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Counter-Strike creator Minh Le talks all things FPS

From Counter-Strike to VR via Rust and Tactical Intervention.

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First-person shooters remains hugely popular, with games like Doom, Overwatch, Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare being amongst the most popular out or coming this year, and thus we sat down with Counter-Strike co-creator Minh Le to talk about the genre and what it means in this day and age.

"I think the FPS genre is actually quite healthy right now," Le said. "I think there was a bit of a lull five years ago when MOBAs were very popular and you know people weren't playing as many FPS games. But now with CS:GO becoming very popular in the esports scene, I think FPSs are really taking a resurgence in popularity and like you're seeing games like Overwatch, and Battlefield is always popular, so yeah I think the FPS genre never really died out but it's still always going to remain a popular genre for the years to come".

When we asked whether he expected Counter-Strike to become so popular, Le responded that "I was just happy that the game would make me money just to survive for a few years so to see it last over the period of 20 years - it's really amazing. I think it's kind of indicative of how simple that the game design is - it's lasted this long".

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Counter-Strike creator Minh Le talks all things FPSCounter-Strike creator Minh Le talks all things FPSCounter-Strike creator Minh Le talks all things FPS
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, following in the footsteps on Le's co-creation.

Le also holds a high opinion of Global Offensive as well. "I think it's really, really well polished and I think it's just really accessible for new players". He also said that matchmaking has improved significantly and that new players don't get as frustrated as they would 20 years ago, now that they are matched on skill level.

Regarding what could be the next step for CS, Le thought "the player base appreciates the simplicity of Counter-Strike that I can't really imagine there being anything that hasn't been tried before". Shields had been introduced to the game but players ultimately wanted the original formula, so Le said that he can't imagine with its polish that any more could be done to improve it.

We also touched briefly upon Tactical Intervention. "Well that game was a big failure because I think we went into that game with... I think we bit off more than we can chew really". There were issues such as a lack of balance and polish resulting from only a short period to test it and another reason for its failure was that "we didn't properly monetise the game" leading to further unbalance.

Counter-Strike creator Minh Le talks all things FPS
Counter-Strike creator Minh Le talks all things FPSCounter-Strike creator Minh Le talks all things FPSCounter-Strike creator Minh Le talks all things FPS
Tactical Intervention failed to take the world by storm.

When asked about whether he would ever make an FPS again, Le responded: "I think I would want to avoid FPSs for now because I think FPSs have reached kind of life a zenith", before going on to say that "I think they've reached a point where I don't see there's much more innovation to bring to FPSs that haven't already been done".

Using the examples of Counter-Strike, Battlefield and Call of Duty, he said that each game uses its own system and as a game designer Le would feel there's no more for him to explore himself.

His role on Rust, then, "is much less prominent than when I was in Counter-strike" he said. "I'm more of just an artist, I help out with the animations for the characters and the weapons". He decided to take this backseat because he felt "burnt out" without any more innovation to bring, working on a project that's "much less stress".

He did update us on the game though, saying there will be a new XP system as right now "there's no longevity, there's no persistence to your growth" and so there will be a system "where your character is gaining experience and as he gains experience he is able to do more things further down the road". Vehicles may also be added in the future as well.

VR was another talking point from the discussion and Le doesn't "really see a motivation to make a game in VR because of the limitations it has, and the biggest one it has it just the movement right now, because right now there's no solution for us to do proper movement in VR. All other VR games we've seen are really limited in scope in that they all take place in a very small room and you know the player's not really allowed to move that much". This is key for Le and he doesn't see VR fulfilling potential without solving this problem.

Counter-Strike creator Minh Le talks all things FPS
Rust is the game that Le's currently working on.


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