Published on May 16th, 2016 | by Scot Mackay0
COD IS JUST A FISH
It was Call of Duty 2 that gave me the fever, the illness or what I could more accurately describe as an addiction.
I stormed the beaches of Pointe Du Hoc as part of the American advance on D-Day, cowering from overwhelming gunfire. I rallied my Russian brethren to topple a German stronghold in Stalingrad by (literally) bringing the house down. I even got to trek across the North-western Libya……with a fleet of frickin’ tanks.
It was war, and I liked it.
A year later and I was greeted by its sequel, the uniquely named Call of Duty 3. This offered a slight graphical improvement and allowed me to explore the wonders of war torn France and experience some intense firefights straight out of Band of Brothers.
Now we all know what happened next.
A singularity occurred. A momentous moment where design, function, cinematic style, playability, story, balance and sheer bloody gorgeousness blended into one product and created what many gamers consider to be the best game in the Cod series – Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
It moved the gamer to the modern age and instantly became an accessible hit for seasoned gamers and was also responsible for bringing a new audience to the gaming scene.
Something in its design lured a large influx of what I am going to call ‘Part Time Gamers’ (feel free to take offense) and the videogames industry got a massive boost in revenue which helped developers invest that money in new IP’s and improve on their products. It wasn’t a rescue of the industry but it did very well to revitalise it.
As soon as Infinity Ward/Activision realised the Money Mecca they hand on their hands, they were quick to capitalise. DLC packs were already prepped and systematically released to keep one of the best multiplayer experiences fresh and entertaining.
My friends and I poured hours into the MP and many a night was spent, drinking, partying and shooting each other into the wee hours of the morning. Let me tell you, it is not easy to play COD after a half bottle of Absinthe….. but we did it anyway. It was a game that could be crowded around, talked about in the school corridors or even in the work place. It became cool to be a gamer or at least, play Call of Duty. For example: as large as the community that Halo has, it still is, in many respects, quite a difficult game to take a full understanding for a P.T.G. With its incredible amount of history and lore its only accessible enough for those who wish to take it all in.
COD 4 was different. Set in the real world with real problems, people could relate to it instantly. With a plot that would make James Bond take a pass, guys got to be the soldier they had always wanted to be as little kids running around with sticks and the ladies got to kick the ass of these little boys with their superior skills. So it was win-win.
The series began to split here with titles being released in the modern era and other still set in the historical theatres of war. Call of Duty: World at War from developer Treyarch still stands as one of my favourite of all time. I loved those Bouncing Bettys!!
It was after this that things went stale for me. With releases of Modern Warfare 2, 3, Black ops, 2, 3, Ghosts, Advanced Warfare and god knows all the other titles released on different formats such as COD Roads to Victory, COD Heroes, Strike Team, Black Ops Declassified, Black ops Zombies, World at War Zombies and Modern Warfare Mobilized…..you can really see that there is an overwhelming oversaturation of titles pushed into a relatively small amount of time.
It is from this over saturation that I believe my issue stems.
Like the Rocky movies taught us, we should all know when to quit. We loved it When he knocked the crap out of Apollo Creed the first time. We loved it the second time too. We even loved it when Mr T told Adrian “to come get with a real man” before Rocky (guess what) knocked him out too…eventually. The list goes on.
My point is, as a series goes on maybe it is just not enough to innovate, to constantly add things to the base game. Changing the location is all well and done but if it’s the same tired formula that once was great, the light dims after a time. Hell, even I have to change my boxers after wearing them for a week no matter how comfy they are.
COD has become too comfortable in its own skin, and despite its “Innovations” of which I am sure there are some but I really do struggle to name them, let’s see. Wall-running? Possibly. New perks and killstreaks? Yeah sure. Character customisation? A little. I really do struggle. Especially after the wall-running mechanic and perks work so much better and fluidly on Titanfall which if you remember was designed and launched by Respawn Entertainment headed up by Vince Zampella, Jason West and 38 of the original 46 Infinity Ward employees who jumped ship. It may just be time to stop and simply do something else.
With the recent trailer reveal for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare being revealed and quickly dismantled by the always correct public. Over 2,032,872 people have been giving it the thumbs down and backed this up with more horrific (and often hilariously insightful) comments stating how Battlefield 1 has already defeated COD.
Now, I am not daft enough to base any future sales figure against Youtube comments but it has been interesting to see what started out as murmurs of discontent a few years ago develop into people screaming on all the various social medias heralding in the end of the series and the death of COD (maybe that was just me) but it’s hard to ignore.
In saying this, the public are a fickle bunch and we can hate something with the passion of Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction and the next moment we can love it just as much as…well, Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction.
COD will sell!
If they announced tomorrow that COD will release in black and white with 8bit graphics and a soundtrack made up solely by an eclectic mix of whale song, you would be the first to Tweet “WTF?? That’s COD f*cked then. I’m off to play Battlefield” or at least nip over to see the trailer before making your preconceived decision to instantly dislike it. Give it a few months, new trailers leak, new details emerge, new game modes are included and you get a free pony with every copy…. now we have the turning of the tide.
In the case of CODIW we are being teased, baited even! With the promise of a re-mastered COD 4 MW it does look like daddy is getting that pony. On seeing the footage of the re=mastered Modern Warfare, I can say my fingers twitched for the pre-order button. This will be the only way to get hold of this re-mastered version and that instantly angered me. It felt as if they didn’t have the confidence in their product so lumbered on this incredible MW experience to bolster the sales instead of allowing it to sell on its own merits. Now we will never know if this could be the biggest selling title in the COD series as we just don’t know why people are buying it. For the IW game or the re-mastered MW?
I have both loved and loathed Call of Duty. I have fallen into its sales traps many a time knowing full well what I was doing yet I couldn’t stop. It has taken me on some fantastic journeys emotionally (mostly rage) and physically (to the bank). It has pushed other games to be better and should be praised for that. It has brought new audiences, those Part Time Gamers (PTG’S) into the video games world and the industry has benefited from that increased investment. It has forged an unreproducible path, set records and gained rewards too numerous to count. It has achieved the incredible but its time has come…..and gone.
Let us put it to rest and focus on new avenues to blow our minds. That is what video games do. On top of innovation, creativity must flourish.
Maybe the next Modern Warfare will be back on Earth and realistic. Maybe it will be a political simulator where you get to treat David Cameron and Vladimir Putin like Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots.
The war is over, let’s go home.