Perhaps it is too cliché to say Call of Duty is killing itself but hear me out. Over the past decade we have been hit with a new Call of Duty almost like clockwork. Every year either Activision or Treyarch graces the world with another rendition of what amounts to the same game. Though the setting changes and the graphics improve it’s basically the same story about strangely over funded terrorists doing some nefarious thing that we all should be afraid of.
Much like tom Clancy novels there is no end to the unambiguously “bad guy” that we get to shoot at. In the beginning there were Nazi’s, and it was good, yet unlike God Activision stuck with their first creation for quite some time. Though I have no complaints personally, at some point you do feel bad about all those Nazi kids without parents to teach them fancy salutes. So we move on to terrorists, or terrorist states, or nation states being manipulated by terrorists, you get the picture. With the vast amount of theoretical wars to draw upon we really seem to prefer obvious black and white enemies as opposed to the potentially awkward game that would be the French Revolution.
Ultimately though no one cares about the story at all really, and this is the crux of the problem. The single player campaigns have gotten shorter and shorter and the multiplayer has become more and more polished, to the point now where most people playing Call of Duty couldn’t tell you what is actually going on in the game, only shrugging it off as a bonus feature when they are bored or the internet has gone down. Despite this the games still sell like they’re the only water available to a thirsty land. But that’s the problem really, they aren’t the only game in town and slowly every year they are bleeding sales. Every new call of duty that has been released has been selling worse than its predecessor. Even with the game play changing Advanced Warfare this story hasn’t changed.
Despite facing this horrible realization, the over milking has reached its peak with the aggressive DLC releases. DLC, or as I like to call it, “big budget micro transactions,” can only take you so far and the industry itself can only bleed your willingness for so long before there is nothing left. The success of Call of Duty is its own enemy, with the game play becoming so polished over the years that developers both can’t and won’t deviate from that formula. To make matters worse the market is simply oversaturated. We drank deeply at that fire hose and now we can’t get our heads clear of the torrent. An easy solution would be to create demand by spacing out releases, but that wouldn’t happen. Would you rather get slowly diminishing sales over five years while you risk destroying your IP like the late Guitar Hero, or do you wait a few years for the chance of getting a handful of those people back.
I am not saying that Call of Duty is dead. Eventually, however, it definitely has the potential to die. Case in point Guitar Hero; we literally got five, that’s right five guitar hero games in the year 2009. Wait a minute who was it that published Guitar Hero? Oh right that was Activision. Activision has no reason to slow down either with their recent announcement that 175 million Call of Duty games have been sold so far. Lets just hope they figure out a better formula before they give up and move on to destroy another game series, like Golf.
As a side note, I appreciate the opportunity to rant on the Amish Baby Machine website. These guys are funny and their podcast deserves your support so please hit up their Patreon which I’m sure you can find a link for all over this site. If you want to find our stuff we are at thedistractedgamers.com. Once again suck it internet and ill see you guys next time.