for an evolutionary upgrade to their game in this case.   

Our eyes see what we continually perceive to be true.  We stay with the same game and continue to gain ‘First Person Shooter comfort’ from our hardened, concrete vision.  The illusion that any game creates-– especially for a genre as powerful as a Shooter-–would entice anyone and more importantly, bias them to a comfort-leveled demand for the ‘status quo.’  In other words, that which we are continually used to, we find difficulty criticizing or critiquing.  The Modern Warfare psychology was not un-sophisticated so much as it was blatantly original-–and thus, to a point, mundane.  Long time First Person Shooter fans were ready for something new.   They were ready to evolve, even if their preferred engine would not.  So many Shooter fans left to eat a different meal and obtain a different taste.

Humans age and so do our concepts, intellectual capacity, goals, initiatives, and creativity.  With time, many who sought the First Person Shooter energy that had been created by the Call of Duty Modern Warfare franchise were becoming bored with the ‘taste’ of the meal.   If Call of Duty Modern Warfare was the lobster dinner, fans were now ready for Filet Mignon.  The Darwinian battle between these two Shooters, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3, created an ecosystem where, if anything, Shooter games of the future will continue to evolve towards our desires.  

As of 2012, it is incomprehensible to leave Battlefield 3 without true credit or consideration.  Battlefield 3 must be rewarded for being the game that has been the most adaptable.  And only those neglecting a full investigation of this fact will, unfortunately, fail to see the vision of that paradigm. 

If Modern Warfare was checkers, fans have shown they are now ready for chess.   

By John Andreu - 02/17/12

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