The Sad History of Singularity

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In the decade following the turn of the century, first-person shooters had become a dime a dozen, especially those of the military variety. The likes of Battlefield and Call of Duty dominated with minimal competition, inspiring copy cats that rarely innovated the genre. Before long, the market grew oversaturated with experiences created by developers and publishers desperate to obtain a modicum of success achieved by EA’s and Activision’s flagship shooters. There did exist a fair few outliers, though, shooters whose creators, for the most part, chose to buck the trend instead of following the herd. Raven Software’s oft-forgotten 2010 title Singularity counted as one such project.

As Raven’s final original game before its conversion into a Call of Duty support role, Singularity constituted the last bastion of originality during a transitory period for publisher Activision. All told, it did not seem an unworthy attempt, either. Despite a development cycle beset by mismanagement, Raven cobbled together a competent temporal shooter, one laden with inventive ideas that were hamstrung by formulaic game design choices. Dismal sales further handcuffed the franchise, since Singularity failed to gain traction in a marketplace flooded with other by-the-numbers shooters.

Thus, Raven spent much of the decade following Singularity’s release beholden to someone else’s vision, its potential absorbed into the gears of Activision’s well-oiled Call of Duty machine. Yet, Singularity shouldn’t be remembered as a failure, per se; signs of triumph lingered within its faults, remnants of what could have been under different circumstances.

This is the history of Singularity.

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