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Bleszinski: No "COD shooter pie" left

"It's not enough just to make a shooter."

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Image credit: Eurogamer

Epic design chief Cliff Bleszinski reckons developers that attempt to emulate Activision's shooter behemoth Call of Duty are barking up the wrong tree.

"We joked earlier about the modern COD shooter pie, and trying to get a piece of that," the Gears of War developer told Eurogamer's Christian Donlan at a recent London press event. "There's no pie left, dude.

"There's room for one and two, and then you're done after that. You either have to find a section of the market that hasn't existed before, or gamers might not have thought about for a long time, and then find a new spin on it."

Call of Duty is one of the most popular game series in the world. November 2010's Black Ops is the fastest-selling game of all time. It sold a staggering 5.6 million copies in just one day.

EA's Medal of Honor game, which launched before Black Ops, was seen as a direct assault on Call of Duty's dominance over the shooter market.

While MOH failed to seriously dent Call of Duty's dominance, EA has reiterated its stance. EA boss John Riccitiello said last year, "If I had to pick the story I'd like to play out next year it's we ship a 90 [Metacritic score] and they ship an 85.

"What I've witnessed a couple of times in the games industry is the way you unseat a market leader is you make a better game a couple of times in a row.

"I have great expectations to do a lot better in 2011 than in 2010 on the strength of a couple of products like Bulletstorm and Crysis [2], but most importantly for us, Battlefield 3, which I feel incredibly good about."

For Bleszinski, it is now "necessary" for developers to avoid replicating the experience Call of Duty offers and instead aim for something very different.

"You're in a world where there aren't just other games to compete with," he said. "You've got social networking, collegehumour and youtube. It's not enough just to make a shooter."

This, according to Bleszinski, is where the Epic Games and People Can Fly collaboration Bulletstorm comes in.

"I think that's what PCF has accomplished here. It makes you think differently about how you kill. Once you get used to the Skillshot system and then you go back to another game, you miss it. That's to me a great sign of the evolution of a genre."

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