Opinion Piece

I’m tired of being Called to Duty

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.

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15 replies »

  1. Good article. I won’t be picking up MW 3 personally because i felt burned by MW2. I loved Call of Duty 4 and still do to be honest, but when i played MW2 it felt like an utter cluster f**k of game design.

    MW3 just looks like a repeat of MW2 with new maps. They just deviated to much with all the kill streak and the death streaks in my opinion.

    • the problem is they dont seem to have all “new” maps because if you look closely at the picture above and in some of the trailers you can see very close similarities to the maps from COD 4,5,6, and 7

    • Hi mate,

      IIndeed there have been, but as you can see I was referring to there being 7 consecutive COD games in 7 consecutive years. Well, there will have been with MW3 coming out this year

  2. This article pretty much sums up the reason why I’m getting Battlefield 3 this season as opposed to MW3. After what I would call a lackluster performance in the CoD field from Black Ops, I’m ready for a break and want to play something fresh and new. EA has done an excellent job at appealing to the gamer like myself and is tired of CoD, as well as putting on a show for those hardcore MW fans that would die for the franchise. Hopefully BF3 garners enough attention from these Activision fanboys to steal a decent portion of their sales.

  3. You are not alone, I completely agree! After having Black Ops for a few months I came to the conclusion that playing Call of Duty was eating up all my time to finish other great games, and that was especially disheartening because I really wasn’t that into Black Ops, and preferred the Modern Warfare iterations so much more. That said, I’m really excited for Modern Warfare 3, and have decided to buy CoD every other year, or basically only when Infinity Ward makes it. I think it’s definitely true that having the games every year is wearing everyone down, and so they should really go back to only Infinity Ward and let them have the time they need to make the games great.

  4. I feel the same way. I remember looking forward to previous COD titles and now it’s a “whatever” feeling. I haven’t played Black Ops In months and don’t see a reason to pick it up again, I haven’t traded it in because I’m not looking to get $20-$25 in store credit. And like you I’ll be picking up MW3 on launch, play campaign, go online and shoot people, then a few months later put it away like I did Black Ops. I also believe it’s not Activision entire fault they release a game every year, it’s people/fans. Activision simply sees the high numbers year after year so what does anyone do when they see high numbers year after year..you keep going and that’s all Activision is doing.

  5. i couldnt agree more. another thing that sucks is all my friends buy the game and play nothing but cod so i feel inclined to buy it so i can play with my friends. its a pretty shitty system. i wish everyone saw this way so we could change the cod experience and make it something…. better

  6. How should i put this? every sequel nowadays is a 1.5 of the previous it even happened in the past with diablo 2 ,fallout 2 and doom 2 and were solid sequels. It is true cod is coming out all the freaking time, but the thing is that there isnt much else that comes close, eg homefront, crysis 2, moh, all terrible mp games, so people are keep going for cod.

    I wouldnt say cod needs a time off, i be my life that activision is already working on an engine for next gen consoles and save stuff up for a massive upgrade, but am also willing to bet that we wont see that till 1-2 more cods.

    Its the way it works with cod, in any case, why everything has to be about cod? there are other game out there, try them for a change.

  7. It’s a classic example of having your dinner spoiled. The quickest way to ruin someone for you is to have it in excess (or at least it’s high on the list). I stopped playing Call of Duty because I’d rather use the $15 they demand for map packs on a kitchen knife to eviscerate my abdomen and hang myself with my own intestines. Or maybe fifteen tacos (props if you get the reference).

    Infinity Ward and Treyarch have pretty much proven to me something: they don’t care. They are both the right hand of Activision while mediocre licensed games are the left hand. I suppose you could also say Blizzard might be their left hand, but whatever. Treyarch at least tries to mix things up with each game. First, a return to World War II but with a Nazi zombies gameplay mode. Then Black Ops, set in the Cold War setting.

    Infinity Ward continues to milk a story that clearly didn’t leave room for a sequel the first time around. The second time it did, because they knew they weren’t going to let Modern Warfare just roll over and die. They really should be commended, however, for managing to take one of the most famous FPS games of all time and completely imbalance the sequel. Epic trollbait, if you ask me.

    I’m being harsh to Infinity Ward. They might have brought us Modern Warfare, but now they’re starting to reek of the same lazy, penny-pinching ambitions that Bobby Kotick is quick to preach. The cheap tactics online – such as knife-classing – has really killed the entertainment value for me. Trust me, I hate knife-classing a lot more than noob-tubing. I can’t tell you how many times I click the thumbstick (or with Tactical, B), only to: A. Miss, B. Get struck first. Then I spawn pulling my knife out of the air. That’s my biggest bite with Call of Duty. I’m hoping Battlefield 3 won’t have a big issue with this. I just need to play another FPS before I go insane. Crysis 2 didn’t exactly help.

  8. So long as we don’t have 5 different DLC packs that focus solely on Zombie maps we may have a REAL game on our hands. Not to say the multilayer will overshadow the single-player campaign, again, but there’s some hope to the series. The first person shooter is about to turn into something else entirely, and it wont be Zombie maps and Hardcore search and destroy.

    Regardless, FPS games will never be fair. Someone else may win and you might lose. That’s the nature of online FPS over great distances, there’s a certain amount of BS calls to be expected, but so long as their are dedicated servers most people will not notice the latency between matches and just chalk it up to experience, or the lack thereof.

  9. I completely agree man. The saddest part is that I am the most diehard Call of Duty fan I know. I can’t stand the Treyarch multiplayer in W@W and BO but absolutely adore Call of Duty 4 in every way (Captain Price is pretty much my role model lol) MW2 was cool but there were so many overpowered things in MP (ACR, UMP, Harrier/CG/Nuke) that a lot of times I went back to COD4. I love Call of Duty and will hate the day it dies but it’s time to slow down. I am getting MW3 Hardened day 1 BTW and I am looking forward to Spec Ops, the return of my man Price (and Soap), and a more refined but less innovative MP as MW2.

  10. I share the same opinion, and will not be buying this game at all. I bought black ops hoping to play the zombies levels more than anything, but it ended up just collecting dust for a couple weeks before i traded it in. I honestly didnt even enjoy the storyline. Im pretty sure i seen that outcome in 5 or 6 movies, and was a big disappointment if anything. Activision will not stop making money off this, so they continue to put out the same thing over and over. Its the same reason why we go to work….. we dont like to, but thats how we support ourselves and family. They are probably sick of COD to but hey…… they get paid.

  11. Very well expressed yes I do agree the series is getting to be a bit boring and old in reality all games are I gaming after a ling day at work but there’s no real good games out that catch my eye I have been a gears of war fan since the beginning of time but even that game I don’t feel it’s worthy of the tine I invested in part 1 just my opinion people I would really want to see a game that would change gaming like halo did,gow1,cod4 these titles made way for new exciting gameplay but now I find myself enjoying Mario more then any other game I don’t know maybe it’s time for a change I always wanted to try world of Warcraft maybe I will atleast that would be a new experience

    P.S I won’t be supporting mw3 it just looks like a remake of cod4 and mw2 combined until they release something new and different I’ll just rent it from blockbuster and go through the campaign

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