If you want to call a game an arena shooter, there's a few fundamental things it needs to have. First, it needs to be fast paced. Second, it needs to put gunplay, item pick-ups, and unique characters at the forefront. Game modes such as Capture the flag, Team Death Match, and Free for All are typical mainstays of genre.
However, there's been a bit of a misunderstanding in the modern era of gaming about whether or not LawBreakers from Boss Key Productions is actually an arena shooter at all. Kids, I hate to break it to you, and I'll bet my paycheck on it: It's not. It never will be, which is great, and something that even I myself as an arena shooter fan is proud to hear.
But, you may want to know why this is. So let's take a peek.
How Arena Shooters Differ From LawBreakers
So let me clear a bit of dust out of the air for you. Now that you may have calmed down a bit, if you needed to at all, arena shooters are a unique breed of game. You can thank games such as DOOM, Quake and Unreal Tournament for this.
They are games that give every player an identical base gun. Most of the time your weapon is just enough to get you by, get a few hits in, and maneuver as quickly as possible to some health packs, armor, or more powerful weapons. The arena shooter genre is fast paced, and without custom loadouts you won't see kits like you do in most shooters. Instead weapons and items are pick-ups, which is something you don't quite get in games like LawBreakers.
Arena Shooters Don't Often Feature Classes Or Roles
I know this is going to make your brain hurt a bit. We are in a world where classes are a big deal and most of us love having a bit of variety in our loadouts. Let's be clear. Arena shooters can have classes. Quake Champions from id Software is one such game and it works out quite well for them, but do take note, not many FPS arena shooters do use that mechanic. It's just not their thing.
Instead, arena shooters typically like to keep it simple. This is a stripped down experience you will get in games such as DOOM and Unreal Tournament or even Quake Live. Easy enough, right? Great! Now Let's see why LawBreakers and Overwatch are absolutely dominating the class-based genre.
Even Though LawBreakers Isn't an Arena Shooter, It's Still Great.
Lets be clear, these are different but still great games, and even the free-to-play Paladins from Hi-Rez is a solid choice. If you aren't a fan of the fact they aren't really arena shooters, it doesn't mean these aren't great titles. Both Overwatch and LawBreakers are magnificent games and them being in a category of their own is actually quite awesome. It's something they should be proud of since it gives them their own unique identity and makes them stand out from the crowd.
Just remember. They're class based shooters. Not arena shooters.
What do you think? Do you think we should stop putting games into sub genres?