The most anticipated video game of all time (so they say every single year) will be released unto the public tonight at the strike of midnight. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is developer Infinity Ward’s latest title to hit the consoles and PCs of gamers around the world. Millions of these gamers will be waiting in line at midnight to be among the first to play the game.
Contrary to past releases of Call of Duty, I’m actually not excited at all about this new installment. Here’s why:
First, let’s start with a mild history lesson. I’ve been a Call of Duty fan ever since Call of Duty 2 was released back in 2005. It was the first game that actually sparked my interest in PC gaming. It was incredibly immersive and I remember playing through the single player campaign way too many times.
Fast forward two years later when Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare released. To say the least, I absolutely loved it. The series just kept getting better and better. To this day there’s no game that I’ve played more than CoD4 and there probably never will be. In my opinion, it’s the perfect game. The storyline was amazing and the multiplayer was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. The maps were incredibly good, and I guess it helped that I had a ton of friends to frag with.
Now, let’s fast forward again to today. Since CoD4, three more Call of Duty titles have been released: World at War, Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops. Collectively I have spent $170 on these games (all PC version), but only played each enough to complete the single player campaign and maybe play a few hours of multiplayer. All three games have been sitting on my shelf since, collecting dust.
In a nutshell, these three games were a big disappointment and an even bigger waste of money. World at War had an incredibly boring single player (the soundtrack was good, though) and was simply a crappy, updated version of CoD2 (which I’d rather play instead). Modern Warfare 2 was an attempt to try to make a better sequel to the greatest CoD game ever (CoD4), which is simply impossible. Plus, the removal of dedicated servers pretty much screwed all hope I had with Infinity Ward. Finally, there’s Black Ops, which was actually the best out of the three, but it was deemed unplayable for PC gamers upon release. The patches thereafter hardly did anything and it actually took around a month for the game to become playable at the very minimum. At that point, I was too frustrated to even bother.
Put simply, the Call of Duty franchise has taken a nosedive and is turning into nothing more than a money maker. Thanks to the earlier titles like CoD2 and CoD4 (which built the franchise and made it famous), developers no longer need to put any effort into developing a record-selling game. All they have to do is quickly put together a mediocre FPS title and slap those three famous words on the box. Even if it’s a game that’s missing dedicated servers or that’s practically unplayable, gamers will somehow still buy it, all because of the franchise’s history and name that it built for itself. Pretty remarkable, eh?
The problem here is a lack of innovation and way too much repetition. Developers today are just churning out remakes of older games without bringing anything new to the table. Infinity Ward actually innovated with CoD4. They brought in a completely new era that actually wasn’t based around World War II and completely redefined cinematography in video games. It’s sadly been used as a blueprint and template ever since.
As far as fixing the problem: it can’t be done now, but I think there are ways that could have avoided it. For starters, I think that the series would’ve been much better off if the release of each game was further apart. CoD2 and CoD4 would have been more than capable to occupy gamers for a few years, both gameplay and graphics wise. By increasing the wait period between each installment, it would not only increase anticipation for the next sequel, but it would also get rid of the insane repetition and monotony that the series has recently obtained and give the developers even more time to crank out a solid game without having to take shortcuts. Plus, the series would’ve lasted much longer and there would have been less frustrated gamers.
However, the release period is Activision’s (the publisher) decision, which is completely out of the developers’ hands, sadly.
So who cares what gamers think? The mainstream gaming industry is all about increasing profits nowadays, and if that means cranking out a new game every single year and saving on costs by getting rid of some crucial in-game features at the expense of a few upset gamers, then so be it. As long as the games are flying off the shelves, there’s absolutely nothing Activision and other publishers need to be worried about.
And yes, I still plan on buying further installments of Call of Duty — probably not right on release day, but later on when the game doesn’t cost the full price that it’s not worth.