So for years now I have watched people who just pick up a controller and call themselves gamers brag about how Call of Duty is the best game franchise in the history of gaming. Financially and in terms of the market and units sold, they are somewhat correct. However, their opinion of Call of Duty being the best video game franchise of all time is about as valid as Bubsy being considered the best video game franchise of all time. For starters, this is an opinion. Opinion means that it cannot be proven to be one way or the other definitively.
|Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare|
Sure, Call of Duty has a lot of supporters. But so do the likes of Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, Crash Bandicoot, Grand Theft Auto, Sly Cooper, Killzone, Uncharted, Halo, and the list goes on and on and on with video game franchises that have so many people backing them insisting that they are the best video game franchise in the world. But let’s break this down. The numbers statistically say that Call of Duty is the best video game franchise that has ever existed. With the most number of copies sold of a franchise and the most money earned from a franchise. However, that’s not taking into account individual games. Grand Theft Auto V, Minecraft, and Super Mario Bros. have all outsold any individual Call of Duty game, and two of those games are part of a franchise. This does not make their franchise the best in gaming history by far (although many people would make the arguments for both). The fact is that no one gaming franchise is the best definitively. So lets move on to my next topic under this Call of Duty umbrella. People who buy these games every single year insist that these games are the best in the world. They defend their spending on these games every year because they want the latest and greatest in video gaming. Well what if I told you that these same gamers are spending $60 a year (with the additional cost of DLC, additional content, special deals and premium editions that seems to be increasing at an alarming rate) on the same exact game? In my youth, I was a huge fan of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
|Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare|
I used to play this game for hours at a time, engulfing myself in this first person shooter, and I wasn’t even playing the correct version. The version that I had was on the Wii, so I can only imagine the amount of immersion the PS3 or Xbox 360 versions would have given me. I get it, that game was the game to play in its time. It was great. I never played World at War, but I soon graduated to Modern Warfare 2. I acquired all the map packs and all of the DLC, because COD4 addicted me to this game franchise. COD4 got me into this game franchise so deep that I had no intention of letting go. Until, that is, Black Ops came around. I liked Black Ops a decent amount, but I started getting bored of it all. I started getting bored of just running around and shooting people for points. Sure Black Ops introduced some new mechanics and new game modes, but that is simply the barebones of what a sequel to a game should be. In my day, sequels innovated and re-invented in so many ways. Take Crash Bandicoot and Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back. These two games were in the same genre for sure, but they were nowhere near in the same ballpark. The original Crash Bandicoot innovated the platforming genre in a way that no one else could, and Crash Bandicoot 2 built off of that and made a near perfect platformer. In this day in age, it is understandable that the kind of innovation that the Crash Bandicoot franchise pulled off is almost impossible to do, but it would still be nice to do more than the bare minimum, or at the very least take more than a year to develop a game if all they can come up with is barebones material.
|Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2|
Granted, the Crash Bandicoot games came out at one-year intervals, but they all innovated. Crash Bandicoot revolutionized the platforming genre, Crash 2 perfected it, Crash 3 put all the pieces that Crash 2 laid out and put them in the correct order to make an absolutely perfect platformer (and more) and Crash Team Racing was a racing title. As I stated earlier, I’m not asking for a complete revamp (soldiers in go-karts would be a little bit ridiculous), but the fact that these same games come out year after year is a little bit ridiculous. But as stated before, for some reason people buy the games. And that is the reason that the creators of Call of Duty will not stop selling the same game over and over again, because it is a business plan that works and that it will make them money. The discussion of the video game industry turning into a cash cow is a blog for another day, but that is exactly what is happening here. It is nice to see that the Call of Duty trend is dying out a bit, with multiplayer matches being down almost to half of what they were when Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was on the market. But with these numbers, you would think that the makers of Call of Duty would start to think there is something finally broken with their “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” marketing strategy. Something has finally clicked in these gamers’ minds that they are playing the same game over and over again and I couldn’t be happier to say that the Call of Duty numbers are finally dying. The same game conundrum has finally taken effect and people are getting bored. That being said, there is a sliver of hope for Call of Duty fans. Call of Duty: Black Ops III was a game that I had little to no hope for, because none of the other Call of Duty games up to this point had led me to believe that this game was going to be any different at all from its predecessors. but I played it a small amount anyway just to say that I did.
|Call of Duty: Black Ops III|
I have to admit, I was impressed with the game. For once, the Call of Duty team is stepping up and doing things a little differently, granted the things that they are doing are ripping off of what Titanfall did, but honestly who remembers Titanfall? It’s a pity to say, but Titanfall did a lot of things right, but no one really remembers the game. This is where a game such as Call of Duty, a name that everyone knows, steps in and steals the idea from someone who people don’t even remember. It’s a pity and it happens far too often in the gaming industry, but at least it is a step in the right direction in some regard. Personally, I hope that the Call of Duty trend dies out, and I hope something new takes its place. I hope something like Fallout, where they are doing the same thing differently over the course of their franchise or something like the games that we used to know (Crash Bandicoot, Sly Cooper, Ratchet and Clank) step up and innovate again. This might just be my inner old guy nostalgia gamer talking, and I might just have to realize that times are different now and money unfortunately makes the world go round. This new change of pace for Call of Duty is definitely a step in the right direction, however, we will have to wait and see whether or not the producers of the game will actually continue this trend. But one thing that you gamers have to remember is that we have a massive influence on the gaming community. Ultimately, we have the final say as to what gets continued and discontinued. We as informed consumers have the power to make or break games and their franchises. We are the final roadblock between the big businesses and their money. So be careful when buying your next game gamer, because your buy can determine the outcome of the entirety of the gaming community.