As I write this a thought is banging itself against the inside of my head demanding attention, like some sort of irate 4-year old demanding sweets: how many people will just read the title of this little piece and post a rage comment without ever actually reading the whole thing? The sad truth is probably quite a few, because fanboys are all too willing to leap to the defense of their game like a knight in shining armour at the merest hint of something they view as a criticism. So let us get something straight: I like Call of Duty, having played every game in the series (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare remains top of my list), and I’m sure I’ll enjoy Modern Warfare 3 as well. But that does not stop me from saying this; I’m getting tired of Call of Duty.
In the past six consecutive years there have been consecutive Call of Duty games, with Modern Warfare 3 being the 7th game in seven years, and I’ve been finding it increasingly hard to get myself excited for the next iteration in the series. I know I’ll enjoy the epic singleplayer and have a blast blowing people up online, but I know what’s coming in each sequel; more set pieces and a few multiplayer tweaks. I also know that many of my friends will buy the game, and so I feel compelled to buy it as well so I can enjoy some gaming time with them. ironically they’re buying it because they think I and other friends of theirs are buying it as well. Stupid, stupid Call of Duty cycle.
This isn’t Call of Duty’s fault; every sequel made makes it increasingly difficult to come up with new features for the next game, and there’s only so much tweaking you can do. The first few games are generally easier, with the second game often taking the biggest leap – a prime example being Assassin’s Creed 2. The third game then tends to be evolution rather than revolution, and then as the series progresses the rate of evolution begins to slow. The result is each game tends to feel awfully similar to the last, no matter what disguise the singleplayer setting provides. I voiced this theory of progressively slowing evolution on a forum once and received a reply of ” Yeah, but Uncharted 2 was a sequel”, which actually proved my point; being the second game in the series meant there was still a good bit of room for improvement, tweaking and new ideas to be inserted. it also proved that some people don’t pay attention and just post comments without reading what they’re replying to.
So my solution is a pretty simple one; Call of Duty needs to take some time off, let me breath and the return two years down the line and remind why I loved the series in the first place. Take the Battlefield series for instance; it runs on a two-year developement cycle, which not only allows DICE time to try to keep the series feeling fresh, but also allows fans time to build up genuine excitement for the next title in the series. Of course Call of Duty is actually on a two-year developement cycle as well, but that’s thanks to having multiple teams working on the title, but that also means they release a new title every year. It’s over-saturation. This is, in my view, also one of the reasons as why the Halo series has worked so well over the years; there’s time in-between titles for the hype to build around the next game. The previous one fades into memory, leaving just the fond memories and anticipation of what is going to new and different for the latest iteration.
It’s like eating your favorite meal every day for a year; the first week will probably be heaven, the second will still be nice, the third week will probably see you starting to feel a bit sick, and by the fourth you’ll have gone insane, grabbed a hammer, put a kettle on your head and gone on some sort of mental Red Faction rampage through the nearest city. Call of Duty is beginning to feel like this to me. Too much of a good thing, and that.
Whenever I sit down and begin to think about the games I’m looking forward to many titles pop into my head; Rage, Batman: Arkham City, Gears of War 3 and so many more, but Modern Warfare 3 doesn’t pop into my head. It’s not that I know I’m going to hate it, because I’m not. I know it will be a damn good shooter with plenty of multiplayer options, but Call of Duty: Black Ops is still fresh in my mind and I know that the two games will feel pretty similar.
Of course there’s also the Call of Duty hating trend that seems to be sweeping the internet at the moment, with gamers all claiming that they won’t be buying Modern Warfare 3 and that it needs a major change! And yet we all know that many of these people are hypocrites; they’ll buy Modern Warfare 3, and if you actually changed the series in any major way the resulting tidal wave of gamers demanding to know why something was changed would be enough to engulf an entire planet. Sure, people love to shout about getting new IP’s and series not being afraid to make a major change, but if it actually happens there’s always outrage instead of support.
That’s not to say that there aren’t some interesting changes coming in Modern Warfare 3, and a burning New York city is always going to make for an interesting singleplayer experience, filled, no doubt, with epic explosions and even more set-pieces. But still, the core of the game will remain the same, just with some tweaks and a new storyline.
To me, putting the next Call of Duty on hold would help me get regain that old excitement about the series. Wait for just two years, then release the next game, that way Modern Warfare 3 won’t be so fresh in my mind; I’ll have forgotten whatever flaws it had and only remember the great times I had shooting fools in the face. But this won’t happen, as Activision are hardly going to miss out on a year of profits simply to keep me happy.
Somehow I think no one else feels this way, after all the internet lies; gamers can’t be getting fed up of Call of Duty, because the sales figures kep going up. it’s like they’re offering free candy with each new Call of Duty title or something.
Am I on my own? Who Knows. But what I do know is I’ll pick up Modern Warfare 3, I’ll have a blast and then I’ll trade it in about a month after release. And then, I’ll get less excited about Call of Duty: Something Something Something.
If you’ve read this far without rage commenting I commend you. I admit that this is a rant, and that getting it off my chest feels good. Perhaps a few of you even agree, and more likely lots of you don’t.
Oh, and feel free to rage comment now, you’ve managed to wait this long after all. You deserve it.
Categories: Opinion Piece