Third-person shooter

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Third-person shooter (TPS) is a subgenre of 3D shooter games in which the gameplay consists primarily of shooting. It is closely related to first-person shooters, but with the player character visible on-screen during play. While 2D shoot 'em up games also employ a third-person perspective, the TPS genre is distinguished by having the game presented with the player's avatar as a primary focus of the camera's view.

Contents

Definition

An illustration of a protagonist whom a player controls and a tracking camera just behind, slightly above, and slightly facing down towards that character. Number-person views.png
An illustration of a protagonist whom a player controls and a tracking camera just behind, slightly above, and slightly facing down towards that character.

A third-person shooter is a game structured around shooting, [1] and in which the player can see the avatar on-screen in a third-person view. [1] [2] Third-person shooters are distinguished from other shooter games that may present the game from a third-person view such as shoot 'em ups, as the game is presented with the player's avatar as a primary focus of the camera's view. [3] Third-person shooters are analogous to first-person shooters in terms of immersion, but simply displace the camera from being at the eyes of the character to a point slightly above and behind them in most cases. [3] [4]

Design

It is a 3D genre that grew to prominence during the 2000s, especially on game consoles. It features shooter game elements, sometimes combining these with the jumping and climbing elements of puzzle-based games and brawlers. Third-person shooter games sometimes incorporate an aim-assist feature to compensate for the difficulty of aiming from a third-person camera. Many include some form of first-person view, which allows precise shooting and looking around at environment features that are otherwise hidden from the default camera. In early examples of the genre, the player would often be required to stand still to use first-person view, but newer titles allow the player to play like a FPS.

Relationship to first-person shooters

These games are closely related to first-person shooters, [5] which also tie the perspective of the player to an avatar, [6] distinguished only in a minor change of position of the player camera. [7] While the first-person perspective allows players to aim and shoot without their avatar blocking their view, [6] the third-person shooter shows the protagonist from an "over the shoulder shot" or "behind the back" perspective. [5] [8] Thus, the third-person perspective allows the game designer to create a more strongly characterized avatar [6] and directs the player's attention as in watching a film. In contrast, a first-person perspective provides the player with greater immersion into the game universe. [9]

This difference in perspective has some effects on gameplay. Third-person shooters allow players to see the area surrounding the avatar more clearly. [6] This viewpoint facilitates more interaction between the character and their surrounding environment, such as the use of tactical [[system] in Gears of War , [10] or navigating tight quarters. [11] As such, the third-person perspective is better for interacting with objects in the game world, such as jumping on platforms, engaging in close combat, or driving a vehicle. However, the third-person perspective can interfere with tasks that require fine aiming. [12]

Third-person shooters sometimes compensate for their distinct perspective by designing larger, more spacious environments than first-person shooters. [13]

The boundaries between third-person and first-person shooters are not always clear. For example, many third-person shooters allow the player to use a first-person viewpoint for challenges that require precise aiming, while others simply allow a player to freely switch between first and third-person perspectives at will. [6] The first-person shooter Halo: Combat Evolved was actually designed as a third-person shooter, but added a first-person perspective to improve the interface for aiming and shooting. [14] The game switches to a third-person viewpoint when the avatar is piloting a vehicle, [6] and this combination of first-person for aiming and third-person for driving has since been used in other games. [15] Metroid Prime is another first-person shooter that switches to a third-person perspective when rolling around the environment using the morph ball. [16] Many games in the genre such as the ARMA series and its descendants (including the popular battle-royale shooter PUBG) allow players to freely transition between first and third-person perspectives at will.

Alexander R. Galloway writes that the "real-time, over-the-shoulder tracking shots of Gus Van Sant's Elephant evoke third-person shooter games like Max Payne , a close cousin of the FPS". [17]

History

2D and pseudo-3D shooters

2D third-person shooters have existed since the earliest days of video games, [18] dating back to Spacewar! (1962); [18] third-person perspective shooting is also featured in its clones, Galaxy Game (1971) and Computer Space (1971). [19] Arcade shooters with a 3D third-person perspective include Nintendo's Radar Scope (1979), [20] Atari's Tempest (1981), [21] Nihon Bussan's Tube Panic (1983), [22] Sega's Space Harrier (1985), [23] Atari's Xybots (1987), [24] and Square's 3-D WorldRunner (1987). [25] and JJ (1987) [26] Third-person shooters for home computers include Dan Gorlin's Airheart (1986) [27] and Paul Norman's Beyond Forbidden Forest (1986). [28]

Konami's run & gun shooter Contra (1987) featured several third-person shooter levels where the player trudges through indoor enemy bases. [29] Konami's Devastators (1988) [30] is a third-person shooter [31] where, rather than moving forward automatically, the player walks forward by holding the Up direction, as the background slowly scales toward the screen. Devastators also featured various obstacles that could be used to take cover from enemy fire, [30] as well as two-player cooperative gameplay. [32] A similar shooter released that same year was Cabal (1988), [33] which inspired many of its own "Cabal clones," such as NAM-1975 (1990) and Wild Guns (1994). [34] Kurt Kalata of Hardcore Gaming 101 cites Sega's Last Survivor (1988), released for arcades and then ported to the FM Towns and FM Towns Marty, featuring eight-player deathmatch. He notes that it has a perspective and split-screen similar to Xybots, but with entirely different gameplay and controls. [35]

3D polygon shooters

In 1993, Namco released a two-player competitive 3D third-person shooter vehicle combat game, Cyber Sled . [36] A year later, Elite Systems Ltd. released Virtuoso on the 3DO. This was an early example of a home console third-person shooter which featured a human protagonist on-foot, as opposed to controlling a vehicle, and made use of polygonal 3D graphics along with sprites in a 3D environment. [37] Fade to Black (1995) was also a fully 3D third-person shooter released around this time, but as well as featuring an on-foot protagonist rather than a vehicle, utilised entirely polygonal 3D graphics. [38]

Tomb Raider (1996) by Eidos Interactive (now Square Enix Europe) is claimed by some commentators as a third-person shooter, [2] [5] [39] [40] [41] and Jonathan S. Harbour of the University of Advancing Technology argues that it's "largely responsible for the popularity of this genre". [5] Other commentators have considered it influential on later third person shooters such as BloodRayne (2002), [39] The Contra Adventure (1998), [42] MDK (1997), [43] Duke Nukem: Time To Kill (1998), [44] Burning Rangers (1998), [45] and Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K. 2 (2000). [41] The game eschewed the popular first person perspective of games such as Doom , instead making use of "third person" viewpoints, wide 3D environments and a control system inspired by Prince of Persia . [8] [46] Mega Man Legends (1997) by Capcom is another early 3D third person shooter which took a different approach to the genre, mixing this with a role-playing game influence. Around the same time, Deathtrap Dungeon (1998) by Eidos Interactive and MediEvil (1998) by SCE Cambridge Studio (then Millennium Interactive) were some of the first 3D games in the genre to include third person shooter influences in a fantasy setting, with fictional or alternative weapons achieving the same effect as a gun for the player. Die Hard Trilogy (1998) by Fox Interactive was met with critical acclaim at the time of its release, [47] [48] and the section of the game based around the first Die Hard film in the trilogy was another early take on a 3D third person shooter.

Star Fox: Assault features third-person combat with several types of firearms. Total kills are visible on the top right of the screen, as are enemies on a radar screen on the bottom right. StarFoxAssaultScreenshot.JPG
Star Fox: Assault features third-person combat with several types of firearms. Total kills are visible on the top right of the screen, as are enemies on a radar screen on the bottom right.

Syphon Filter (1999) by Eidetic (now Bend Studio) combined the perspective of Tomb Raider with action elements of games such as GoldenEye 007 (1997) and Metal Gear Solid (1998). [49] Richard Rouse III wrote in GamaSutra that the game was the most popular third person shooter for the PlayStation. [50] The Nintendo 64 version of Army Men: Sarge's Heroes by The 3DO Company was released the same year as Syphon Filter, and is an early example of a popular third person shooter which introduced the player being allowed to control aiming of their weapon themselves by means of two control sticks. In Tomb Raider and Syphon Filter, on the other hand, the protagonists automatically aimed at antagonists. [8] [50] Forcing or allowing the player to control aiming themselves, either using control sticks or a mouse, would go on to become commonplace in later games in the genre, such as Oni (2001), Max Payne (2001) and SOCOM (2002). [50] Max Payne (2001) was acclaimed as a superlative third person shooter, inspired by Hong Kong action cinema. [51] Several platform games with third-person shooter elements were also released during that time; examples included Ratchet & Clank and most of the games in the Jak and Daxter series, both of which were designed for younger audiences than most third-person shooters.

Resident Evil 4 (2005) was influential in helping to redefine the third-person shooter genre, [52] with its use of "over the shoulder" offset camera angles, where the camera is placed directly over the right shoulder and therefore doesn't obscure the action. [53] An important gameplay mechanic that helped revolutionize third-person shooters in the past decade was the cover system. Koei's WinBack (1999) [54] has a cover system. Kill Switch (2003) features the cover system as its core game mechanic, [55] along with a blind fire mechanic. [56] Gears of War (2006) and Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (2007) employed tactical elements such as taking cover, [57] influenced by Kill Switch, [58] using off-center viewpoints inspired by Resident Evil 4. The game also employed grittier themes than other titles and used a unique feature which rewarded the player for correctly reloading weapons. [59] Gears of War, as well as games such as Army of Two (2008), place a greater emphasis on two player cooperative play, [60] as does Resident Evil 5 (2009). [61] [62] As of 2009, the third-person shooter genre has a large audience outside Japan, particularly in North America. [63] Vanquish (2010) by PlatinumGames featured a gameplay style reminiscent of bullet hell shooters, with bullets and missiles coming from all directions. [64]

The third-person shooter genre is still quite popular in contemporary gaming circles. In 2012, Rockstar Games released Max Payne 3 , which was praised for its refined gameplay. In 2015, Nintendo published multiplayer third-person shooter game Splatoon for the Wii U, which was followed by a sequel for Nintendo Switch in 2017, which has become one of the console's highest selling games. In the late 2010s, the third-person shooter battle royale game Fortnite Battle Royale saw huge popularity. The survival horror games Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis were remade in 2019 and 2020 respectively, featuring third-person shooter gameplay similar to Resident Evil 4.

See also

Related Research Articles

Platform games are a video game genre and subgenre of action games in which the core objective is to move the player character between points in a rendered environment. Platform games are characterized by their level design featuring uneven terrain and suspended platforms of varying height that requires use of the player character's abilities to navigate the player's environment and reach their goal. Other acrobatic maneuvers may factor into the gameplay as well, such as climbing, swinging from objects such as vines or grappling hooks, jumping off walls, air dashing, gliding through the air, being shot from cannons or bouncing from springboards or trampolines. Games where jumping is automated completely, such as 3D games in The Legend of Zelda series, fall outside of the genre.

Resident Evil, known in Japan as Biohazard, is a Japanese horror video game series and media franchise created by Capcom. The franchise follows stories about biological weapons and viral incidents. The game series consists of survival horror, third-person shooter, and first-person shooter games. The franchise has expanded into a live-action film series, animated films, television series, comic books, novels, audio dramas, and other media and merchandise.

Stealth game Video game genre

A stealth game is a type of video game in which the player primarily uses stealth to avoid or overcome opponents. Games in the genre typically allow the player to remain undetected by hiding, sneaking, or using disguises. Some games allow the player to choose between a stealthy approach or directly attacking antagonists, but rewarding the player for greater use of stealth. The genre has employed espionage, counter-terrorism, and rogue themes, with protagonists who are special forces operatives, special agents, spies, thieves, ninjas, or assassins. Some games have also combined stealth elements with other genres, such as first-person shooters and platformers.

Shoot em up Subgenre of shooter game

Shoot 'em ups are a sub-genre of shooter video games, which are in turn a sub-genre of action video games. There is no consensus as to which design elements compose a shoot 'em up; some restrict the definition to games featuring spacecraft and certain types of character movement, while others allow a broader definition including characters on foot and a variety of perspectives.

Survival horror Subgenre of action-adventure video games

Survival horror is a subgenre of action-adventure and horror video games that focuses on survival of the character as the game tries to frighten players with either horror graphics or scary ambience. Although combat can be part of the gameplay, the player is made to feel less in control than in typical action games through limited ammunition or weapons, health, speed and vision, or through various obstructions of the player's interaction with the game mechanics. The player is also challenged to find items that unlock the path to new areas and solve puzzles to proceed in the game. Games make use of strong horror themes, like dark mazelike environments and unexpected attacks from enemies.

Action game Action video game genre

An action game is a video game genre that emphasizes physical challenges, including hand–eye coordination and reaction-time. The genre includes a large variety of sub-genres, such as fighting games, beat 'em ups, shooter games and platform games. Multiplayer online battle arena and some real-time strategy games are also considered action games.

Action-adventure game Action-adventure video game genre

Action-adventure is a video game genre that combines core elements from both the action game and adventure game genres.

Shooter game Action video game genre

Shooter video games or shooters are a subgenre of action video games where the focus is almost entirely on the defeat of the character's enemies using the weapons given to the player. Usually these weapons are firearms or some other long-range weapons, and can be used in combination with other tools such as grenades for indirect offense, armor for additional defense, or accessories such as telescopic sights to modify the behavior of the weapons. A common resource found in many shooter games is ammunition, armor or health, or upgrades which augment the player character's weapons.

Shinji Mikami Japanese video game designer, director and producer

Shinji Mikami is a Japanese video game designer, director, and producer. Starting his career at Capcom in 1990, he went on to direct many of the company's biggest titles. He directed the first installment of the Resident Evil series in 1996 and the first installment of the Dino Crisis series in 1999, both being survival horror games. He returned to Resident Evil to direct the remake of the first game in 2002 and the third-person shooter Resident Evil 4 in 2005. In 2006, he directed his final Capcom game God Hand, a beat 'em up action game. Mikami worked at PlatinumGames to direct the third-person shooter Vanquish in 2010. The same year, he founded his own studio Tango Gameworks which has since been acquired by the American company ZeniMax Media. Under his studio, he directed the third-person horror game The Evil Within in 2014. He has also served the roles of producer and executive producer for many games.

ABA Games Japanese video game developer

ABA Games is a Japanese video game developer, composed solely of game designer Kenta Cho. ABA Games' works, available as open source, are predominantly shoot 'em up games often inspired by classic games in the genre. Its games feature stylised retro graphics, innovative gameplay features and modes and feature random rather than scripted events. These creations have been acclaimed as some of the best independent games available, though some commentators, including Cho himself, feel they are too simple for commercial release.

Beat em up Subgenre of action game featuring hand-to-hand combats

Beat 'em up is a video game genre featuring hand-to-hand combat between the protagonist and an improbably large number of opponents. Traditional beat 'em ups take place in scrolling, two-dimensional (2D) levels, while a number of modern games feature more open three-dimensional (3D) environments with yet larger numbers of enemies. The gameplay tends to follow arcade genre conventions, such as being simple to learn but difficult to master, and the combat system tends to be more highly developed than other side-scrolling action games. Two-player cooperative gameplay and multiple player characters are also hallmarks of the genre. Most of these games take place in urban settings and feature crime-fighting and revenge-based plots, though some games may employ historical, science fiction or fantasy themes.

<i>Syphon Filter</i> (video game) Third-person shooter stealth video game

Syphon Filter is a third-person shooter stealth video game developed by Eidetic and published by 989 Studios exclusively for PlayStation. The plot centres on special agents Gabriel "Gabe" Logan and Lian Xing who are tasked by the United States government to apprehend a German international terrorist.

In video games, first person is any graphical perspective rendered from the viewpoint of the player's character, or a viewpoint from the cockpit or front seat of a vehicle driven by the character. The most popular type of first-person video game today is the first-person shooter (FPS), in which the graphical perspective is an integral component of the gameplay. Many other genres incorporate first-person perspectives, including other types of shooter games, adventure games, amateur flight simulations, racing games, role-playing video games, and vehicle simulations.

Light gun shooter Shooter video game genre

Light gun shooter, also called light gun game or simply gun game, is a shooter video game genre in which the primary design element is aiming and shooting with a gun-shaped controller. Light gun shooters revolve around the protagonist shooting targets, either antagonists or inanimate objects. Light gun shooters generally feature action or horror themes and some may employ a humorous, parodic treatment of these conventions. These games typically feature "on-rails" movement, which gives the player control only over aiming; the protagonist's other movements are determined by the game. Games featuring this device are sometimes termed "rail shooters", though this term is also applied to games of other genres in which "on-rails" movement is a feature. Some, particularly later, games give the player greater control over movement and in still others the protagonist does not move at all.

A variety of computer graphic techniques have been used to display video game content throughout the history of video games. The predominance of individual techniques have evolved over time, primarily due to hardware advances and restrictions such as the processing power of central or graphics processing units.

First-person shooter Action video game genre

First-person shooter (FPS) is a sub-genre of shooter video games centered on gun and other weapon-based combat in a first-person perspective, with the player experiencing the action through the eyes of the protagonist and controlling the player character in a three-dimensional space. The genre shares common traits with other shooter games, and in turn falls under the action game genre. Since the genre's inception, advanced 3D and pseudo-3D graphics have challenged hardware development, and multiplayer gaming has been integral.

Cover system Video game gameplay mechanic

A cover system is a video game gameplay mechanic that allows a virtual avatar to hide from and avoid dangers, usually in a three-dimensional world. This method is a digital adaptation of the real-life military tactic of taking cover behind obstacles, for purposes of attaining protection from enemy ranged or area effect attacks, such as gunfire or explosions.

A horror game is a video game genre centered on horror fiction and typically designed to scare the player. Unlike most other video game genres, which are classified by their gameplay, horror games are nearly always based on narrative or visual presentation, and use a variety of gameplay types.

A photography game is a form of video game in which taking photographs using the in-game camera system is a key game mechanic. Photography games often employ mechanics similar to a first-person shooter, but rather than using a gun to kill enemies, the aim is to use a camera to take photographs of the game world. Depending on the game, the act might incapacitate or defeat enemies, or the player might receive points or experience according to the composition of the photograph.

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