Shooters can be called the most popular game genre: if RTS and classic quests are on the verge of death, the games about shooting enemies are released every year and are in steady demand. No wonder, after all, the mechanics of “aim-shoot” is easy to master, and many gamers familiarity with the games as such began with the shooters – Call of Duty, Battlefield, Counter-Strike, Doom.
In this story, we are going to tell you about the most important first-person shooters that have shaped the genre. They are the ones to be compared to, and the ones to look up to.
In this selection were exclusively pure shooters – in which everything is somehow tied to the shooting. That’s why games like BioShock – definitely a great series, but it’s more of an immersive sim than a full-fledged shooter, it has RPG elements and location research implemented much better than the shooting itself – are excluded from the discussion. For the same reason let’s skip System Shock and Deus Ex – they are not exactly shooters, although you can shoot at enemies.
Also, this material covers only the most important games of the genre: if we recall even just good and popular shooters, no list would be enough. But, if possible, we will indicate games similar to the participants of the selection – in case you’ve played the mentioned projects and you want something in this vein.
Without them, modern games would be very different. Here is a list of first-person shooters that have influenced the development of not only the genre but the entire industry.
1. Wolfenstein 3D (1992)
Although technically first-person shooters have been released before, the story here is about the same as with Resident Evil and the survival horror genre: Wolfenstein 3D laid the foundation for the development of first-person shooters for decades to come. Besides, it was this release that made id Software one of the key game makers, and subsequently, the company released many more revolutionary shooters.
2. Doom (1993)
One of these revolutionary projects was Doom, released by the same id Software a year after Wolfenstein. Although the game designers were obviously inspired by the previous success, the main innovation here was the multiplayer mode, while Wolfenstein was designed for a single player.
3. Quake (1996)
Once again, id Software! Quake not only had local single-player and multi-player modes but also the ability to play online. Another new feature was character movements, including rocket jumps (a shot during a jump that gives horizontal acceleration). Quake was also one of the first competitive games, which also deserves attention.
4. GoldenEye 007 (1997)
Before this game’s release on the Nintendo 64, top-notch first-person shooters could only be found on the PC. GoldenEye 007 not only showed that FPSs can come out on consoles but also distinguished itself with a four-player split-screen multiplayer mode.
5. Half-Life (1998)
Since its inception, the first-person shooter genre has generally been about action and fast-paced battles. The creators of Half-Life changed this by making the story as compelling a part of the game as the combat system. Half-Life is the genre of awesome story shooters like BioShock, and this influence was felt for several years after the first game’s release.
6. Counter-Strike (2000)
Just one example of Half-Life’s influence on the industry is Counter-Strike, which started as a fan mod. The unique and addictive gameplay still inspires game makers – recent examples include Valorant and Rogue Company. The project, which started as a fan mode for Half-Life, eventually got its own franchise, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive remains one of the most popular games among cyber sportsmen.
7. Halo: Combat Evolved (2001)
The game from the launch line of the original Xbox proved to be one of the best on the entire platform – and it can be called perhaps one of the most influential for the FPS genre since the release of the first Doom. Not only did it offer controller-friendly controls, but it also emphasized multiplayer modes. Halo 2 also deserves a mention – as the popularizer of Xbox Live and online modes in games. The series is still a flagship for Microsoft.
8. Team Fortress 2 (2007)
Nowadays shooters with the possibility to choose one of the charismatic heroes are not rare, and Team Fortress 2 has a lot to thank for that. It has long been one of the most popular games on Steam and inspired Blizzard to create Overwatch.
9. Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007)
The first three Call of Duty games were great shooters in the World War II setting, but the fourth installment took the franchise to the next level. The single-player campaign has inspired an entire generation of story-based shooters with its combination of great action and unexpected story twists. The multiplayer mode deserves special praise, which other developers are still trying to copy with varying degrees of success.
10. Overwatch (2016)
As already mentioned, this game was inspired by Team Fortress 2. The creators significantly refined the concept of the hero shooter: if in TF2 the characters represented a specific class, in Overwatch the player already had a choice within one class. Characters of the same position differ not only in weapons and skills but also in design, character, and history. Also, Overwatch in many ways popularized the loot boxes – although not all gamers are ready to praise it for that.
11. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (2017)
Technically PUBG is played in both first- and third-person perspectives, but it’s hard to argue about the game’s influence on the FPS genre. It was the game that brought “battle royale” into vogue and largely inspired the phenomenally popular Fortnite. Most of today’s “kingdom battles” use mechanics from PUBG, although it itself has already given way to other representatives of the sub-genre. But now players have lost their great interest in this game because of the large number of innovations and a really good aimbot for Pubg.
12. Far Cry (2004)
Far Cry was originally a Crytek game and was created more as a demonstration of their graphics engine. Simple storyline about the secret laboratory with mutants on a tropical island, decent shooting and very large levels with controllable transports – that was the only thing that could boast the game.
Far Cry was not something outstanding, but still memorable. The series became something special only after it was taken over by Ubisoft, which used the brand to experiment with open-world shooters.