Many games feature guns. It’s a shame so many of them can’t feature them properly.
Like, a gun isn’t just an outlet for player commands, a thing that shoots other things at things. A good video game gun should give something back in return: a sense of heft, or power, or satisfaction, or even all of the above.
In an attempt to pin this down, game designer and blogger Michel Sabbagh has written some commandments to making a good video game gun and I’m sharing them here because they look pretty solid.
Basically, they need to look good, sound good (read: LOUD), feel good (read: powerful animation and recoil) and shoot good (by including a distinctive or alternate firing mode that makes it seem unique).
I’d add another, more nebulous factor, one as reliant on a game’s engine as any individual developer’s ability: how “snappy” it is. Call of Duty has owned the shooting world for over a decade not for it’s setting or storyline, but because it has achieved (or got close on console) a framerate of 60FPS. Married to the way its guns snap in and out of iron sight mode, this has long made the pulling of a trigger in the games—the one thing they needed to get right over anything else—an absolute joy.
Sabbagh lists a few games that have got it right, from the woefully underrated Black on PS2 to the Syndicate FPS game. What would you add? Destiny’s guns have always been a blast for me, and while Doom’s variant has its fans, I’ve always thought Half-Life 2’s shotgun was the better example...