Home | Sunday Thoughts: The Call of Duty Issue Part 1

Sunday Thoughts: The Call of Duty Issue Part 1

Posted by: Kirodus | Filed Under Opinions, Weekly Articles | No comments 
2013
Mar 17

In October 2003, developer Infinity Ward released Call of Duty, published by Activision. The game was the definitive World War II first person shooter of the time, and it went on to win “Game of the Year” from several different groups in addition to numerous other awards. In the holiday season of 2005, Infinity Ward released Call of Duty 2. A launch title for the Xbox 360 and continuation of the WWII scene, Call of Duty 2 went on to sell 2 million copies by January 2008. It was the best selling launch title for the Xbox 360 and was highly praised for its impressive graphics and sound. One important change made was the introduction of regenerating health instead of the previous health bar system. This change was the first of many at making Call of Duty less realistic and more glossy. Around the same time CoD2 was released, another Call of Duty title was put out. Call of Duty 2: Big Red One was developed by Treyarch, instead of Infinity Ward like previous CoD titles. The next CoD title was Call of Duty 3, also developed by Treyarch. It went on to similar favorable critical reception, however this CoD was a complete departure from the type of gameplay in previous CoD titles. Treyarch was beginning to really separate their work in the CoD franchise from the Infinity Ward products.

Little did Treyarch know, Infinity Ward was about to really revolutionize, and become the standard for, first person shooters. The next entry in the CoD series was the first not to be set in WWII. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was released in November 2007, exactly one year after CoD 3, and two years after Infinity Ward’s last CoD title, CoD 2. Modern Warfare introduced a sophisticated matchmaking system that rivaled Halo’s. Modern Warfare received much critical acclaim, had an action-packed story, and a competitive and addictive multiplayer. Call of Duty 4 was an instant classic and a huge hit. From then on, the Call of Duty series rotated from an Infinity Ward title and a Treyarch title. The defining difference became Modern Warfare from Infinity Ward and Black Ops from Treyarch. Activision pulled in a massive amount of money from the yearly releases, but trouble was brewing on the inside.

In March 2010, the two heads of Infinity Ward were dismissed from the company. Half of the employees of Infinity Ward followed and resigned from the company over the following months. In addition, lengthy court battles began between former employees of IW and Activision. The creative team at Infinity Ward was never the same, and neither was Call of Duty. After Modern Warfare, the stories in each Call of Duty entry have continued to shrink and be as simple as Michael Bay movies. The online play made a few improvements from one entry to the next, but the originality in the series was gone. Call of Duty has become a yearly release series with nothing really new to offer in each title. Yet somehow, despite the idea of diminishing returns and little reason to get each new release, Call of Duty continues to sell millions each year. Why? What makes Call of Duty so addictive? These questions will be answered in the second part.


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