E3 Says The Era of Modern Warfare is Over

By Ian Dransfield on at

I sat through all of yesterday's presentations - and Nintendo's today - and I was surprised.

I wasn't surprised by anything I saw, especially not in the wake of the 5.2 billion leaks we saw pre-E3. No, I was surprised by what I didn't see. And what I didn't see was a bunch of modern military shooters.

This isn't a surprise - this particular setting for a bunch of first and third-person shooters has been on the wane for a couple of years now, but it was stark how this year, suddenly, there was nothing.

Call of Duty has taken the full leap into the future with Advanced Warfare - at first we had a few bits and bobs of plausible future tech in our CoDs, now we have laser beams. I'm not saying they're implausible, I'm just saying it's CoD by way of Freespace 2, seemingly.

call of duty advanced warfare

Battlefield, on the other hand, has kept a modern setting with Hardline. But it's done away with the militaristic bent, opting for a smaller-scale (though still massively destructive) cops and robbers angle.

Other than that I'm honestly struggling to think of anything shown by any company that was a modern military shooter. There's Far Cry 4, which does feature a military, but it also features elephants so it is immediately stricken from the record. Maybe something has slipped my mind - I was up late yesterday covering all this stuff, after all.

But it looks very much like this trend - not begun by but popularised by one Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare back in 2007 - is over. Dead. Kaput. An ex-trend.

I'd like to think all of this is down to an ideological shift at the developers making these games. I'd like to think it's down to consciences coming into play and people seeing that, far from glorifying the brutal acts of professional soldiers, we should treat things with a less heavy-handed approach.

I'd like to think they've all sat down and played Spec Ops: The Line, basically.

battlefield hardline

But what I'd like to think and what it actually is are going to be two different things. What it actually is is the natural lifespan of a trend. We saw it before with Second World War shooters, we saw it before that with everything trying to rip off the original Half-Life.

And, frankly, we're seeing it again here - though there appears to have been a schism between Battlefield and Call of Duty, with the former following Payday 2 and the latter Killzone and Titanfall.

So the natural question now is: what's the trend going to be in another seven years time?

Well, I'm going to stake my house on what I think to be inarguable fact - every game coming out in 2021 will have elements of Amiga classic Chuck Rock in it.

It's obvious, right? And at least it has to be better than endless 'for the troops' FPS titles.