So Call of Duty is transitioning into a three year development cycle, with three separate studios taking on the mantle of pushing out a new COD each year. Infinity Ward, Treyarch, and now Sledgehammer will be giving you that award winning COD experience that has come to feel as if you played something similar last year. Each studio will now have three years, instead of the usual two to work on their titles and while more time certainly doesn’t hurt, I’m not sure it helps either.
All sarcasm aside, I’m not going to be that guy on the internet that hates on something before it ever comes out. I hate those people. Those guys are dicks and I really do hope this allows them to improve and innovate. I doubt it will, but I hold out hope. A pure, singular hope that knows no bounds.
What I will say instead, is that I wish they were going in another direction. What direction would I like them to take, you ask? Well I’ll tell you internet friend. For a long time now, anyone you might have asked would tell you the COD single story campaign is nothing. It might as well not even be there. Epic knew this way back before Gears of War 3, when they wanted to make the campaign easier because their numbers were showing that a large percentage of players weren’t even completing the single player portion of the game. Much like Gears and Halo, COD is has always been a solid multiplayer game. *note: I’m one of those rare people who liked Gears of War for the story and didn’t care about the multiplayer. I generally don’t play multiplayer games at all and much prefer a single player experience.
Respawn Entertainment knows this now and that’s likely why Titanfall is an entirely multiplayer game. Forget the single player, people, (other people who aren’t me) want multiplayer. So that’s what they’re giving them. It should be noted however that Respawn is comprised of former Infinity Ward employees and were responsible for the first Modern Warfare game, which contains one of the best single player COD campaigns in the franchise.
Now you have the modern COD’s that are variations of a short single player campaign, with most of the focus on multiplayer. So why not cut out the fat and give people what they want. Or if you’re going to employee three separate studios, task one of them with creating a longer single story focused game and let the other studios focus on multiplayer content. Sell the basic multiplayer client, as if you were buying and playing an MMO, that could be patched and updated as needed. Once the player base has the basic client, you can then update it and add content as needed without having to release an entire new game each year. And there in lies the catch.
This hypothetical model cuts out the revenue from releasing multiple COD titles and updates every year. The strategy isn’t about making the best game possible, it’s about making the most money possible. Granted, I doubt anyone at Infinity Ward, Treyarch, and now Sledgehammer wakes up in the morning, trying to think of ways to make bad games or make Activision more money. That’s not how they look at it, I would imagine. They make the best of what they can, with what they have available.
At any rate, nothing lasts forever. I believe the recent performance of Ghosts has proven that they can’t simply continue with the status quo any longer. Whether or not Activision truly shakes things up, or simply adds one more COD title into the mix with an added year to make the games look and perform better, remains to be seen. There has to be a tipping point though, that high water mark that proves they can’t stick with the same old tired formula forever.