Call of Duty is killing itself as a series

Call of Duty is killing itself as a series

Written by: King DX on February 25, 2014.
GO HOME Call of Duty, you're drunk! Some may say that the mega hit FPS is drunk on it's own success. I disagree. My belief is that publisher Activision is a bit drunk on power and as such is killing interest in not only the Call of Duty franchise but FPS's as a whole. Let's take a quick down memory lane and see if I can back up my harsh title with some thought provoking insight.

The COD franchise originally started as a World War II shooter on PC. COD 1 - 3 were all based inside of the World War II era and the game did not become a juggernaut until COD 4: Modern Warfare. Instead of wasting a bunch of time on COD 1-3, I want to focus on the beginning and what I consider the end (COD: Ghost).

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

COD4 is the reason for Activision's successful shooter. Modern Warfare came in at a time when the competition was still focused on making WW II based games. The game was a breath of fresh air and the mechanics of perks and leveling up had never been handled so skillfully in a shooter up until that point. With wonderfully balanced maps, fun game modes and the ability for gamers to quickly learn how to play it based on the fine tuned control scheme, COD soared to greatness. 4 has argiably the best single player campaign as well.

Call of Duty: World at War

At the time Activision had hired Treyarch to work on another version of COD that came out in 2008, around a year after COD4. The success of COD4 was so big that copies of WaW flew off of store shelves. The game has however went back to the WWII era and generally the multiplayer was not really receive as well as COD4. Luckily the saving grace came in the form of Nazi Zombies. Zombies was a new mode introduced to series and though short it was surprisingly fun. Zombies would soon become a staple in the franchise due to overwhelming positive response to the mode.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

This was the game that showed things were brewing over at Activision. Infinity Ward returned with their new COD in November of 2009. Originally the game was simply going to be called Modern Warfare 2. This had to do with some of the backlash from World at War and because the title was much more successful then any other previous COD, Activision thought it was a good idea to make it a standalone IP. Due to focus group testing however; the Call of Duty name was added back in shortly before release as they feared the game would lose players because of a lack of brand recognition. While overall the game was a step in the right direction, the game took slack because of a Nuke ability that would kill every player on the map and end the game. The game also took severe heat from the PC community because it would not support players running their own servers. This game should also be known as the most casual of the game series as it added deathstreaks which essentially rewarded the player for doing bad. It was an attempt to motivate that player to do better but it ultimately took a lot of fun out of the game for the more skill players as they felt penalized for doing well.

Call of Duty: Black Ops

During the build up to Black Ops which was developed by Treyarch. The heads of Infinity Ward were fired after a money dispute between them and Activision. A few months later a large amount of the Infinity Ward staff left the company and eventually they formed Respawn Entertainment (makers of Titanfall). Black Ops quickly became one of the biggest selling software launches ever. Set in the Cold War, Black Ops saw the return of Zombies mode and increased the customization options for the player. Multiplayer was very similar to that of Modern Warfare as Treyarch would always piggyback off of the innovation from the IW team from the previous game. The game was also the first in the series that allowed you to record your online matches and then go back and watch them. Though this was not the first game to ever have the playback feature, it helped launch a series of youtube channels and became another feature in the series.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

You'd think by now that somebody at Activision would be hearing the cries of the many for change right? Wrong! Wrong because despite harsh criticism of Modern Warfare 2's deathstreaks, they still made a horrific return. Before a certain other game in the series... it was considered the worst of the newer COD's. With a atrocious single player that would have you scratching your head. A over the top marketing campaign and even worse online multiplayer than before, you'd think the series would have taken a serious dip in sales figures. Well the truth is the marketing budget for the game had became so BIG that they made people think they wanted it. A bunch of the gaming press also seemed a bit reluctant to be quite as hard on it as they would've been on not so popular titles. Gamers were seemingly hopeful that DLC would somehow be a saving grace to a falling angel that was quickly reaching terminal velocity.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Zombies is the games saving grace. While luckily deathstreaks were removed and the overall game play finally hit its strive, the lack luster weapons and the introduction of a DLC gun sapped the fun right out of the game. The series while finally back in a stable form and not declining also found itself stationary and unable to exceed expectations (That's what she said!).

Call of Duty: Ghosts

It's time to talk about my reason for this post. The cause of many debates. There has not been a day when I have played COD: Ghosts online when somebody, without my asking questions or bringing the subject up, states how much they hate the game and how it "sucks dick"... end quote. Now I've never sucked a dick or an ass for that matter but if the life of my family depended on me blowing some South Korea S.O.B who has plans to destroy the world and if I didn't some how give him the best BJ of his life the world would cease to exist and I only had one shot to get it right, I'd look no further then Call of Duty: Ghost for guidance. The game has the worst and I mean the worst level design I have ever seen in a game. I have seen bargain bin games with more thought and polish. Hell the last Transformer game was more refined and tuned to allow for a variety of play styles. Ghost has just one form of design in mind, chaos. It looks like somebody opened Maya turned that sumbitch sideways and shoved it straight up the users candy asses.

The game design has been overhauled so now you don't just prestige, you also need to level up every solider you have as well. Once you start doing that you will need to start assigning and unlock their guns, equipment and attachments for every single characters. It's pretty apparent that this game was meant to give you hours of repetitive content. The game takes no advantage of Next-Gen hardware. The hit detection is the worst it has been in awhile and the game has become so casual that I swear the average of the people playing this game must fall in an age range of about 10 or 11. Every single thing that COD4 made great about shooting games, Ghost has striven to break and set those broken pieces ablaze. Activision at the end of the day is a business and they want to make money. There is nothing wrong with a company looking to make money. What is wrong is when you keep doing copy and paste hoping to get better success. While the sales of Ghost were still strong, I have no doubt that the next iteration of COD will take a very deep plunge. Some of it will be because of Titanfall but most will be because the 3 developers working on COD franchise just can't do anything to make the game better. After working on the same project for years you get fatigue and burn out on original ideas. Not only are the gamers in need of a break but so are the devs. I really think COD needs a long break before the sales decline. It would be more prudent of Activision to wait another 2 or 3 years before releasing another lack luster product and hurting the brand more, rather then letting another sub-par game release and letting Titanfall take the name of COD killer. It may seem a bit harsh but I want to see COD do well honestly. I like games being able to become so huge that it becomes part of pop culture. Hell I'm pretty sure my mom called my ps1 and ps2 a Nintndo the whole time I was growing up and I doubt she would know the difference now. I do however know she's heard of Call of Duty and the last game she could ever name before would be either Ms. Pac Man or "Mario". Here's hoping that COD doesn't go the way of Rock Band and Guitar Hero by over-saturating the market. Part of me thinks the damage has already been done but let's hope not.
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