Arena shooter as Archetype
Posted on July 20, 2019 by the_hack
Glitch Arena was recently released to Steam in a very rough Early Access. But even in it’s rough form, it won’t look that different from how it will eventually. It more some fine tuning and optimising that needs to happen going forward.
It needed to get made. The AFPS genre was born out of what normal people would view as hardcore, or violent and occult themed games such as Doom and Quake. Fun for some, but hardly the mainstream. And while the shooter genre has definite mainstream representation, the latest being Apex Legends, it is not nearly the same thing as an arena first person shooter.
The gameplay of an arena shooter is elemental. How many variables are at play in soccer, tennis, or chess. Their simplicity allows for the fun of competition – the infinite choices that can be made with the simple tools at hand. The games have simple rules, but the competition that takes place within them is richer for it.
Yet arena shooters appeal to only a few, but this doesn’t have to be so. It is exacerbated by current hardcore representations of the game. The niche appeal is doubly punishing to the genre as the few will push each other’s skill upwards in a intensely competitive microcosm. Unlike tennis, where anyone with working limbs will have an occasional bash, AFPS demands the utmost. There is not a lot of ‘junior tennis’ happening.
I hope Glitch can widen the appeal of AFPS. I really enjoy Quake in all it’s occult gloom , but I think some cultural changes are in order for healthier communities.
Glitch is also the simplest example of the arena shooter genre I know of. The variables that are not absolutely necessary to the basics of the game are gone, such as the second tier weapons and different types of ammunition (which has implications for the game originally unintended), hence reducing the variety of pickups on each map.
The most interesting dynamic of AFPS is control. Considering 1v1 and 2v2, control is like the ball on the soccer field. Without control, you will not be able to overcome an equally skilled opponent.
The tools with which you establish control are the items on the map. They respawn at set intervals, usually so long after they were taken. Knowing when and where to go, and why, is essential to maintaining control. Compromises will need to be made and plans will need to be adapted.