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"You Want Call of Duty to Change? You're a Hypocrite"

Everyone is calling for Call of Duty to "change" but is that really what the fans want?

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The reason the headline is in quotes is because I didn't say it. I overheard it the other day.

Standing in the local game store, this is what I heard as I walked out the door. I almost turned around and came back just to hear the rest of the argument, because it seemed bizarre. How could anyone call someone a "hypocrite" if they simply say they want the long-running Call of Duty franchise to do something different?

By all means, I'm behind the idea of an innovative CoD. I think the series needs a definite shot in the arm after Ghosts. It's never hypocritical to say what you believe, right?

However, as I drove home, I started to imagine the rest of the argument, and what may have been that particular gamer's contention. As it turns out, if he was arguing the point I think he was arguing, he was missing one critical point: The fans want one thing, the non-fans want another.

Is it the fans who want change, or those who never liked the franchise in the first place?

I mean, look at it. Take Final Fantasy or Resident Evil, for instance. Many, if not most, followers of each franchise bemoan the new direction. More "action-y" for both, faster and dumber, and in general, a big departure from yesteryear. Many will argue that this sort of "change" is just plain bad; the developers could've done a better job. That being said, is there really any way those games could've been changed to satisfy the long-time fans?

Fans are fans because they like the way a certain game plays. CoD fans are fans because they like the way that particular shooter plays. Do they really want the series to change? Or do they simply want some new stuff added to the already successful formula? I'm sure it's the latter. I'm sure the fans don't want the game to become a third-person shooter or something like that. Just like Final Fantasy fans didn't want the series to adopt action traits.

Those who hate CoD want it to either go away or magically become "fresh" again. Well, where's the line? At what point does it become something entirely different, which in turn alienates the fans?

Infinity Ward was right, you know

Last year, Infinity Ward boss Mark Rubin gave an interview to OXM, in which he compared CoD to a sport:

"There is the obvious truth that if this were football, and next year they decided we only want seven players a side and you can use your hands, I don't think people would want to go to many of those games. So we can't change too many of the core rules, and the core rules are really simple. You're a player, it's in first-person, you have a weapon in your hand, and you run around shooting other people."

There are rules to follow and if you break those rules, the fans will be pissed. At the same time, you've got legions of other gamers calling for change because they consider the series to be stale and repetitive. They also see CoD as an evil entity that's crippling originality and freshness in the industry, but that's a whole different topic.

The point is that nobody is being hypocritical when they say they want CoD to "change." I'm guessing the fans have no interest in drastic change, while the haters want "change" just because they can't stand shooters and especially CoD.

If you're the developer, who do you listen to?

The fans who do indeed want improvements (but not a complete overhaul) or the legions of non-fans who want a complete rebuild? If I'm the publisher, I know exactly what I want because I know a winning formula when I see one. If I'm a developer, I don't want to take the Square Enix or Capcom route and piss off my long-time fans just to have a shot at pleasing other gamers.

Stick to what works and improve on that formula. I don't want Gran Turismo to become Twisted Metal, either, you know.

Originally Published Apr. 30th 2014

Featured Columnist

A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years, a confirmed gamer for over 30 years, and a lover of fine literature and ridiculously sweet desserts.

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Comments
  • 1
    Tony_6842 6 months ago
    A whole load of pointless waffle. "The toys are us, and we don't even know" you will play what you are given.
  • 1
    TechmarineChris 6 months ago
    To that argument, I would say "Yes, I do want CoD to change. I want it to go back to its roots."

    By that, I don't mean it should go back to World War II. We all know we've seen enough shooters set in that era. By that token, we've also seen enough modern shooters, and it would be nice for CoD to become more futuristic and play with zero-gravity environments or something. That's just me wanting to see something different, though.

    What I do mean is that I want the game to provide me with a single player campaign longer than 4 hours. Contrary to most CoD players, I used to buy Call of Duty for its single-player campaign and (back then) unparalleled immersion. The original Call of Duty was the whole reason I wanted to install surround sound on my PC. I still consider Call of Duty 4 to be one of my favorite modern shooters, and I liked World at War as well, because they both have a solid, memorable single-player campaign that is sufficiently and justifiably long. The multiplayer is something I only sampled, and it still doesn't interest me.

    Modern Warfare 2 was the reason I stopped buying Call of Duty games, not because there was anything wrong with the game in terms of mechanics, but because the single-player campaign was so short and the story was way too similar to the story of CoD 4. I felt I was cheated out of my money, and I wasn't willing to dive into the multiplayer to make up the difference. I didn't care about the multiplayer. I couldn't play it anyway, because I didn't have a fast enough internet connection at the time. From what I've heard, none of the subsequent installments have a campaign as long as the original five games did, and that's why I didn't want to spend my money on CoD anymore.
  • 56
    Rothalack 6 months ago
    Staff Editor
    You may be pleased by the newest trailer that came out yesterday for CoD Advanced Warfare. It looks like they gave a hoot about the campaign again. It is just a cinematic trailer so I really can't say that for sure, but the trailer seemed 100% based around the campaign. Entertaining premise it looked to me.
  • 6
    SDowner 6 months ago
    Featured Contributor
    I'm not a CoD fan, I've never really got into the game. (Although, to get a few friends round a console and have a laugh playing CoD isn't all that bad, even if the controller is foreign to me) I can see it's appeal, and I can see why it's the 'same game' every year.
    I think you are probably right that the gamers that want CoD to change completely aren't fans of the game, chances are they are fans of other FPS games who have witnessed their favourite franchises trying to emulate the CoD success.
    As a fan of other FPS games, I'd rather see the different franchises (Whether it's CoD, Battlefield or any other game) stay true to their own ideals and be innovative (within reason), rather than change purely on the basis that someone who doesn't like the game wants it to be different.
  • 40
    zoLo567 6 months ago
    Senior Intern
    I used to enjoy Call of Duty. I feel that Modern Warfare was one of the most innovative shooters out there. But after MW3, I got bored. This might make me a "hypocrite", but Call of Duty really does need to innovate once again if I am ever going to plan on playing the series again
  • 18
    Chai Chien Liang 6 months ago
    Contributor
    I enjoyed the changes to the campaign that Black Ops II tried to make at least it opened up the opportunity to get different endings and to feel like you actually had an impact on the campaign instead of being along for the rider (do this, Ramirez!)

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