How to fix: Call of Duty

25 billion hours played. More than 125 million people have played it. More than five billion in-game cars have been destroyed and more than 32.3 quadrillion shots have been fired since the first game’s release. Yes, everyone has heard of Call of Duty with millions of players logging in every day to run and gun each other in online combat. Yet the once great empire is crumbling as the stagnating series has launched another lack lustre title. Gamers have finally begun to turn on the franchise and with good reason. But there are many ways that would save the once great powerhouse that is the Call of Duty franchise. Here are 9 ways that could turn things around for them:

  1. No more technologically advanced future based games – Ok. So you’ve done World War Two. You’ve done the Vietnam War. You’ve made 3 games on a fictional war with a current military hardware backdrop. Where else can you go? Into the future. Brilliant! NOT THREE TIMES IN A ROW THOUGH. Advanced Warfare (2014), Call of Duty Black Ops III (2015), Infinite Warfare (2016). Not only are these three games all set in the future, but they’re all separate sub genres of the Call of Duty franchise, each created by three different development teams respectively. How can none of them have different ideas? All feature being partially or completely mechanised. All feature fast paced Wall Jumping and flippy nonsense that really shouldn’t be in a realistic shooting game. All feature storylines of one nation/organisation is bad therefore we must stop them doing something bad. Are you telling me that none out of the three development teams have different ideas for their games? They’ve got at least two years to develop their product as Treyarch, Infinity Ward and now Sledgehammer games take it in turns to make their game, and all their products are exactly the same.  HOW?!

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    The futuristic style Call of Duty first appeared in Advanced Warfare in 2014.
  2. No more Jumpy, Flippy S**t – Ok what I mean is no more exosuits and that kind of thing which mostly comes off the back of the futuristic advanced technology setting. Now I know exosuits and stuff like this makes it more believable and current militaries are researching this as we speak. However, what started out as a gimmick in one game has turned into the norm apparently and it has to go. As if CoD wasn’t bad enough with lag and infuriating deaths online, they had to add jumping around and jumping off walls making them game harder for killing others but also more BS deaths occur. Please stop Activision. Whatever happened to normal running like normal humans in a normal war?
  3. Make the game Harder – Now I know what you are thinking. “He’s just said no more exosuits as they’re hard but now he wants the game to be harder.” No. I want single player to be more difficult. I don’t want the same corridor shooting you know and tolerate. I want something new and exciting to CoD’s standard linear on foot murder party. Remember playing the CoD 4 mission ‘All Ghillied Up‘ and how amazing it was? It was such a refreshing mission to partake in. So many memorable missions from the earlier games still resonate with me today. I remember literally nothing from Advanced Warfare or Black Ops III. What I’m trying to say is maybe change it up so that maybe you’re in-game action affect the overall story like in Dishonored. Maybe the more goons you kill the more negative your game’s ending will be? Or make the missions terrifying and make the players realise the horror that is warfare like the opening mission in the Trenches in Battlefield 1. Change is good Activision. Online needs to be revamped entirely as well. Over a decade ago someone decided 90% of a players options should be locked until they’ve played hours and hours as a good idea and they’ve never looked back since. Maybe make all the weapons and loadouts available but you have a certain use time on them or you can choose a select number of items and then only get two changes every week on your loadout kind of like fantasy football? Anything to stop high-ranking sweaters destroying the game for others.

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    The breathtaking game Battlefield 1 really changed the way the BF franchise plays. CoD should really be taking notes from these guys.
  4. Make it a two-year release cycle and bring your developers together – Activision have Infinity Ward, Treyarch and now Sledgehammer making Call of Duty. All three create different games every year. Each have their own sub-franchise in within the franchise. There’s the Modern Warfare series, the Black Ops series, World War II games, Ghosts (although let’s be honest…they wont be reviving that one), Advanced Warfare and now Infinite Warfare. If they all just collaborated, putting their differences in ideas and methods aside and create possibly one of the greatest CoD’s ever. Assassin’s Creed took a year off after AC Syndicate as the franchise has stagnated in recent years in order to focus on creating an amazing game in the upcoming AC Empire. That is what CoD should be doing. The developers don’t even know what CoD is anymore. Infinity Ward knew another Ghosts game wouldn’t go down well so they basically just crossed their usual run and gun future crap and combined it with Star Wars. We haven’t had a brilliant CoD since Black Ops one for crying out loud.

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    ‘All Ghillied Up’ from CoD 4 Modern Warfare was a tense and innovative mission that is sadly, seldom seen in the franchise anymore.
  5. Make a game for the players, not for your profits – Call of Duty, despite its recent stagnation, is still one of the biggest franchises worldwide. A video game makes more a year than some countries. Players adore the game and yet the only reason why they produce so many games is to make profit. I’m not saying no to making money. Go Capitalism! What I’m saying is make the games about the players again. Stop trying to squeeze every penny out of them by releasing a game every year that’s pretty much the same as the last. Also, Activision makes these games with the elite, online gamer in mind. The E-sports gamers. Activision have realised that they can make a lot of money from turning their once player oriented FPS into an elite only shooter making millions off online tournaments in a similar fashion to Counter Strike Global Offensive. For once, take note of the fans rather than ignore them. All those down votes on the reveal trailer for infinite warfare were both a reaction to the fact that the community didn’t like the game but also that they again had been ignored by the developers. Until CoD realise their fans matter, then they could be digging their own graves.

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    CoD’s main focus seems to be hardcore players who compete in the Call of Duty World League, ignoring the needs of normal fans everywhere.
  6. No more Supply Drops – Please stop with micro transactions guys! Honestly, not just CoD but the video game industry as a whole is usurping every penny out of the players but charging them for supply drops that gift the players ether new weapons or skins or advantages. Now making them based on time played and in-game achievements is fine. It rewards good play in-game. Making you pay for them and constantly encouraging players to spend a little here and a little there just isn’t fair. We’ve paid for the game. Some have bought special editions and limited editions costing vast amounts more. Then you have the season pass or purchasing of individual map packs instead further adding to the cost. Then the encouragement to spend on supply drops…christ how does a CoD player have any more left? This has to stop. Everyone has to make money but now you’re just milking it. You ignore what the players want in your games and then encourage them to buy stuff that doesn’t even aid their experience like gun skins in a game that fans don’t even want to be playing.
  7. Keep Split-Screen – Don’t even think about getting rid of Split-Screen. Seriously, back in the day playing split-screen online with friends was one of the greatest things of all time. Now more and more shooters have done away with it entirely. Especially since a lot of games releasing over the last few years are online only. Many don’t have an internet connection or can’t afford Xbox Live or PSN Membership, certainly not after spending stupid amounts buying their copies of CoD. Doing away with this hallowed method of play would break many gamers hearts and I sit here begging Activision not to take it away.

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    The ‘boots on the ground’ style like in older games like World at War is all but obsolete now.
  8. If you are going to release a remaster of one of your classic games, make it so that you can purchase it separately – Infinite Warfare is more of an off-brand Halo sequel that’s horrendously depressing. That’s why when at the end of the reveal trailer when it was shown that CoD 4: Modern Warfare was being remastered everyone lost their minds. I know I did. Finally, the game every wanted, which was a game released ten years ago. But Activision saw the hype that followed and made it so that you can only have the remaster if you bought some stupid legacy edition of IW. The only reason they did this was to make more money out of their already cashless followers but to also justify the creation of another future tech shooter due to increased sales, even though most of their fans only want the remaster. This Legacy Edition retailed around £80 upon release. I like many others got suckered into buying it in order to relive the glory days. But sadly, you must have the IW disc inserted in order to play MW, meaning you can’t just purchase the Legacy Edition and then trade in Infinite Warfare. I haven’t even installed IW. I have played countless hours on the remaster and boy is it fantastic…but how dare Activision seriously treat us like consumerist cattle and force us to buy products we don’t want nor need. If Activision plan on remastering MW2 or MW3 or maybe Treyarch decide on releasing a remastered Black Ops bundle, please please please release it separate to any CoD game you’re releasing that year.

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    One of the last generation’s classics: CoD 4 Modern Warfare‘s remaster is absolutely phenomenal and graphically stunning.
  9. Stop tacking on Zombies and make a separate game already – I remember unlocking “Nacht Der Untoten” after completing the campaign for CoD: World at War. I remember being absolutely terrified by the endless hordes of zombies running at me without signs of stopping. I remember how much that mode frightened me to my core during my earlier teens. Then I look at zombies mode now and go…WTF?! A once proud easter egg consisting of three rooms, some guys and the premise of shoot zombies to get points, the round ends and more appear next round. Now I don’t even know what zombies is anymore? Massive Maps with stupidly hard enemies and ridiculous power ups that aren’t realistic at all. Neither are zombies I know. But, those first few maps had realism by their sides. Now it’s a colour cluster f**k of what the hell is going on? I praise them for making zombies have an interesting storyline and memorable characters like Richtofen, Takeo, Nikolai and Tank but if you are going to make zombies great again, make a separate game. Activision as mentioned has three CoD development teams, one of which is Sledgehammer games who created the first Dead Space game – one of the greatest horror games of all time. Give them the zombies franchise and let them run with it separately.  If money is what the developers want, making a separate game would earn them so much more and it would give zombies a chance to be good again rather than a rushed, sloppy extra that it is today.

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    The once frightening add-on mode has been replaced by a wacky Zombies Ate My Neighbours take on zombie horror featuring David Hasselhoff.

One thing that I have learnt that could be one of the main reasons to CoD’s recent downfall is that their fan base is getting older. Every underage racist who has apparently had sex with your mum during CoD 4 is probably at university now or undertaking an apprenticeship or working full-time. As you get older, gaming becomes harder. I remember running home from school to play online with my friends everyday. Now my old CoD clan 3PIC are Marine Biologists, mechanics, nurses, sports coaches and so many more amazing roles in society. These guys don’t have time for running and gunning anymore. The fan base is getting older and it saddens me. My Call of Duty experience these days is a nostalgic one, hence why I love the remaster as I become a sentimental sap when playing it. Like Andy in Toy Story 3, we’ve grown up but we will never forget.

The once great Call of Duty franchise is dying. Unless they take into consideration these 9 methods to fixing it and of course my other observation, then I guess we could be saying goodbye to the once great giant of shooters.

Charlie Mike CoD.

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