1. Well said, sir. My hat’s off to you!

    One of my favorite moments of 2012 was when I heard that Minecraft 360 had surpassed MW3 as the top download on XBLA. That gave me hope. This gives me more. I think there is a good reason that I find myself drawn to play games like Bastion, Minecraft, Kerbal Space Program or Ilo Milo while Red Dead Redemption and Skyrim wait in the wings. Do I have fun playing the latter titles? Sure. But when I come home from a serious day at work, I would much rather sit down with a whimsical story or a creative outlet than an equally serious struggle for a virtual life.

  2. Jim Perry

    You go boy! :D

    I guess I got lucky. I’ve never had the desire to do an FPS. Doing an RPG is a whole other story. :D

  3. Ernest leitch

    I’m glad to see more options available for gamers tired of the blood bath. A game 3hrs long with no violence can win game of the year. I hope this will show studios that there are different ways to entertain without shooting everyone in the face.

  4. In 1955, Edward R. Murrow noted the great potential of video, and the likelihood that advertising and marketing would distort its use – in ways that distort our important realities. For 57 years his prediction has become our reality.

  5. Zach

    “…the short-circuited route to endorphins triggered by lining up a 32×32 pixel crosshair over a collection of triangles”

    Clearly, you should be in marketing writing game descriptions.

    Great read.

  6. Someone just shared this on Twitter, and I wanted to hug you.

    I am so tired of shooters, so tired of the impression of our hobby being shooters, and so tired of being told my gaming preferences (which tend towards strategy and role-playing) are worthless.

    I just wish I didn’t have to have a touch-screen to support you directly.

  7. Charles Cox

    Thank you Krellen! I’m investigating a title for PC, so stay tuned. Thanks so much for your support!

  8. I was so glad to read this. I am passionated about game-based learning and games for change, and it can be hard to convince corporations that their people can learn from games – because their mental model is always first-person shooter ones. They don’t want anything to do with games – if that’s what games are about.

    Most people play games because they find it fun to strategize, problem-solve, overcome challenges, etc. There are amazingly cool ways for people to do this without shooting everyone in sight.

  9. Riviin

    As a Gamer at the age of 26 and having played most genre’s throughout the last 10+ years, FPS games was always high on the list for me to play. CounterStrike COD, BF etc… but over the last year I have totally lost all interest in these FPS games.. Give me something with depth, an adventure, puzzle solving any day. Everything you have said is bloody spot on and I wish you well on your future endeavours. I think the tide is changing because through my circle of gaming friends from all over the country (and overseas) which I have become friends with in real life as well are all thinking along the same lines… FPS meh..

  10. Ice Kold Killa

    OH MY GOD! I wish there were more people like you! I hope to do this one day if I ever have enough people paying attention, and tell those people truths. Truths is very general but I’m not sure what I would want to say. There’s things on my mind I hope to tell every person I can. Things certain people don’t want out or don’t mind as long as it’s not big in the sense of people listening to me. Anyways, thanks for doing this and I hope someone else in ANY industry can take this and apply it to their own situation because sadly most things are run by money one way or another and people need to start doing what THEY want and follow their own dreams and have the same companies have their backs instead of asking for the same bullshit just because money is involved. Do what makes you happy.

  11. Sasha

    I used to play early FPSs like crazy. Duke Nukem 3D was the shit. The nights I stayed up all night blasting fiends and Shamblers in Quake I can’t count.

    Then, something happened.

    I can remember exactly when it happened. Doom 3. I fired it up, and was struck by something I just hadn’t felt before.

    This is just TOO DAMNED REALISTIC.

    Duke Nukem was a joke, a cartoon. Quake was a dark cartoon, but it still required the user to pain in the gaps with their dark imaginations.

    This entire new generation of games, going back ten years…verge into hyper-realism.

    The brain can’t tell what’s on the screen from reality. There is not a distinction between what we see with our eyes on the screen and what we see in reality.

    Who knows what effect it has on subconscious mind, has anyone ever researched this?

    I don’t think it makes people into pyscho killers, of course not. But does it make us more fearful, more likely to see the world as a grisly and threatening place? Shit, are we exposing whole generations to a kind of low grade PTSD?

    I played Doom3 and Crysis pretty much all the way through. Haven’t touched a game like that in years. Part of the reason I do all my work on this trust old Core2Duo business class laptop is to steer off the temptation…

  12. quicktooth

    Greetings mate. I’ve been a gamer for twenty three years now. I am a philosophy student. I agree. The only game I’ve played over and over and over, all these years ( and I have a debilitating health condition so that actually means I watch Let’s Play videos on YouTube), is Darkness Within 2. A game from First person perspective. It has no weapons. You solve puzzles, question your sanity, discover terrible truths, and do your best to investigate. Not murder, not torture, but investigate. The only other games I feel able to play in the same vein are the Deus Ex games- games that don’t demand that you suddenly and at all times become a murderer. Your stand here tells me humanity is not doomed. As I see children murdering each other in record numbers in America, and the teenage murder rate approach the adult one in Japan, I think… we think that murder is an appropriate and fun passtime. We play at this in our GAMES. That would always, just nearly, cost me my faith in humanity. I’ve been waiting for a sign. I think I just got it.

  13. […] SWAT, MAG and SOCOM veteran Charles N Cox has stated that he will never work on another FPS game, saying that the games industry is ready for something new.   “Screw it, I’ve been in the business a full, stormy, self-doubting decade and the world can hear me loud and clear: I will never work on a first-person shooter game, ever again. Period,” the former Microsoft, Sony and Sierra employee wrote in a post on his blog. […]

  14. kamil950

    And actor who played in a movie and pretends to shoot to other actor in shootage, in fight also doing wrong? And writer who writed that someone shot to other also doing wrong? I don’t think so. It’s not real. It’s only for action, adrenaline, fun etc. Today we don’t have that emotions like early human’s hunting.

    But maybe developers could make more games when we shoot to (no real) robots or (not real) monsters etc. not to (also not real) peoples. But is it make a diffrence? I don’t know.

    [Sorry for my English.]

  15. ol school gamer

    you hit the nail on the head sir when you stated GAMING ILLUMINATI
    shame these blind people sucker into their program of killing. dont gamers realize when you play a killing game it effects your choice of decision in real life at a specific moment in anger. this is what the illuminati want you people to think KILL,KILL,KILL. im glad somebody tired of making FIRST PERSON SHOOTERS games and go back to easy fun sidescrolling games.

  16. Robin

    After reading this article, I scrolled down to the comments with some trepidation, expecting it to be full of vitriol from gamers angry at you for criticising FPS. It’s heartening that most of the comments are very supportive, and makes me glad I’m not the only one that’s rather disturbed by just how realistic – and how blood thirsty – FPS have become

  17. Sal

    Yeah we need more guys like you. There is too many guys forced to play cod that miss games like socom. Socom was once a great game and the newest one was developed to be cod. Ruined the game. We need another socom game.

  18. Liz Keating

    I read this post with delight. Finally someone that understands the fundamental tragedy of first person shooter games. I went to see what alternative games Cox is now developing, and my heart was broken. Rather than games that promote good or even neutral behavior in the world, the firm is promoting a different set of deeply disturbing behaviors (stealing and massive property damage) and is lauded for creating highly addictive experiences. I hope someday soon some developer will truly get Superdad’s dilemma. How about as a starter renouncing games that do harm, renounce games that contain behavior that violate the 10 Commandments. I have little hope a major developer will ever want to go so far as actually wanting to support safer, more cooperative and more caring behavior.

  19. Treasure Anonyminity

    You’ve written a poignant piece that highlights a critical industry problem, which is: should we stop to think if we should?

    Humanity has created the most popular murder simulations ever conceived in the last 2 years. What value do they offer society? Do they offer society value outside of financial gains? Do they offer customers values? Should they even exist?

    Prior to your post I never really understood why the Industry so aggressively latched onto such a tired mechanic like shooting people in the face. I understand from a biological perspective, but I didn’t appreciate how perfect an engine the free-market is in creating things the vast public want to buy.

    Charles, I don’t think you have a deep enough appreciation (maybe some other word like respect or awe) for the product of evolution the human male is. We have a deep seated need to murder that is going unfulfilled in our daily civilized lives. This comes from hundreds of thousands of years of evolution and will not be swept away by electricity, democracy, or civility. Strong, deep-seated evolutionary urges like hunting have found their outlet in the FPS. Look at the market demographic, doesn’t that say it all?

    The next questions we should ask: Should we have safe channels for these primal urges? If we did have a safe channel, what would it look like? Should we fix these urges? I look forward to a time when we can tamper directly with our DNA, and assail the root of this problem.

    I understand where you come from that Society should strive, and do the Right Thing, but honestly, the market does try. Lots of small indie developers create beautiful games (I’m thinking about Antichamber, The Stanley Parable, and VVVVVV), but they just don’t get the playtime or attention because they don’t press enough of our evolutionary buttons, the so called four Fs, (Fighting, Fleeing, Feeding, and Fucking).
    Keep in mind while the game ‘isn’t real’, our brain chemistry doesn’t really make that distinction. It still releases dopamine in exactly the same way it would during masturbation, sex, or eating. Each in-game murder is a mini-orgasm, complete with its chemical release, high, and come down. Understanding the biological underpinning of the FPS goes a long way towards understanding their popularity, addictiveness, and seeming lack of creativity.

    Many industries are having this same crisis of conscious. Easy access to sugar is making our generation the fattest yet, because sugar works on *exactly the same reward system*. Our bodies aren’t designed for easy access to sugar, or easy access to the high of killing people, or the easy access to any information anywhere in the world.

    I’m on the fence on this. I, like you, really crave a world where we create awe-inspiring games that will compel future generations to install an emulator and play them (like reading an old book), but I don’t see anyone in the future playing Call of Duty 2, when they could be playing Call of Duty 25.

    As more of our reality becomes electronically mediated, (look at Second Life, speaking of the fours Fs) we’ll begin having more of these discussions on what long term goals the human race wants to achieve using the digital “monkey presses a button, monkey gets a prize, monkey is locked in a dopamine reward cage” that is gaming.
    We could create an entire K-12 curriculum based around mini-games, and coded by the smartest people on earth. Cisco tried something in that vein, and created a $50 game that tests people for networking skills against one of their popular certifications (Cisco Aspire). It didn’t do well, so they’ve stopped supporting it.

    I like your post, but this is a career limiting move, and I wholeheartedly support it.

    I think Node.Hack would do better if it had a playable demo,

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