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EPIC FAILThis Gen: Developers Allowing You To Reload Your Gun After Every Discharge?

Here’s a question that hasn’t been posed, (I don’t think) which is why do developers allow you to reload your gun after every discharge?  Not only was it never a question posed, it never was questioned, either because gamers don’t care enough or didn’t notice enough (maybe after this article they’ll be like “oh yeah I can reload everytime I fire a bullet can’t I?).  But for those gamers that  do care you’re probably like me, you like the more  realistic approach (when it applies of course).

I can’t believe I went this entire gen and am now noticing the way most developers handle reloading…SMH. Well…I probably did notice it earlier but may have written it off as an isolated incident or isolated incidents lmboo.

You see, over the years I found myself developing this tremendously bad habit of reloading after every discharge of my weapon, I think it actually came from that darn multiplayer 🙂 —  the arcade mindset (that I’m forced to play with)  that comes with it; to always reload so I wouldn’t get caught slipping in a shootout. But I realized while playing Splinter Cell: Blacklist (again can’t believe it even took that long) on how dumb this concept really is…yeah you could say I’m somewhat of a huge fan of realism, heck! I even put the game’s mode on realistic.

I asked Ace, (my brother) who is also a part of this site and somewhat of a gun aficionado if it is realistic to reload every time you shoot and here’s what he had to say:

Simply put: “Unless you using a musket, lol”

Then I asked ‘armyman’, (my cousin – a sometimes contributor to this site) who is also as his name suggests experienced with firearms and this is what he had to say:

“Its not realistic when it come to semi auto matic hand guns and rifles, but my belief is that game designers started doing this in an effort to make games easier and more accesible and it soon spun out of control and is now seen as normal. Should they relagate it back to what is normal it might become frustrating to the average gamer.”

I second that, I think developers choosing to adopt this playstyle is appeasing the masses where it would save a lot of gamers potential frustration from being thrown in the middle of  the action and being forced to wait until you empty your clip before you can reload, but if you really and truly love realism in gaming you  would not get frustrated by it, oh quite the contrary, you’d appreciate it…or at least you’ll get frustrated by it for the right reasons.

But I didn’t stop there, I did some further digging and in strange irony in my search for technical terms and more clarity from the gun expert side, thinking I would come across a gun expert (.com) type of website I get (a video game website)  which on Google was the first entry! I guess they have a section on their site that deals with different concepts in video games and this one just happened to be about how developers handle gun reloading!

Interestingly enough this section of their site gave me everything I needed. Basically, all the issues I had dealing with the concept was  addressed; realism ( on the technical side)  as well as the gaming side of things,  even including what particular games showcase each style, essentially getting the best of both worlds, who’d knew?!

A term they used called ‘Realistic Magazine Management’ is described by them as:

Suppose the player is using a Sub Machine Gun that receives a magazine holding 30 rounds. The player has three magazines, for a total of 90 rounds. The player begins by shooting 20 of the 30 rounds in the first magazine. The player then decides to reload. The first magazine is ejected, and the second magazine inserted. The player now has 30 rounds in their weapon, in addition to a full magazine of 30 rounds, plus the remaining 10 rounds from the first magazine.  


The player now fires through all the rounds in their current magazine, and must reload. The player inserts the third magazine, and again has 30 rounds in their weapon, with only 10 rounds in reserve. This time, the player fires off 10 rounds from the current magazine, and decides to reload. In a typical shooter, the player would be left with 30 rounds in their weapon (ten in reserve, plus the 20 currently in the gun) but in a game with Realistic Magazine Management, the player would simply re-insert magazine #1, which had only 10 round remaining. After firing off those 10 rounds, the player would be able to re-insert magazine #3, with 20 rounds remaining.” 

Now that sounds more like it — how all games should handle guns but what about reloading after every discharge?

Here’s some more interesting quotes from the site:

“Remaining Bullet Waste Style

Other games do not track individual magazines, and ejecting a magazine with remaining bullets causes those bullets to be discarded. Therefore, the player is simply tossing spent magazine aside each time she reloads, with no regard to remaining bullets. An example of this is Medal of Honor: Frontline, with the M1 Garand.


“No Mid-Magazine Reload Style

Some games simply do not permit reloading until the entire magazine has been spent. An example of this would be the M1 Garand has featured in Medal of Honor.

Now here are some playstyles that respect the laws of realism — which I’m all for.

Even went as far as listing the Pros and Cons:”



The most common reason this style is implemented is to add realism and authenticity. Almost all real guns do indeed function in the manner described as Realistic Magazine Management. One is not able to simply reload mid magazine and find all the remaining bullets automatically transferred to another half-full magazine. A look at the attached games reveals that many of these are in fact games that strive for high realism.
A second reason, much less common, is games that want to increase the focus on item and inventory management. Some games focus on having the player manage their ammo and weapons carefully, and Realistic Magazine Management can add another layer to this. Along with this reason is that some games do this to balance weapons. A great example is the Medal of Honor series, in which the American M1 Garand is usually the most powerful rifle. To counter this, it often has a difficult clip management system, where the rest of the guns do not.



The most obvious reason to avoid this style is because it can impinge on playability. Guns in games are generally not used the way they are in real life. For example, you almost never are tasked with mowing down hordes of zombies with your AK-47 assault rifle. When faced with such a task, it is important to always have a full magazine at the ready. Games with Realistic Magazine Management make this increasingly difficult, and it often takes away from the shooting aspect.
A second reason is the inherent difficulty. It is more difficult for the player to track, especially if the player has several guns, each with several magazines worth of ammo. Also, this is one more variable that the game has to accurately track.

But what puts this concept over-the-top is, not only can you reload after every discharge — in most games,  which is not realistic, but the character — in most games doesn’t show them storing away the clip, no, rather they’re discarding it. So even if in some cases where they have proper bullet management there is still no visual to support that.

It’s encouraging to know that some developers practice at least saving clips —  some won’t even let you reload until the clip is finished, ultimately giving us hope for the future of gaming but it seems for now that this small window of practice is only relegated to first person shooters — which I don’t play.

Getting back to SC ‘Blacklist’ I already knew that I could reload at will if I wanted to —  after every discharge, but wanted to test the theory to see if throwing away my clip — which is what they show me doing via animation when I reload, if those bullets would be gone forever — as it should be, and the result was…nope! I keep said bullets even though I threw away the clip…EPIC FAIL.

I’m going to make it my business for now on not to reload until the last bullet is fired in the clip, regardless if I have the option but that’s just me manufacturing realism. I think what should really happen is developers should not even allow it as an option but if I do have options let it play out realistically with the combination of the play styles previously mentioned: No Mid-Magazine Reload, Remaining Bullet Waste, Realistic Magazine Management. Or if  developers deem that too hardcore for the average gamer allow it in the options menu à la a realistic (gun handling) mode or arcade mode, for those who can care less about realism. Next gen baby!

 CCU wants to hear from you.


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One Comment

  1. I can’t believe its taken this long for someone to notice. The non-consequential reload factor of todays games is dismal. It lacks strategy and makes every shooter a more generic experience. Hence part reason why online FPS multiplayers are such dull experiences most the time. No forward planning, just run gun, die and spawn.
    And it shows an utter lack of creativity on devs who can spend millions to update a graphics engine, but can’t figure a management scheme for a simple and concise reload management system on guns.

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