Every now and then, a game comes around that is so great, it either revitalizes, revolutionizes, or kills a genre. The first two are understandable - Baldur's Gate and Half-Life fit as perfect examples. But how can a game be so good it kills a genre?
Take a look at simulations. If you're striving to make the most realistic yet engrossing and playable simulation, you are working towards a very specific goal. There is no single definitive first-person shooter, since there are so many kinds - multiplayer, realistic, non-realistic, historical, and so on. Yet, when someone simulates something, and if he does such a good job of it that he creates the definitive simulation of its type, then it cannot be surpassed.
While it is no doubt that this is a flight of my own personal fancy, I sometimes like to think that Aces of the Deep was so good, it killed the submarine genre. It just could not be surpassed in any reasonable means. For years, the best that one could do was to simply improve the graphics, and that wasn't enough. There were sub sims set in different eras - like the cold war - or different theatres like the Pacific, but there was just no point in tackling a U-boat sim with Aces of the Deep around.
Of course, time marches on, graphics improve and... operating systems become obsolete. It soon came to pass that Aces of the Deep was almost impossible to run on modern PCs, certainly not bug-free and fully-featured. UbiSoft apparently saw the lack and commissioned a Romanian development team to address this fundamental hole in the gaming line-up.
They may well have killed the U-boat sim genre. Silent Hunter III is just so damn good that the ways it can be improved are either miniscule or so difficult as to be almost unrealistic. In fact, I do believe that it would not be a stretch to say that Silent Hunter III may revitalize simulations in general. Unlike titles such as the IL-2 line from 1C: Maddox Games, SH3 is accessible to new players and actually has personality. IL-2 is an excellent simulator with a dry, soulless campaign mode and generally weak immersion. SH3 is an excellent simulator with a fantastic dynamic campaign and the most immersive atmosphere since, well, Aces of the Deep.