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Initiator Imitators Description Misc. Winner?
MechWarrior series (1989) Earthsiege series / Starsiege (1994) Mecha-based combat simulator games set in a futuristic sci-fi universe. Several games in these series competed directly. Earthsiege 2 with Mech Warrior 2, as well as Starsiege and Mech Warrior 3. Mech Warrior ultimately won, at least in terms of continuation, as Mech Warrior 4 had no Starsiege counterpart. The company that made Starsiege was eventually closed by their owners after the release of Tribes 2 (an FPS).
MechWarrior (1989) Heavy Gear (1997) Mecha-based combat simulator games set in a futuristic sci-fi universe, based off of popular tabletop games. Mechwarrior is based of the BattleTech game, while Heavy Gear is based of the tabletop game of the same name. These two games were backed by a lot of story, a consequence of their origin as popular competing tabletop wargames. Both Mech Warrior 2 and Heavy Gear 2 were developed by Activision, with Heavy Gear being made after Activision lost the Mech Warrior license. Mostly Mech Warrior. The Mech Warrior series continued to develop sequels and spin-offs for PC and consoles while Heavy Gear's forays into the videogame space ended at the turn of the century despite favorable reception. The BattleTech franchise as a whole entered a period of dormancy in the mid-00s however, when publisher FASA went bankrupt, and no new BattleTech/Mechwarrior games were made until 2012's MechWarrior Online.
Duke Nukem Series (1991) Serious Sam (2001) Over-the-top first person shooters with a one-liner-spewing macho protagonist fighting off an alien invasion. Serious Sam was inspired by and originally based off Duke himself, but his games would include many Take Thats towards Duke, particularly the long-in-development Duke Nukem Forever. Serious Sam's gameplay also involves traversing ancient civilizations (First and Second Encounter) and alien planets (2), whereas Duke Nukem has been primarily about aliens attacking modern-day locations. Duke Nukem is by far the more well-known name among gamers, but Duke Nukem Forever, despite selling better than Serious Sam 3, received poor reviews from both old fans and new gamers, while Sam 3 was generally better-received. Also, Serious Sam 4 was announced in 2018, while Forever truly seems to have been a Franchise Killer. So it looks like Sam won in the end.
Kileak The Blood (1995) Robotica (1995) Japanese First-Person Shooters starring mecha. The plot of both games center around the survivor of a strike-force team exploring the hallways of a hostile complex swarming with Mecha-Mooks. Both games were released within two months of each other on rival consoles, Kileak on the Playstation, Robotica on the Saturn. This is a race race of a company dueling itself as both games were made by Genki for different publishers and shared staff, although Genki's name was obmitted from Robotica's credits and packaging. Both games are obscure and generally considered to be terrible. However Kileak did get a sequel (called Epidemic in the US) and a better-received Spiritual Successor in the form of Brahma Force.
Twisted Metal (1995) Vigilante 8 (1998)

Rogue Trip (1998)
Character-driven vehicular deathmatch. Twisted Metal was the original Playstation 1 car combat game and its sequel, Twisted Metal 2: World Tour was an early blockbuster. The awful 3rd game in the series was pounced on by the more realistic, '70s-styled Vigilante 8 and the underpromoted Rogue Trip; the clear winner was Vigilante 8, but then that series proceeded to release their own flop sequel, V8: Second Offense whose scavenger hunt missions doomed the franchise. Despite a long hiatus, Twisted Metal still lives.
Goldeneye 007 (1997) Turok: Dinosaur Hunter (1997) Nintendo 64 exclusive First-Person Shooter Licensed Games. Turok was a traditional linear shooter in the mold of Doom and Quake with a minimal amount of plot, over-the-top weaponry, and taking place in a Science Fantasy setting based on the Turok comic series from Valiant Comics. Goldeneye was based on the James Bond film of the same name, and used real-world locations and weaponry within complex levels with multiple objectives. Against all expectations, Goldeneye was a massive critical and commercial hit that sold over eight million copies, becoming the third best-selling game on the system behind Super Mario 64 and Mario Kart. It received wide acclaim for its innovative gameplay, impressive level design, and a surprisingly fun multiplayer mode. It is frequently considered one of the most influential games of all time. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter was also successful, selling a respectable 1.5 million copies and given a warm critical reception for its graphical power, satisfying weapons, and open environments. Turok would go on to receive multiple sequels and spin-off games before suffering a Franchise Killer with Turok: Evolution and an unsuccessful reboot in 2008. Goldeneye never received any direct sequels, but got Spiritual Successors in the form of Perfect Dark and the TimeSplitters series, both of which were successes in their own right, as well as a remake by Activision in 2010.
Nanotek Warrior (1997) N2O: Nitrous Oxide (1998) Trippy tube shooters released exclusively on the Playstation. Nanotek Warrior place an emphasis on avoiding obstacles and gives the player craft more mobility. N2O is more about Scoring Points and has really trippy visuals. Both games were financial duds, though N2O seems to be more fondly remembered, likely due to its soundtrack being composed by The Crystal Method.
Half-Life (1998) Si N (1998)

Blood II: The Chosen (1998)
Narrative driven Sci-Fi First-Person Shooters pushing the boundaries of then-current technology and rendering realistic environments. SiN and Half-Life were built on different versions of the iD Tech engine, while Blood II was built on Monolith's proprietary Lithtech 1.0 engine. Tonally, SiN and Blood II were darkly humorous and over-the-top, with talkative protagonists in the vein of Duke Nukem. SiN had more of a hard, realistic sci-fi angle, while Blood II took a Science Fantasy approach. Half-Life, in turn, was more grounded, serious, and atmospheric, with a protagonist who never uttered a word. All three games were released within a three week span, with Half-Life interestingly coming out only a single day before Blood II. Half-Life by a landslide. A massive Sleeper Hit, Half-Life received numerous "Game of the Year" awards, nigh-universal critical acclaim, sold over eight million copies by the time its sequel came out in 2004, and has been regularly cited as one of the most influential shooters ever made, especially in light of its amazing modding potential that jump-started many careers. Both SiN and Blood II were rushed to shelves in Obvious Beta stage and suffered greatly, receiving lukewarm to negative reviews over bugs and lack of polish, though SiN surpassed Blood II in review scores and sales. Blood II only received a single expansion the next August before the series died outright, but Monolith would bounce back with hits like No One Lives Forever, TRON 2.0, and First Encounter Assault Recon, and is still making games two decades on. SiN got an expansion pack the next February, an anime movie in 2000, and then a sequel in 2006 which, ironically, took many steps to follow in the vein of Half-Life's own follow-up before that series too petered out after its first episode, with Ritual Entertainment's absorption into casual games company MumboJumbo.
Unreal Tournament (1999) Quake III: Arena (1999) Game Mod-friendly, multiplayer-only First-Person Shooters showcasing a shiny new game engine. UT was based on a somewhat newer engine (albeit technically an incremental update of the original Unreal engine that debuted the year before), and was lauded for its creative and interesting game design; Q3A came out two days later, with a simpler design and somewhat more Hard Core gameplay. Both games were highly commercially successful, with UT outselling its competitor by a slight margin. UT nailed it commercially and critically, whereas Q3A lasted longer for any form of play beyond recreative. Both games' engines saw about equal third-party use (Unreal Engine 1 is slightly more prolific, with 25 games to id Tech 3's 23), though those based on the latter or derivatives of it (particularly Call of Duty) have generally been more successful and had more lasting influence.
War: Final Assault (1999) Outtrigger (1999) Arena deathmatch-style first person shooters made for arcades. War: Final Assault was made by Atari, while Outtrigger was made by Sega (and thus a rare example of a first person shooter made in Japan). Both games had a counter-terrorist theme, but War had a more gritty sci-fi flavor to it (and notably featured guest characters from Mace: The Dark Age). Outtrigger was also ported to the Dreamcast while War remained arcade-only, though a Nintendo 64 port was in development at one point. Ultimately, first-person shooters in arcades never took off, though Outtrigger saw wider distribution and its Dreamcast port got good reviews.
Counter-Strike (1999) Tactical Ops: Assault on Terror (1999) Asymmetrical team-based multiplayer first person shooters with a terrorist/counter-terrorist-theme originating as mods before getting picked up by a publisher and released as commercial products. Counter-Strike originated as a mod for Half-Life whereas Tactical Ops started out as a mod for Unreal Tournament (under the name SWAT). Both were very similar in terms of gameplay, but Tactical Ops had (even) less focus on realism with quicker player movement and rewarding twitch reflexes over precision. Counter-Strike by miles. Tactical Ops was a fairly popular mod, but the commercial version failed to make much of an impact, and official support was dropped after about two years. Counter-Strike remains supported and played to this day, and has three sequels.
Medal of Honor series (1999) Call of Duty series (2003) FPS series that began with games set during WWII Before going multi-platform, Medal of Honor started on the PlayStation, while Call of Duty was first released years later on PC. Also, MoH games typically focus on a single American protagonist and feature traditional "lone wolf"-style gameplay, while the CoD games are played from the perspective of multiple soldiers of varying nationalities and had a heavy emphasis on squad combat. Incidentally, Call of Duty was initially created by a developer team made up of several former employees of 2015, Inc., who had just worked on Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. Both series were widely acclaimed during their first installments, but while MoH's popularity stalled with a more erratic and less-advertised release schedule later in the '00s, the CoD franchise ascended to the top with its (far more successful) spin-offs. Medal of Honor eventually went the route of trying to play catch-up with Call of Duty, a decision which ultimately seems to have killed the franchise thanks to the disappointing sales of 2012's Medal of Honor: Warfighter.
System Shock 2 (1999) Deus Ex (2000) Both are Cyber Punk themed First Person Shooters with RPG Elements.   Deus Ex. While both were critically acclaimed and persist to this day as Cult Classics, System Shock 2 was a commercial failure and received no further sequels. However, it did inspire the BioShock series.
Twisted Metal Black (2001) Motor Mayhem (2001) Competitive Vehicular Combat games exclusive to the Playstation 2. They were released the same month. Black was very much Darker and Edgier than its predecessors, while Motor Mayhem had silly characters, a bright color scheme and outlandish locals. Ever heard of Motor Mayhem? No? Exactly. TM Black is the clear winner.
Max Payne (2001) Dead to Rights (2002) A Cowboy Cop gets hunted down by the police force he works for, finding himself on a mission to clear his name. Both were influenced by Film Noir and Heroic Bloodshed, feature bullet time gunfights and take place in City Noir locales. Both series made Darker and Edgier shifts in later installments, along with adopting modern Take Cover! gameplay. Dead to Rights was primarily focused on the console market, while Max Payne was developed for PC's before being ported to consoles. Max Payne enjoyed being caught up in the wave of Rockstar-mania created by the hype surrounding Grand Theft Auto III and was a critical and financial darling along with its sequel, with the two games combining to sell 7 million copies. Dead to Rights was received with less enthusiasm and was seen as an attempt to Follow the Leader thanks to releasing shortly after Max Payne, but enjoyed modest success and currently holds status as something of a Cult Classic, though its sequels were less successful with Retribution ending the series after receiving tepid reviews and low sales. Max Payne 3 had a less positive reception than the first two in the series, but it is still considered to be better than any of the Dead to Rights games.
Serious Sam (2001) Will Rock (2003) Budget-priced throwbacks to old-school First-Person Shooter featuring unrelenting hordes of strange enemies. Both have an ancient civilization theme. Serious Sam is set in ancient Egypt (and several other places in The Second Encounter) while Will Rock is inspired by Greek mythology. Serious Sam by a mile. Will Rock was not a big success and was seen by many professional reviewers as a weak copy of Croteam's work, though its reputation has improved over the years.
Halo (2001) Killzone (2004) Futuristic, "hard Sci-Fi" first-person-shooters which cast the player as a member of the military of a NATO-esque Earth Federation battling an invasion by a powerful, technologically advanced totalitarian foreign military power. Both are probably the definitive exclusive FPS for their respective console (Xbox 360 for Halo, PS3 for Killzone. Halo is an overall more colorful and fantasy-like game that casts the player in the role of an elite Super Soldier, and the gameplay is more run-and-gun. Killzone, in contrast, has a grittier, more low-tech setting and casts the player as an ordinary grunt in the Federation army. Gameplay is somewhat more tactical, and cover-based combat plays heavily in the later games in the series. Notably, Killzone was marketed as a "Halo-killer" for the PS2 by Sony (much to the chagrin of the actual developers, who never intended for the comparison to be made). Halo is by far the more successful critically and commercially, alongside Call of Duty it has pretty much become the King of Shooters. In contrast, the original Killzone received mixed to favorable reviews, especially due to the backlash from being pushed as a "Halo-killer". The sequels did much better, and are probably the definitive FPS games for the Playstation 3 console, although they still can't begin to approach Halo's popularity.
Call of Duty series (2003) Battlefield series (2003) Triple-A military First-Person Shooter giants, with the Modern Warfare sub-series and Battlefield 3 and 4 sharing similar settings, and Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: WWII both having World War-based historical settings. These franchises didn't begin as direct rivals, because the Call of Duty series focused more on small-scale squad combat while the Battlefield series emphasized much larger matches. But, some design decisions in the Battlefield series prompted a major Fandom Rivalry which the developers exploited in their marketing. While both are critical and commercial darlings, the Call of Duty series is one of the best selling in history, and is inevitably the one other shooters are more inspired by. Battlefield is still appreciated for its different, wider focus on multiplayer, but the singleplayer campaigns in later games are often accused of being shallow copies of Call of Duty's. However, momentum seems have shifted in 2016 with Battlefield 1 receiving near universal acclaim while Call Of Duty Infinite Warfare, outside of its singleplayer campaign by the few that actually played it, was met with lukewarm reception. Call of Duty: WWII however, was met with a far more welcome reception compared to COD:IW, while Battlefield V was Overshadowed by Controversy over historical inaccuracies and missing content at launch, putting public perception of the two franchises back to the state before again.
Enter the Matrix (2003) Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (2003) Third-person action titles revolving around Bullet Time gunfights and complex narratives in Film Noir-inspired city settings. Both were ambitious in goals: Max Payne 2 focused on cutting-edge graphics and dark storytelling. Enter The Matrix worked alongside the cast and crew of The Matrix Reloaded and had the story written by The Wachowskis themselves to directly tie into the then-upcoming film. The first Max Payne was seen as a Spiritual Licensee of The Matrix due to successfully adapting the film's slow-motion gunplay. Enter The Matrix rode the hype of The Matrix Reloaded to massive commercial success, selling over one million units in the first week and reaching lifetime sales of five million, but was panned by critics for being an Obvious Beta plagued with bugs and unfinished features due to its rushed development, while fans appreciated the story ties to the film but found the gameplay unimpressive. Max Payne 2 was an Acclaimed Flop and only sold two million units over its lifetime, but was widely praised for its writing, polished gameplay and graphical fidelity. Today, Max Payne 2 is regarded as an Even Better Sequel and one of the best shooters of its generation, while Enter The Matrix is seen as an outstanding (though ambitious) example of The Problem with Licensed Games.
Second Sight (2004) Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy (2004) Third-person action titles where the main character is an amnesiac with incredible Psychic Powers, trying to unravel a conspiracy. Both have third-person shooter qualities, though Psi-Ops maintains this in its entire control scheme. Notably, Second Sight has more focus on story/adventure elements, while Psi-Ops has a more hardcore, straight-up military shooter feel. Both were released around the same time and were often compared to one another in reviews. Often, Second Sight was given the better nod for its story, while Psi-Ops was liked more for its over top powers and gore. (Second Sight was rated 'T'. Psi-Ops was rated 'M'.)
Doom 3 (2004) Half-Life 2 (2004) Long-awaited new installments of beloved FPS series, both of which pushed graphics technology of the time to its limits. Half-Life 2 should have pre-dated Doom 3 by nearly a year, but developmental delays compounded by the source code being stolen and leaked onto the internet pushed it back until a couple of months after Doom 3 was released. Doom 3 did well by any standards (in fact, it was iD's biggest selling game to date), but Half-Life 2 did far better in terms of critical reception (Metacritic averages of 96% versus 87%), sales (6.5 million copies to 3.5 million by late 2007 to early 2008), and lasting influence (Wikipedia lists 45 games running on the Source engine as of 2016, not to mention the countless Game Mods, many of which have gone standalone, and more or less singlehandedly leading to the rising popularity of Digital Distribution for PC games through Steam; id Tech 4, as of 2016, has only nine other games or expansions to its name, and its two successors only have that many games combined).
Red Dead Revolver (2004) GUN (2005) Third person shooters set in The Wild West with some aspects of an open world. GUN's world was the more open-ended of the two, with more in the way of sidequests and the like. Red Dead Revolver started life as a Spiritual Successor to Gun Smoke, but Capcom sold the rights to Rockstar part-way through development. Both games performed respectably among critics at the time of their release. However, Red Dead devloper Rockstar went on to create Red Dead Redemption, which became a massive success both critically and commercially.
Rengoku: Tower of Purgatory (2005) Coded Arms (2005) Japanese-developed shooters with dungeon crawling gameplay. Both games were published by Konami and followed similar trajectories (Two PSP installments released in the 2005-07 range followed by a cancelled Playstation 3 sequel). Coded Arms is first-person and its main gameplay feature was the usage of proceduraly-generated level design. Rengoku is third-person, features a greater focus on Character Customization and had fixed levels with randomly-generated enemies. While Rengoku II: Stairway to H.E.A.V.E.N followed a similar design, Coded Arms Contagion was much more linear and dropped most of the RPG elements. Coded Arms had a better (albeit still mediocre) critical reception and sold better, judging by the fact the first game was part of Sony's Greatest Hits range. Neither series had much staying power, though Rengoku II: Stairway to H.E.A.V.E.N has a low-key cult following.
Gears of War (2006) Resistance (2006) First-party shooting game where the protagonists fight to defend what remains of a mankind ravaged by a Badass Army of monsters, and with very depressing settings if one really thinks about it. Both games were first released in the same week, as well as being the first major exclusive shooter for their respective system (Xbox 360 for Gears of War, PS3 for Resistance). While picking a clear winner is complicated by the fact both franchises are exclusive to completely different platforms and of different genres (cover-based, Limited Loadout third-person shooter for Gears, traditional Hyperspace Arsenal first-person shooter for Resistance 1), Gears of War has a much larger fanbase. Gears of War ultimately won in terms of continuance, as Insomniac Studios decided to end the series at Resistance 3, while Gears has continued onto a fourth and fifth game.
Gears of War (2006) Halo 3 (2007)

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007)
Games more known for their multiplayer, at least now. People knew that a followup to the infamous ending Halo 2 had would bring about a sequel, which gave the then-upcoming Xbox 360 a massive boost in sales. But biding time between that and Halo 3 was Gears of War. It had surprisingly good multiplayer. Of course, once Halo 3 did come out, it was the multiplayer FPS genre king until a sleeper hit out of what appeared to be a dying World War II series was released: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Modern Warfare eventually dethroned Halo 3 as the multiplayer game of choice for a majority of gamers. It did help that Modern Warfare was multiplatform as well.
Unreal Tournament III (2007) Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (2007) The latest iterations of the multiplayer-focused FPS franchises. Both introduced major new technologies for each series; the Unreal Engine 3 for UT3,note  and MegaTexturing for ET:QW. Both suffered from underwhelming sales figures, despite pretty good reviews. In the end though, Unreal Tournament 3 was saved by some decent-selling home console portsnote  and better sales of the Steam-exclusive "Black Edition", whereas any chance of success that Quake Wars had was killed off by a pair of dreadful console versions. On the tech side, the original Unreal Engine vs id Tech 3 battle has also been completely reversed; id Tech 4 and its successors only have about two dozen games, the vast majority of which are from id themselves, based on one of their properties, or at least the same sort of run-and-gun shooter as Doom 3, whereas Wikipedia lists over four hundred separate games and episodic releases on Unreal Engine 3 for every genre under the sun.
Crysis (2007) Far Cry 2 (2008) Spiritual Successors to the original Far Cry. Both games came about after the first Far Cry's developers (Crytek) and publishers (Ubisoft) split ways; Crytek kept the engine and made Crysis, whereas Ubisoft kept the name and made Far Cry 2. Crysis definitely did better in the reviews, but Far Cry 2 blew it away in terms of sales, probably because it was a multiformat release whereas Crysis was, at the time, a (high-end) PC exclusive.
Kane & Lynch (2007) Army of Two (2008) Gritty, co-op centric Third-Person Shooter cashing in on Gears of War. The sequel of both centers around the protagonists trying to escape Shangai after a job goes south. Army of Two takes itself far less seriously. Army of Two. Neither series is a huge critical success, but Army of Two had a somewhat more positive reception and sold better, whilst its sequel The 40th Day was much better received than Kane and Lynch: Dog Days. Army of Two received a second sequel, The Devil's Cartel, in 2013, whilst a third Kane and Lynch has yet to surface, with the developers having gone back to the Hitman series.
Blacksite: Area 51 (2007) Haze (2008) First Person Shooters with Anvilicious political messages. Blacksite is a Multi-Platform release and is specifically about The War on Terror. Haze is a PlayStation 3 exclusive and accuses the player of being a gore-hungry fratboy playing soldier. Both lost, but Haze "wins" based on general infamy. It killed its beloved developer Free Radical Design (makers of TimeSplitters) and contributed to the early bad reputation of the PS3. Haze is claimed as the reason why Star Wars: Battlefront 3 got canceled due to Free Radical paying more attention to a game that flopped, and is still something of an example of epic failure. Blacksite, meanwhile, was only the latest in a string of flops by Midway and is mostly forgotten.
Team Fortress 2 (2007) Battlefield Heroes (2009) Team-based multiplayer-only shooters with a bright, cartoony aesthetic and a shifting pricing model. Team Fortress 2 started out as a regular commercial retail product, but later switched to free-to-play and financing itself through purchase of cosmetic character items. Battlefield Heroes went the opposite direction and started out completely free to play, financing itself through advertisements and purchase of cosmetic character items, but later revamped. Though nominally still free, a much greater emphasis was put on microtransactions, not only for cosmetic items but also for gameplay advantages, making some deride it as a "pay-to-win" title. Team Fortress 2 is the clear winner as Battlefield Heroes shut down completely after six years in 2015, while Team Fortress 2 remains alive and well a decade after launch.
Team Fortress 2 (2007) Overwatch (2016) Team-based, objective-contesting FPS where characters tend to be more unique and colorful than other shooters. In other words, Hero Shooter. Overwatch is a commercial game like TF2 started out; you have to pay to play it. However, their heroes are all obviously unique and colorful, and the roster continues to expand. Both are dubbed 'Hero Shooters', much like Blizzard trying to bill their MOBA as a "Hero Brawler", thus each character possesses unique skills similar to MOBA characters. Team Fortress 2 is a veteran title, having been out for nearly nine years by the time Overwatch launched. Their all-male class-based roster will not expand in size and lack flashy MOBA-like "Ultimate" abilities that Overwatch has, but rather have unique skills primarily based on the class's existing speed, health, and their weapons, leaving it up to just you and your marksmanship provided by the class' weaponry alone. Despite only coming in RED or BLU uniforms, each class is already very unique on their own, and most importantly... it's free to play (though it used to be a regular commercial title). Tie. Team Fortress 2 still stood strong due to it being free-to-play as well as a veteran title with a well-established player base. However, Overwatch is dangerously becoming TF2s greatest competition thanks to its massive library of supplementary material (it amassed almost as much in nine months as TF2 has in as many years) and unique and varying character designs, to the point that some people think it's worth the admittedly high price of admission. That said, it has yet to completely dethrone TF2; in fact, some would argue that TF2 has itself benefited from the Overwatch hype, as new fans to the genre, drawn in by Overwatch but put off by the aforementioned high price tag, have flocked to TF2 due to it being free-to-play. It certainly doesn't hurt that Valve started mimicking many of Overwatch's most noteworthy features (mainly its competitive mode and its matchmaking system) shortly after it was released.
Arm A II (2009) Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising (2009) Large scale, realistic Wide Open Sandbox first person shooters. Sequels to Operation Flashpoint. The developer and publisher split up after the original Operation Flashpoint, with the developer keeping the engine and making the Arma series, and the publisher keeping the name and making Dragon Rising. Arma had already seen a first release in 2006 before Codemasters created their own Operation Flashpoint followup. Due to heavy limitations in multiplayer, modding and scale, Dragon Rising's community fell apart rather quickly and many moved on to Arma II. While it still managed another sequel, Red River, it didn't do well enough to continue on, while ArmA is still going strong, with a standalone expansion and three separate DLC packs over three years, followed by a third iteration seeing a continuous four years of support, alongside other games from the same developer in its shared universe and heavy boosts in sales thanks to an extremely popular modification-turned-standalone game, DayZ.
Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood (2009) Red Dead Redemption (2010) Shooters set in The Wild West. RDR is a third-person, open-world title, and is the Spiritual Successor to Red Dead Revolver. Juarez, meanwhile, is a linear FPS, and a prequel to the original game. Red Dead Redemption won this, with over eight million sales, rave reviews, and multiple Game of the Year awards. Juarez was no slouch, though, earning good reviews and selling well over a million copies. Once again, the gamers are the real winners.
Borderlands (2009) Rage (2011) Shooting game with RPG elements in a barren, Crapsack World. Borderlands has a more humorous tone and cartoonish graphics while Rage takes a realistic "no-nonsense" approach. Like Saints Row, Borderlands was designed to take advantage in the lull between Call of Duty releases and get sales from impatient players. While Borderlands quickly ascended from Sleeper Hit to an acclaimed franchise, Rage, a good game in its own right, is largely forgotten or overlooked.
Syndicate (2012) The Bureau: XCOM Declassified (2013) Squad-based FPS reboots/prequels to classic sci-fi strategy games from The '90s. The Bureau has a '50s Americana feel and serves as a prequel to XCOM: Enemy Unknown, while Syndicate is more cyberpunk. Syndicate, though not by that much. Neither games are all that popular with fans of the original games, and both games received fairly middling reviews from critics (with Syndicate receiving slightly better reviews) and neither ended up making much money, although again Syndicate sold slightly better than The Bureau. In the public conscious Syndicate is more-known, though this mostly due to its Skrillex-composed theme song.
Far Cry 3 (2012) Crysis 3 (2013) The sequels to the Spiritual Successors to the original Far Cry. By 2012, the three-quels to both series were announced. Still produced by the original developers of Far Cry, Crysis 3 builds up on the decisive turn to the sci-fi genre made by Crysis 2. By then, the first Crysis was ported to seventh-gen consoles, allowing EA to make more sales from Crytek's IP. Ubisoft Montreal (producers of Far Cry 3), on the other hand, returned to the island roots of the series and focused their story on insanity. A far cry from the first battle between the two series, Far Cry 3 blew Crysis 3 away financially and critically. While EA admitted that they were scuttling the Crysis series after 3's disappointing sales, Ubisoft has, in five years since Far Cry 3, released a standalone expansion, a next-gen sequel with its own standalone expansion, and a fifth game. Crysis 3, at least, provided a solid conclusion to its trilogy.
War Of The Roses (2012) Chivalry: Medieval Warfare (2013) Arena combat games set in the Middle Ages, where players run around with various flavors of medieval weaponry. Chivalry was revealed first, but beaten to market by Roses. Chivalry was also made by the creators of a popular Half-Life 2 mod and is considered more "gamey," while Roses' developers focused heavily on historical accuracy in their game. Chivalry is played in the first-person while Roses is played in the third-person. An honorable draw. Chivalry has sold more than two million copies and got an expansion that ties into Deadliest Warrior, while Roses received a sequel entitled War of the Vikings. Chivalry did get a better critical response though, more cross-promotion (the aforementioned Deadliest Warrior expansion, and the later Killing Floor 2 grants a new playable character and melee weapon to Chivalry owners), and its multiplayer is still actually playable (Roses and its sequel had their servers pulled in 2017).
Sunset Overdrive (2014) Splatoon (2015) Wacky third person shooters that avert Real Is Brown while making heavy use of 1990s culture for their aesthetic, and are opposing console exclusives — Xbox One and Wii U respectively. Overdrive is a single-player open-world game that comes across as the bastard child of Dead Rising and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, while Splatoon is primarily a online multiplayer game that comes off as a weird combo of Squid Girl, de Blob, and Super Mario Sunshine. Both games received solid review scores, but Splatoon eventually sold four times as many copies as Sunset Overdrive despite being on a console with a much smaller install base. Splatoon also generated a much more active fanbase due to copious amounts of Memetic Mutation, and gains bonus points for becoming a sleeper hit in Japan, a country that traditionally hates the shooter genre. Two years later, Splatoon got a sequel that cemented the franchise as one of Nintendo's biggest properties, while Sunset Overdrive remains a standalone title.
Battleborn (2016) Overwatch (2016) Team-based multiplayer Hero Shooters with cartoon-esque visuals. Battleborn was announced by Gearbox Software in July 2014 as the first new IP since 2009's Borderlands and they considered it "the most ambitious video game Gearbox has ever created". Overwatch was announced by Blizzard Entertainment in November that same year as the first new IP in seventeen years (early 1998's StarCraft). Both games have MOBA influences, but Battleborn is much more prominent with the MOBA aspect, while Overwatch gears towards the 'shooter' part. Both were released in May 2016, and were in direct competition with each other. Overwatch by a country mile. Battleborn was hampered by a buggy launch, poor marketing that didn't properly convey exactly what it was, and suffered from bizarre gameplay choices such as a lack of progression, as well as the humor being criticized for being too juvenile. Overwatch, on the other hand, blazed straight out the gate and never looked back with phenomenal sales, an ever-growing fanbase, and a future that looks bright for Blizzard. To make matters worse, Gearbox intentionally challenged Blizzard and Overwatch during the marketing campaign, making it seem like the two games had more in common than a handful of superficial similarities. By the time people figured out the two games should never have been competing in the first place, it was too late: less than a year after release, Overwatch reported having over 30 million registered players, while Battleborn faded into complete obscurity in just a few short months. The final nail in the coffin came in September 2017, when Gearbox announced they would cease official support of the game.
Overwatch (2016) Paladins (2016) Team-based multiplayer Hero Shooters with cartoon-esque visuals. Both games involve four roles, special abilities, and an Ultimate. Paladins was announced in 2015 by Hi-Rez Studios nearly a year after Overwatch was announced. While Overwatch takes place in a future influenced by science-fiction and comic books, Paladins is set in a Constructed World of science-fantasy, displaying both high tech gear and weapons alongside magic. Overwatch features six-vs-six battles with the ability to switch characters on the fly and no gameplay modifiers, while Paladins is five-vs-five with no switching and a loadout system. Overwatch is buy-to-play, while Paladins is free-to-play. Overwatch, though not nearly to the extent of the above. While Overwatch continues to be the top dog of the tournament scene, Paladins has garnered more-and-more rep as time passed, helped by it being free, and has gained a large and loyal fanbase while it continues to grow. However, Paladins is unlikely to dethrone Overwatch anytime soon, as Overwatch is still more popular to the extent of being a cultural phenomena, while Paladins has to deal with the stigma of being an "Overwatch clone".
Overwatch (2016) LawBreakers (2017) Team-based multiplayer Hero Shooters set in the future. Both games involve special abilities and an Ultimate. Overwatch is influenced visually by Pixar, while LawBreakers aims for a more realistic look. LawBreakers is far more focused on mobility than Overwatch, with every character having a mobile ability. Also, LawBreakers is far gorier and more profane than Overwatch. Lead designer Cliff Bleszinski was specifically influenced by Overwatch when creating LawBreakers. Currently, there is no Xbox One version of LawBreakers planned, but launched at only $30 Overwatch, to put it one way, obliterated LawBreakers just by existing. On Overwatch's first anniversary, it logged in a total of 30 million players. Meanwhile, LawBreakers peaked at about 7500 players in its open betas and at a measly 3000 at launch, before almost immediately plummeting from there (for reference, that's four times less than Battleborn, another game that got curb-stomped by Overwatch). Just a few months after launch, LawBreakers peaked at 10 players, exactly enough to fill one game, and no more than that. What may have killed LawBreakers before it even started was the lack of interest in its road to launch, combined with the fact that it wasn't free-to-play (unlike Paladins), which meant it couldn't build up a solid player base. Not to mention, the game had practically zero marketing outside constant shilling from an obscure YouTube persona or two, to the point where many fans weren't even aware that the game had released. It's now gone down in modern gaming history as one of the greatest examples of an epic failure, about how a creator can shoot themselves in the foot before their product even launches. Once touted as the next "billion dollar franchise", the game did so bad that less than a year after the LawBreakers launch, Boss Key dissolved for good because the losses from this game were too much to handle, with servers being pulled in September 2018.
Call Of Duty Infinite Warfare (2016) Titanfall 2 (2016) Eighth-generation first-person shooters IN SPAAAACE, centering around a central stellar authority and a less-organized resistance opposing it. Both allowed the Player Character to Le Parkour their way around levels. Both offered alternative gameplay modes to standard on-foot shooting: flying a Space Fighter in Infinite Warfare, driving a Humongous Mecha in Titanfall. Both attempted to Win Back the Crowd after problematic prior releases. The games take different sides of the war: in Infinite Warfare The Federation are the good guys, while The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized; in Titanfall you play as La Résistance opposing an oppressive Mega-Corp. This takes on Reality Subtext when one considers that Respawn Entertainment, which developed Titanfall, was founded by spurned executives from... Infinity Ward, which made Infinite Warfare. Titanfall 2 was released a week earlier, and received better reviews. Neither sold as much as anticipated, but Infinite Warfare dropped the ball less in that regard, possibly due to being part of a Cash Cow Franchise. It wins by virtue of coming in second-to-last. The real winner, as mentioned above, was Battlefield 1, which came out a week before Titanfall and upstaged both.
Reflex Arena (2017) Unreal Tournament 4 (2017) The arena shooter wars continue. Both are revivals of the arena-FPS genre after the slump it experienced late in the Turn of the Millennium. UT4 is the next installment in its series, with Epic Games heavily consulting its community to create a new UT that closes the series' Broken Base. Reflex, on the other hand, is an indie Spiritual Successor to Quake 3 Arena created by the developers of the acclaimed Quake 3 ProMod that aims to keep Quake 3's competitive focus while updating the game with modern competitive features like skill based matchmaking similar to Starcraft 2. So far these games have been well received among their respective fanbases. Whether or not this will lead to a full scale arena FPS revival is another question, though it seems unlikely between Reflex Arena's relative obscurity and development for UT4 being halted indefinitely to prioritize updating the below-mentioned Fortnite.
Player Unknowns Battlegrounds (2017) Fortnite (2017) Trailblazers in the "Battle Royale" genre, both of which got early-access releases in early-mid 2017, and fuller releases near the end of the year. Fortnite is free-to-play and the Battle Royale mode is effectively a More Popular Spin Off of "Save the World", a mode which was originally intended to be the main attraction. Furthermore, PUBG has a realistic style while Fortnite is more cartoony. It's a close call, with Fortnite edging out in terms of player numbers. PUBG is no slouch either, though, being the most popular game on Steam (no small feat considering the previous champion, Dota 2, held that spot for almost half a decade), with a peak player count of over three million. Fortnite has somewhat of a better critical reception, due to not suffering from the myriad of technical issues PUBG does, as well as much better console ports. Of course, given how Fortnite is free-to-play and PUBG isn't, it is likely that PUBG is a more profitable game while Fortnite has a bigger player base.
Splatoon 2 (2017) Fortnite (2017) These third-person shooters were released on the Nintendo Switch months apart from each other. Both of them also offer a more colorful, comedic take on the genre while throwing the genre's standard rules out the window. Both games have also had Switch hardware themed on them. As mentioned above, Fortnite is free-to-play, whereas Splatoon 2 is full-price. While both have a single-player mode, Splatoon 2 is well-liked, to where paid DLC was released with more stages and more story, but Fortnite's single-player mode is so unpopular that the Switch port lacks it completely. Of course, one more difference is that, as a first-party game, Splatoon 2 is only on the Switch where Fortnite is on a lot of platforms. Both games routinely make the Switch's top 10 bestsellers list month after month, continuing to pull it off well over a year after they were released and are both Killer Apps, helping to sell Switches. Fortnite typically tops the list, but bear in mind that it costs nothing to play Fortnite, so it's unclear which game is more profitable. Due to both games' success, there is a Fandom Rivalry between the players. The matchup is not quite as even in the Switch's home country of Japan, however, where Fortnite is just a blip on the radar.
Destiny 2 (2017) Warframe (2013)

Anthem (2019)

The Division 2 (2019)
Battle of the Looter Shooters. A case of Follow the Leader ignited by the success of Borderlands 2 and Destiny, along with the general trend of live-service models for online games. Warframe, The Division 2 and Anthem use the third-person perspective, while Destiny 2 uses the first-person perspective. Warframe is distinct for being a free-to-play game, while the others are full priced retail games. The Division 2 was praised as a textbook Surprisingly Improved Sequel over the first game. It became one of the best-selling PC games of 2019, though console sales failed to reach Ubisoft's expectations. Destiny 2 was initially regarded as an Even Better Sequel, but controversies over post-release content and underhanded monetization schemes forced by Executive Meddling have led to a dwindling player base, which led Bungie to split from Activision and go independent in 2019. Warframe has been a surprising underdog, growing its player base and steadily receiving new content after a rough launch. As of 2019, it has reached 50 million total players and is one of the most played games on Steam. Anthem has taken last place in this fight, with critics and fans lukewarm at best toward the game's mechanics and thin amount of content. Anthem received the lowest review scores in BioWare's history, and the game's future is in doubt after BioWare amended its post-release roadmap.
Apex Legends (2019) Battlefield V: Firestorm (2019) First-person Battle Royale shooters that were released within a month of each other and published by Electronic Arts. Apex Legends is a free-to-play spin-off set in the Titanfall universe and plays like a fast-paced Hero Shooter. Firestorm is a post-launch mode added to the full-priced Battlefield V, and it plays more like a slower-paced tactical shooter with hallmarks of Battlefield series like vehicles and destructible environments. Apex Legends is the champion since it received universal praise and gained over 50 million unique players in just a month. In contrast, while Firestorm is well-received by those who played it, the mode didn't gain as much traction owing to general lack of general interest and the fact that it was locked behind a full-priced purchase of Battlefield V.

Alternative Title(s): First Person And Third Person Shooters

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