Shooter or shooting video games have evolved a lot since DOOM (1993) planted the seed of madness in the video game industry. Since then, more than two decades have passed and the panorama has changed a lot, although not the essence: the shooting genre is one of the most popular and played by far.

There are shooting video games of all kinds, but there are two franchises that have managed to stand out and become benchmarks: Call of Duty and Battlefield. It is impossible not to know them. Both have caused sensation, madness and even fanaticism. For many years they had their own “civil war”.

And precisely they have been very famous because their formula was tremendously simple and addictive:

  • Matches of different durations depending on the mode: team duel, assault, domain, conquest.
  • Varied maps and of different sizes. Usually small in Call of Duty and big in Battlefield.
  • Two teams of players killing each other to see which one prevails over the other.

Meanwhile, the shooter genre evolved in different directions, whether in first or third person:

  • Campanas lineales o en mundo abierto: Metro Redux, Spec Ops: The Line, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Far Cry, Bioshock, Borderlands, Sniper Elite, Metal Gear Solid, Red Dead Redemption 2…
  • Zombies/hordas: Left 4 Dead 1 y 2, World War Z, Back 4 Blood, Resident Evil, State of Decay 2, Call of Duty Zombies, Zombie Army, Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare, Day Z…
  • Online: Overwatch, CS:GO, Planetside 2, Quake, Team Fortress 2, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Arma, Valorant, Rainbor Six Siege…
  • MMO and RPG: The Division 1 and 2, Destiny 1 and 2, Outriders, Warframe.

The genres intermingle and the result is wonderful: the shooter genre has evolved through many different branches and has reached all places. Surely there is a shooter for your taste, I have no doubt. Everyone has played one at some point in their life. You can even enjoy Call of Duty on your mobile!

Battle Royale, before and after

The author and journalist Koushun Takami published a novel called Battle Royale on April 27, 1999, a best seller that caused enormous controversy for its philosophical proposals and that would change the world forever. In the year 2000 the film adaptation was released and Hollywood would do the same in 2012 with The Hunger Games. All award-winning hits.

This trend made open-world survival games like H1Z1 (2015), Day Z (2013) and Rust (2013) popular to unsuspected levels. The experience they proposed was similar: an open world in which players had to survive by imposing themselves on their opponents. Finally, H1Z1 was the game that took the step towards battle royale…

It was in 2017 when Epic Games introduced Fortnite, a third-person shooter in which you had to collect materials, build bases with a very intuitive construction system, and defend yourself against monsters. The host was not going to be a girl, so the company desperately brought out the battle royale mode … and then the dementia began.

Fortnite: Battle Royale marked a before and after in the recent history of video games. A battle royale mode that allowed you to quickly shoot and build structures to position yourself better. The madness broke loose: everyone has played Fortnite at some point and most have stayed for a season…if they don’t keep playing.

The companies lost their heads. Everyone wanted their own battle royale: Electronic Arts released Apex Legends and Firestorm in Battlefield V, Ubisoft had Hyper Scape (now dead), Call of Duty has Warzone, Free Fire, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), Super People , Ring of Elysium and a very long etc whose extension does not reach the list. EVEN TETRIS HAS A BATTLE ROYALE MODE!

Needless to say, most of them have hit the host against the wall of the Fortnite , Apex Legends and Warzone podium . Special mention to PUBG, which had its special moment. It seems that the battle royale genre is here to stay forever. It seems difficult for something different to stand up to him… Or maybe if there is?

The addictive formula of Escape From Tarkov: the dethroneer of kings?

I’m sure Escape From Tarkov hasn’t invented the “raid-shooter” formula that makes it unique, but it has developed and raised it to new heights of interest. If you don’t know it, it is a mutation of the battle royale genre. I establish the differences reducing it to the minimum:

  • Battle royale: Deploy, loot weapons and survive until no more players are left as the zone shrinks.
  • Formula Tarkov: spread out, loot equipment and other objects, survive and look for an exit zone to escape.

The main difference between a battle royale and this formula is the objectives: while in battle royales you have to survive and complete some missions, the Tarkov formula always gives you a reason to enter the danger zone.

The progression is much more palpable thanks to the RPG elements: your character’s stats improve. On the other hand, its inventory, additional defense and firepower depend on the equipment you choose, and you have a shelter to improve and expand with everything you take from the conflict zones, either through components or money you get by selling to any of the sellers.

Another interesting mechanic. While in battle royale you don’t lose anything by dying, games like Tarkov penalize you with the loss of your equipment (the one you used to enter) and everything you’ve looted in that game. This adds strategy and decision making before and during missions.

Escape From Tarkov is an early access video game described as a shooting combat simulator with RPG touches. It would take me a whole post to tell you all the details. Keep in mind that the word “simulator” is not used for nothing: the health system is very complex, the weapons and ammunition is absurdly detailed, and managing everything you have is a task worthy of a Tetris champion.

It could be said that Escape From Tarkov is the visible head of this “new” type of shooter. There are other similar titles such as Hunt: Showdown, Vigor, Lost Light and Marauders. They are all tactical games, leisurely and with a very steep learning curve. They drink a lot from classics like STALKER and Metro Redux.

The common denominator is that playing implies the possibility of losing your equipment. The more and better rewards, the more risks: other players, NPCs (normal and bosses), time, your health… A single bullet can literally make the difference. Each fight can be the last and winning does not always mean surviving the game.

And could he dethrone the battle royale?

It’s complicated. Escape From Tarkov went from being a complete unknown to a phenomenon in a few days thanks to Twitch. It is not a fad, but a type of niche game that has come to stay. If he could achieve this… Who knows what will happen in the future?

At the moment, this genre doesn’t have much to do against battle royale. Not because it’s bad, but because most of the similar projects have had a terrible quality and have failed miserably: Battlefield 2042 tried with Hazard Zone and Call of Duty with DMZ.

The Division (2016) is the only game that has offered similar modes and that managed to catch on with the players: the Dark Zone and the Survival DLC. They are not battle royale nor do they fit in the Tarkov style, rather they are a hybrid. Ubisoft hasn’t tried to replicate it in The Division 2 or any other game.

The battle royale have come to stay and continue to have a lot of strength, although interest has declined in recent years. It would be risky to say that the formula headed by Escape From Tarkov will surpass battle royale in the coming years. However, I am sure that it will gradually gain followers.