Call of Duty: When Does the Warfare Become Too Advanced?
Michael Mays / Jul 14th, 2015 4 Comments
Death, taxes and a new Call of Duty game every year. These are the only things that are certain in life. For more than a decade, Activision has released a new installment of the blockbuster franchise every fall. But the game really became a household name in 2007 with the release of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
Before Modern Warfare, Call of Duty primarily took place during World War II. Infinity Ward, the developer behind Modern Warfare, decided it was time to try something new, so they upgraded the weaponry and surged forward in time, well beyond the second world war. This train into the future seems to be missing its brakes.
With the exception of two brief stops back in time with Treyarch titles World at War (back to World War II) and Black Ops (Cold War), this trend of future-izing the Call of Duty series has continued. But could this be a mistake? Throughout this period of staggering success for the series, one of its only consistent rivals has been Halo. Microsoft’s exclusive franchise has always provided fans with a futuristic brand of warfare while Call of Duty provided a more realistic option.
Nowadays, there is no shortage of futuristic warfare in multiplayer gaming. In early 2014, two of the minds behind the original Modern Warfare at Infinity Ward, Jason West and Vince Zampella, released Titanfall, an Xbox One-exclusive title that was fairly successful. Later in 2014, Bungie, the former developers of Halo, released a new long-term project, Destiny, a game with both PvE and PvP multiplayer components. The point is, without even mentioning non-futuristic options like Grand Theft Auto V Online, it is obvious that there are plenty of options for multiplayer combat.
With so many other contenders now battling for multiplayer supremacy, 2014 was a key year for the Call of Duty franchise. Many fans and critics claimed the games were getting stagnate and suggested that the series move in a different direction. This was certainly a realistic expectation considering the two-year development cycle alternating between developers Infinity Ward and Treyarch became a three-year cycle with Sledgehammer Games into the fold.
What resulted from this changing of the guard was Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, a departure from previous Call of Duty titles, but not from everything else out there. The first thing many gamers noted about Advanced Warfare was its similarity to Titanfall. This really couldn’t come as a shock, though. Respawn was made up of guys who used to work on Call of Duty. They left and made a game that was close to what they already knew, but with futuristic elements. The problem is Titanfall did a much better job than Advanced Warfare of portraying advanced warfare and was a better overall multiplayer experience.
Sure, Titanfall had corny dialogue and lacked Kevin Spacey, but it felt fresh in the multiplayer world while Advanced Warfare felt like lipstick on a dead horse that was being beaten mercilessly. Does that mean that Advanced Warfare didn’t sell a gazillion copies worldwide? Of course not. This is Call of Duty we’re talking about. But eventually, consumers are going to want to spend their money on new ideas, ideas like Destiny.
The reviews were not kind to Bungie’s newest baby. The game is incredibly flawed. What makes it so popular is that gamers were starving for something to play with their buddies that wasn’t another rehash. It was an FPS with MMO-like tendencies, and it was something new.
With all of this in mind, it was undoubtedly time for Call of Duty to completely reinvent or reestablish its niche as a more realistic, modern alternative to the plethora of futuristic games out there. What we’re getting is Call of Duty: Black Ops 3.
Back to the Future
It would be both arrogant and irresponsible to harshly judge a game that has yet to see the light of day, but let’s give it a shot anyway. Based on information that has been released about the game so far, there is no doubt that Black Ops 3 will be offering up futuristic warfare. Boost jumping and wall running will be present, as will various other technological marvels that have yet to enhance our lives in the real world.
Black Ops 3 is also introducing a character selection system that is a departure from the usual faceless soldier you get to control in previous games. One of these characters is a robot who can teleport across the map. Is there really any turning back once you’ve reached the point of robots teleporting across the map?
Perhaps these criticisms are unfounded and this will prove to be the absolute right direction for the Call of Duty franchise. Maybe Black Ops 3 will end up being one of the most enjoyable multiplayer experiences of all time. PlayStation 4 owners will get their chance to find out on Aug. 19 when the beta is released, and Xbox One players will get their shot on Aug. 23.
Ultimately, Call of Duty developers may be painting themselves into a corner. When the advancements in your game are based on new, innovative future technology, eventually you’re going to run out of fresh ideas, especially when every other game being released is trying to do the same thing. They can only move so far into the future before they’re eventually releasing Call of Duty: Microbial Warfare.
tags: advanced warfare , Black Ops 3 , call of duty , destiny , halo , opinion , titanfall