Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Problem With Call of Duty

Call of Duty.  One of the most popular video game's of all time, constantly breaking sales records every year.  And yet their are many people who are very vocal about their hate for the series.  Well, I'm one of those people.  But before all of you who love the series to death start hating on me, let me explain just why I can't stand the series.  Just hear me out here.

Let me start by saying that I wasn't always this way.  No, there was a time when I had heard of this game called Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.  It was the next big thing, people were talking about it like crazy, and my friend told me I should give it a shot.  So I did.  And let me tell you, I loved it.  I played the shit out of it. Every night we'd go around kicking ass and taking names.  Times were good, the game was enjoyable, and most of all, the game was completely and utterly innovating.  It was so simple, yet so in depth.  Unlocking guns, perks, being able to shoot through walls, the whole 9 yards.  It was a great thing.

Then World at War came out.  I heard a lot of hate for World at War, and I'll admit that I didn't like it near as much as Modern Warfare, but there was something very special about it.  A little game mode called Nazi Zombies.  Once again, this was new, sure we'd had plenty of zombie games in the past, but something about this just felt so right.  We played for hours, always trying to find out what path was the best way to take, and see just how far we could make it.  Every map brought something new to the table, always growing bigger, always testing us.  Time and time again we'd die, always learning from our mistakes and making it just a bit further every time.  Life was good.

Then Modern Warfare 2 was released.  I remember it well.  My friend and I rushed our way to Walmart, waited in line for a good half hour, and finally we had the game.  We played it all night that night.  We took a liking to the throwing knives, and we had an epic riot shield/throwing knife combo going.  It wasn't the most effective way of killing enemies, but I'll be damned if it wasn't fun doing it.  We played for weeks.  And as the weeks went by, slowly but surely my final consensus was dawning on me.  Sure, this was a lot of fun.  I was having a good time.  There were a few cool new additions.  But... Why am I playing it, honestly?  This is just Modern Warfare with a shiny new coating over it.  Nevertheless, there was enough to keep me going.  The story was good, and it was fresh enough to where I didn't mind.  Not to mention Infinity Ward was one of my favorite companies at the time.  So I continued to play.

But we all know what happens next, don't we?  Activision happens.  Now, I would like to point out that I have hated Activision for a long time.  I have hated them ever since they screwed Harmonix out of Guitar Hero, and not mention good old Robert Kotick made it quite clear that he didn't care about us gamers, and only cared about making money.  And now all of the sudden the Infinity Ward heads are quitting and being sued byActivision.  And thus ended the end of the glory days.  This was the last straw for me.  I watched as the once great series succumbed itself to what I like to call "Guitar Herosyndrome".

So this leads me to my first point of why I no longer like Call of Duty:

1.  It never changes.  Call of Duty is Call of Duty.  It's been exactly the same game with a few (very few) tweaks added to it, maybe a new era added to it.  You get the same perks, same guns (just throw a different name on them and call it good), and add-ons to the said guns, same small maps, same campers, same noob-tubers, sameeverything.  Every year is the same game.  Which therein leads me to my next point.

2.  Every year.  This is the problem.  They pump these suckers out every single year.  Now yes, I do understand that there are two companies making these games, so it doesn't take just a single year to make them, it in fact takes two years to make each game, but why not just combine the developers, and have them make a Call of Dutygame every two years?  This way you could get twice as much done, and probably make a halfway decent game with some new God damned idea's.  Instead, they just take the same engine from last years game and reformat it to fit the next games era.  This is insane.  They make it blatantly obvious that it's the same game every single year, yet it has record breaking sales time and time again.

3.  Its popularity.  Yes, this is quite a problem, and I know that a lot of people can't stand it simply because it's popular.  But I'm not one of those guys.  I'm not some hipster who hates it simply because others like it.  No, you see, it goes so much deeper than that.  Today's gaming industry is mainly filled with non-creative bastards who don't care about anything but making money.  The popularity of Call of Duty shows that this is a game concept that works.  And the problem with that, is that I'm seeing other companies jump onto the bandwagon with the "Call of Duty" feel.  If you've read my post about relating the Halo franchise to a cake, then you know that I feel that the newHalo 4 feels a hell of a lot like Call of Duty, and I can't stand it.  I am also a rabid fan of the Battlefield Bad Company series.  I was hyped for the release of Battlefield 3, but in the end I was unbearably disappointed by how much the game differed from its roots, and in some cases, I would say that it felt a hell of a lot like Call of Duty.  Now I don't have a problem with the franchise itself being very popular, the problem I with it is that other companies are realizing the success it's having and implementing it into their own games.  It's very draining to see great games I love succumb to the easily marketable "Call of Duty feel".

4.  The community is complete shit.  Now I'm not naive enough to think that every singleCall of Duty player is a simple minded, ignorant asshole.  However, from playing online many a times, it would seem that a large majority is.  If you're unsure on which type you are, I can help you out.  If you're reading this article and thinking "He's got some good points, but I disagree" or "I disagree with what this man says because...", then you are a well thought out, reasonable human being.  However, if you're sitting there reading this and you think "This guy is a faggot" or "Fuck this guy, he can suck my balls" then good job, you are ever so slowly devolving the human race back into the idiotic cavemen we used to be!  Another way to tell if you are that type of person, is if you read the title of this article, and immediately decided to comment about how I'm wrong, without even reading the article.  But I suppose you wouldn't even make it to this point, so it's kind of unnecessary to point that one out.

5.  Activision.  I am at the point where I refuse to support any game that this company makes money from (save for Blizzard).  This company is like a virus.  It will take a good thing, publicize the crap out of it , and then when sales finally start dropping, it will drop like a baby in a dumpster (see Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk for more reference).  AndCall of Duty just so happen to be the longest running contender to this. 

Now don't get me wrong, I get it.  "If it's not broken, then don't fix it", right?  Well, believe it or not, it is possible to keep the same formula, whilst making a brand new, innovating game out of it.  Nintendo has been doing it for years, and doing a damn good job at it as well.  But I can guarantee that as long as Call of Duty sells, then Activision will continue to market it, not even thinking about changing any other than the year it takes place in.


  1. Thank you. This is so similar to what I say and believe about the series that it feels like I wrote it. I think I love you. Any way the only thing I have to say is I though World at War was the best, because the guns took way more skill to use, and it was so realistic, and an extremely fun campaign. The moment Reznov cuts that guy up and gets you to place the flag up you feel like you're there, like you've walked and fought every mile for that, one of my favorite moments in all gaming. Also I disagree about Halo 4, but I am probably wrong, I had the first Halo when I was 7 years old and have loved Halo ever since, it was my first shooter ever, so I am probably just biased by nostalgia. Great post!

  2. There is no "right" or "wrong" when it comes to these kind of things, my word is definitely not absolute, it is simply my opinion.

    Nostalgia also has quite the effect on me. As I began playing Reach I REALLY enjoyed it, but it took me a long to time to finally admit that it I felt it was better than Halo Reach. I think a big part of it is because Halo 2 was really the big one for me. I did play the original a lot, but I didn't get xbox live until Halo 2 (which was really about the time live was getting big). I played it with my cousin every day after school. Nostalgia is both a blessing and a curse.