Video Games are way worse than movies when it comes to recycling the same idea over and over again. The biggest culprit of this in my opinion is the Call of Duty franchise.
This week Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was announced for a November release, like clockwork. Activision has produced about 16 Call of Duty games since 2003, most of them themed around the World War II era. COD games were just another fish in the sea of First Person Shooters set to the theme of WWII. It became stale though as people grew tired of constantly re-living that time period in video games. What really defined the series again was the 2007 release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, more specifically the highly addicting multiplayer.
Let’s give credit where credit’s due. Modern Warfare did re-energize the First Person Shooter genre by adapting the “hamster wheel” leveling system of RPGs into a First Person Shooter multiplayer experience. Meaning you’re enticed to devote time on the game from little rewards dangled in front of you like unlockable weapons and perks. Once you reach the end of the treat line you’re faced with a decision… continue on with everything you’ve earned and live like a King or “Prestige”? The concept of “Prestige” is simultaneously the dumbest and smartest idea ever integrated in a video game. To Prestige means to reset everything you’ve done so you can do it all over again. Why would anyone do this?? Good question… To get more replay value out of the game for a while and for a shiny new emblem that shows everyone how long it’s been since you’ve actually had sex with a girl. Modern Warfare was a breath of fresh air, especially for console gamers, but 4 years and 4 COD titles later and we’re still doing the same thing…
I played the shit out of the COD games since Modern Warfare. I don’t want to know how many hours I actually put in to Modern Warfare 2, or Black Ops for that matter, but I am tired of them now. I can’t even pick up Black Ops anymore without immediately being bored. Am I the only one that feels this way? Call of Duty is the new Madden to me. Each year you can expect a new one and most likely the changes will grow to be smaller and smaller. Modern Warfare was a revolution for Call of Duty, I agree, but every game since has been tweaks of the same shit. Do I blame Activision? No. Good for them for being able to rehash games and make literally billions of dollars by doing so, but eventually people are going to get frustrated with them… just like this kid was…
Is the world going to go crazy when Modern Warfare 3 comes out? Probably. Most folks don’t care about all the lawsuits that took place with the guys that made the Modern Warfare games, or the difference in developers between M.W. and Black Ops, or the time period difference in the games. They just care about shooting guns, calling people racial slurs online and exploiting glitches that make the game less enjoyably for everyone else. I’m not bitter, honestly. BTW – How does a rated “Mature” game have so many players under the age of 7 screaming on Xbox Live?? WTF.
My friend Joe frequently likes to point out his opinion that “all FPS’ are the same”. I understand that statement from someone who isn’t interested in the genre, but there are plenty of differences that separate games like Halo and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 from Call of Duty. I enjoy First Person Shooters, they can be very entertaining when there’s a unique idea fueling them, like the recent Crysis 2 or Portal for example. While I’d like to see more games stray away from this design the fact of the matter is that FPS’ will always be an effective way to make games.
I feel like your Call of Duty brand needs to take a break for a while if not permanently. Please funnel your COD profits into something fresh so that your competitors will have to spend the next few years playing catchup. Stop releasing the same game into a growing market of modern war era shooters. Feel free to use Rockstar Games as your example. They realized that the Grand Theft Auto franchise needed to take a break, so they came out with 2 fresh ideas, Red Dead Redemption and L.A. Noir. Both are similar in style but they took a risk to do something new and it worked (better in my opinion)! You don’t have to stop making shooters, just do something different for God’s sake. Remember how there have been 5 Halo shooters in the past 10 years compared to the 16 COD’s and that community is just as strong? Remember when Valve could have easily put out another few Half Life games but they created Left 4 Dead instead? I dare you to do something better and know you can.
Anyway, this is just my two cents. I know that the community of Call of Duty lovers is huge and they’ll buy the game regardless, but here’s my prediction on Modern Warfare 3. If it doesn’t get delayed a year (like most games do these days) it will sell decent but review mediocre for it’s recycled gameplay and the brand will die from overstaying it’s welcome. I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it.
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