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With CliffyB’s new announcement of Blue Streak just now and other indie companies trying to bring it back, is the arena shooter really coming back in a big way?
It’s been less than a week since Cliff Bleszinski announced his new studios and the former Gears of War designer is under a shroud of mystery as to what titles he will be producing, although we do know that a game under construction will be known as Blue Streak and will be a PC only free to play Sci-Fi Shooter. Blue Streak is in the very early stages of development with currently only twelve developers on the team but while this sounds like a small number he would probably hope to up this number closer to release. Will this lead to a new wave of arena shooters entering the market?
For those struggling to understand what an arena shooter is, Quake, Unreal Tournament, Gears of War and Halo are all arena shooters whereas Team Fortress, Battlefield and COD are class based shooters. A few things that seperate class shooters from arena shooters is that all players spawn with equal opportunity and ability so the encounter cannot be predicated with a arena shooter, The player is not given instant weapons at spawn and must attain them on the map, whereas in COD you have the ability to choose a class before the game for example. When I think back to my childhood I think to one of my favorite arena shooters Timesplitters 2. I remember all of the fun I had with my best friends all crouched around a CRT playing the multiplayer to death. It brings a great sense of nostalgia to my gaming and I’m sure others have exactly the same memories with Quake and Halo. It has been a while a big staple arena shooter has been released and Blue Streak being announced may give a kick to the butt of other developers who think there could be a few bucks to be made by entering either a remake or even a new title into the gaming world.
I think that the companies should be focusing on making brand new titles to try and reinvent the genre. When I revisit the Quakes and Timesplitters of yesteryear on their respected consoles they haven’t aged well and don’t look great on any television in 720p or above, obviously due to the hardware and software limitations at the time. The rumors of Blue Streak using the Unreal Engine 4 could be seen as exciting with a possible next gen arena game coming to PC and possibly venturing onto the PS4 and Xbox One. I recently visited a Timesplitters Facebook fan page calling for a HD remake of it’s previous three titles and I have to say it isn’t a bad idea. If a company was to reinvigorate an aging popular title such as Quake, glossing it with current gen graphics, slipping in a 64+ player map server architecture, and whacking it up on steam for a reasonable price I could honestly see it doing well and will give us older gamers the chance to relive our youths but I think with the way PC gaming and shooter titles like COD and Battlefield are going, it could be the right time to introduce another arena title as these games are becoming a little stale with ever boring campaigns, hackers glitching their wins, and online multiplayer that seems to be in decline.
Arguably one of the most popular arena titles is the Halo series (although admittedly I Shamefully never played any Halo games) and there has never been a proper arena title for the PC. People are using roms on PC to revisit the classic but if Blue Streak does well then there could be an avenue for 343 industries to reintroduce a remake or a new Halo title which would undoubtedly excite fans. Only time will tell if the genre will make a big comeback but the possibility is exciting and I’ll be following Blue Streak closely. What do you think? Do you believe the genre has a chance to make a big comeback? Let us know in the comments below.