Monday, 23 April 2012

Will a new Call of Duty offer anything new?

With the official announcement of the official announcement of the next Call of Duty title, I’m trying to bring up any optimism I can summon from my gut. I haven’t even played Modern Warfare 3 yet and the two entries previous to that failed to spark any excitement in me, just coming away as fairly average shooting galleries with exceptionally high production values. For the next CoD game to really tantalise me to the point of trouser bulging, it needs to do something different.

Rumours are flying around that the next game will be Black Ops 2, which already sets off my mediocre alarm. The first Black Ops made as much sense as a rocket propelled grapefruit and pretty much rounded off the story of the nutjob being debriefed throughout it. A continuation of the series probably means they will try and come up with another contrived twist that awkwardly juts out of the Michael Bay soldier sim it will otherwise try and convince us it is.

Set pieces have always stuck out in CoD and first appeared to be fantastic original moments that crammed all the drama of a high octane action film into a video game screen. They’re just getting boring now though, being overused and milked to the point of producing dust from the once supple udders of the great imagination cow. It has come to the point where it is easy to spot that the battle raging around you is just several explosions and a constantly respawning enemy that won’t relent until you cross an invisible threshold.

I think half the problem is that the setting for these games is now really old and overdone. Modern warfare is the new World War Two, with each new game that hands you conventional weapons feeling increasingly similar. Why not try and poke the tiniest hole in the mould and let some creativity seep through. Even jumping into a future setting gives you an excuse to design your own military hardware and not just copy and paste last year’s weapon models.

What about an alternate reality setting? Activision’s pocket devs could rewrite history to make their own version of warfare in 2012. It would be so much better than making yet another indentikit shooter that inexplicably sells millions. Well, it would be so much better in every way other than the financial risk that comes with being original these days.

I’d also argue about changing multiplayer so that it didn’t focus on idiots chasing after ego-wanking titles and ranks, but that might be asking for too much innovation in the space of one game. I’ll just try and stay open minded for Call of Duty 9. It still has until May 1 to officially disappoint me.

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