Speaking with PC Gamer, Tripwire president John Gibson said he was “really discouraged” by the current state of multiplayer shooters – particularly Activision's massive-selling series.
“I think that, and I hate to mention names, because it sounds like I’m just jealous of their success, but I feel like Call of Duty has almost ruined a generation of FPS players," he said.
"One of the things that Call of Duty does – and it’s smart business, to a degree – is they compress the skill gap.
"And the way you compress the skill gap as a designer is you add a whole bunch of randomness. A whole bunch of weaponry that doesn’t require any skill to get kills. Random spawns, massive cone fire on your weapons.
"Lots of devices that can get kills with zero skill at all."
Gibson said this skill gap compression was smart to a degree, as it kept new players from getting completely destroyed whenever they set foot on a server.
"You don’t want the elite players to destroy the new players so bad that new players can never get into the game and enjoy it. I’m looking at you, Dota," he said.
"But the skill gap is so compressed, that it’s like a slot machine... They’ve taken individual skill out of the equation so much."
“My goal was to create something that was accessible enough for [Call of Duty players] to enjoy the game – not turn it into Call of Duty, but try to make something that I thought was casual enough but with the Red Orchestra gameplay style that they would enjoy,” he said.
“Just listening to all the niggling, pedantic things that they would complain about, that made them not want to play the game, I just thought, ‘I give up. Call of Duty has ruined this whole generation of gamers’.”
Apparently Call of Duty players didn’t like that their character had to build up running speed, that their momentum was preserved to an extent, and that Red Orchestra 2's weapons weren’t really powerful.
“Almost every element boiled down to ‘it doesn’t feel like Call of Duty’,” he said.
“And sometimes as designers, it is our game. Sometimes we screw up, sometimes we design something that’s not accessible enough.
“But more often than not, it’s because Call of Duty compressed their skill gap so much that these guys never needed to get good at a shooter. They never needed to get good at their twitch skills with a mouse."
Gibson made it clear that he didn't begrudge any Call of Duty developer for designing their game that way, but he did believe the "spoonfeeding" nature of such titles denied players a deeper experience.
"They’re selling millions of games and they have lots of people enjoying it, but I think there’s a depth of enjoyment there that a lot of these players are missing out on.
"I wouldn’t say I’ve completely given up on all of those players, but I’m not gonna try to make a game that tries to be Call of Duty at the expense of having fun gameplay that actually has depth."
Red Orchestra 2 standalone expansion Rising Storm is due out sometime this year for Windows PC.