I feel it might be a bit to early for a Call of Duty post on Ghostwriter, it’s not something I’d usually care enough about to have an opinion on these days but I’m just going to throw this out there. I actually enjoyed Infinite Warfare.
I’ve just been reading the statements from Activision discussing the latest in their over saturated and tired series and I can’t help but wonder what the future for Call of Duty really is now. Where is its relevance in the shooter market. Battlefield 1 was a genuine surprise at its reveal and DICE have released a quality shooter that not only is a natural progression for the series, polishing it’s mechanics and production value, but also looks back in time and manages to stand out in the crowded first person genre with a fresh setting. Yes it might not have won everyone over, going way back to World War One, but damn did I know a lot of people playing that game over release.
Call of Duty however, at least according to Activision, “didn’t resonate” with fans. I wouldn’t call myself a Call of Duty fan anymore; I lapped up the original Modern Warfare and it’s sequels – both campaign and multiplayer. I never cared much for Black Ops, or the others since, but Inifite Warfare surprised me. I watched the story trailer, I read an article or two on the campaigns structure and you know what, I absolutely loved playing it. I’m a big fan of Sci-Fi and I’ve played most of the big shooter set in a futuristic space setting, however Infinite Warfare really captured, at least for me, a very different take on it. Never have I felt more grounded in a game set in space. By that I mean the authenticity was really there, at least on a level selling me what a future Navy of Earth could run like and look like in zero G. It wasn’t perfect, it’s still Call of Duty and it’s still a corridor shooter with a shallow plot designed for quick cheap thrills and flashy, expensive one night stands; but that setting and the way the story told was like no other game around at the moment. It even offered a little freedom and choice within it’s short campaign and it really felt for a few moments like Activision were testing the waters and allowing their studios to try and move the series forward a little. It actually made me feel like the Captain of a spaceship as well, and that I was calling the shots.
However that’s the campaign, and honestly who other than me buys a Call of Duty game for it’s campaign. Sure enough on inspecting it’s multiplayer I was sorely disappointed and this is where in my opinion Call of Duty fails to resonate with those fans still clinging to its sinking ship. It’s stale, it’s not evolved enough, really at all since it began and it’s time Activision went back to the drawing board. It feels perfectly fine to play, it’s a slick package, but it’s also devoid of emotion. Sprinting relentlessly around a tiny map (especially for todays standards) waiting for an enemy to line up in your sights or for you to line up in someone elses can only go so far and I would love Activision to genuinely challenge what we expect of a Call of Duty game’s multiplayer suite.
Although this years sales will be the telling information, I suspect even a change in setting might not be enough to truly excite fans again, especially if they follow through with going back to the series’ roots which suggests a World War Two historical scenario. Hopefully a serious shake up to the formula is on the horizon. Whatever you do Activision, please don’t ignore the single player.