I'm a sucker for gunplay, and while I appreciate a good melee system (there are not many), guns have a unique attitude that I find cannot be matched by any other traditional weaponry.
The idea came to me of mixing in gunplay in a non-traditional setting such as medieval europe, or any other similar fantasy setting, when I was playing Skyrim the other day (a game plagued by horrible combat) with a mod that adds dwemer firearms. Suddenly I felt like I was legitimately enjoying the combat, and it clicked for me what a unique combination of visual design and gameplay it was that elicited such a reaction.
I love the forested, rustic, generic fantasy setting. I think it's one of the best settings for inspiring that sense of exploration and comfort. In a video game that is heavily focused on combat, being able to defend yourself is going to be a large driving force for that exploration. No personal weapon is better at defense than the modern firearm. The game would still have to be challenging, of course, but just the psychological effect of carrying a firearm I think provides an interesting gameplay experience. This, coupled with a non-traditional fantasy setting, will likely give way to some pretty interesting emergent gameplay.
The weapons would be written into the game logically, so that they feel old and primitive, but still effective in their use. They'd have a sort of 11th-13th century aesthetic vibe. Large, clunky, wood and metal contraptions.
I think guns are unique in that they give the player a sense of security, that the player doesn't have to rely on physical prowess in order to defeat an enemy. This will produce a psychological effect in the player which carries over into the gameplay style. Not to mention, guns are far easier to structurize a combat system around from a developers perspective.
My intention with this idea, also, was not to just have something like in Fable 2 & 3, where guns are just a small part of the game world, but to instead have firearms be a huge focus. Firearms have revolutionized warfare in the modern era. Just imagine the effect they'd have a thousand years ago! In this idea, the whole world would be essentially centered around firearms, but as if from a medieval perspective.
Does this sound like a plausible idea for a shooter, and do you think it would work?