The infamous Call of Duty franchise has become nothing short of a video game institution, essentially crafting its own niche within the video game world. Prior to the emergence of the series (and its subsequent refinement via the “Modern Warfare” and “Black Ops” installments) first-person shooters simply didn’t have the drive, spark or features required to propel them to new heights of mass appeal. One could say that the Call of Duty phenomenon has actually forever altered the video game marketing landscape (for better or worse, depending on your perspective, we assume a positive view, obviously).
Given the fact that it’s now become customary to expect an annualized CoD installment, the immediate question becomes – what sorts of features and gameplay additions / alterations can we expect to see? Naturally, development studios associated with the franchise are prone to be tight-lipped when it comes to revealing details about upcoming titles, but recent occurrences suggest something big is on the way.
For starters, if you haven’t heard by now, Sledgehammer games has been granted its own Call of Duty title for a potential 2014 release. What this essentiall means is that the entire franchise is going to be shifting to a 3-year / 3 studio development cycle whereupon each group will hand its own series, i.e. – Black Ops, Ghosts, and perhaps Modern Warfare (or something entirely new). It’s been suggested that Sledgehammer is working on a new Modern Warfare title due to the fact that they were called in to help with MW3, but there’s been no direct confirmation of that so far.
One of the things that has CoD fans exciting of course is recent comments from Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, who said that this year’s game will be “perhaps the best Call of Duty game ever created.” If that doesn’t get your blood pumping, it’s tough to say what will. Regardless of how you feel about the direction that’s been taken with the emergent series “Ghosts”, one simply cannot deny that they’re intent to move forward with new concepts while improving on whatever aspects that they can along the way. So, when one of the major players in the institution makes comments like the one above, the mind immediately begins to conjure up fantastic new possibilities…
Having said that, what sorts of features and innovations would we really like to see in this year’s new Call of Duty? Here are just a few ideas to kick around…
More open world elements (single player)
Yes, one could argue that there are already a ton of other titles out there which elegantly play with the idea of adding more open-ended areas to various levels, offering more freedom of choice with regards to approaching an enemy fortification. But none of them are able to accurately capture the look and feel of a CoD experience, are they? Moreover, with titles like Bungie’s “Destiny” and others coming online, the need to diversify the franchise (for reasons of competition) is becoming increasingly apparent. Heck, even the new Metal Gear Solid games are going to feature open world gameplay, isn’t it about time that the Call of Duty franchise gave it a whirl? Perhaps instead of having a conventional split single player multiplayer experience they could be integrated, so as to produce an entirely new gameplay model which takes better advantage of next generation console hardware? Likewise, can you imagine how incredibly cool it would be to experience an entirely new CoD game which takes place on a massive scale, where the story unfolds in real-time based on the actions of real players banded together in factions?
More “wacky” stuff / a separate series devoted to “Zombies”, etc.
Admit it; the first time you played “Zombies” in Black Ops you loved it, every second of the rather formulaic action was heart-pounding and awesome. Since that time other additions have been made of course, but we’ve yet to see any kind of spin-off take flight. Sure, die-hard fans will always love the core gameplay and more realistically-grounded storylines of a “Modern Warfare”, but wouldn’t it be incredible fun to have a new CoD series which was anything but serious? For instance, think about Rockstar’s “Red Dead Redemption” and compare it with its alter-ego “Undead Nightmare”…weren’t both of them incredibly successful and well-received by critics? Regardless of your personal tastes, a more “madcap” Call of Duty game (perhaps featuring aliens) would likely fly off the shelves in droves.
At the very least, we want to see the next Call of Duty title make good on its promises and up the ante once again in the graphics and gameplay departments. If all the recent talk is any indication, it appears that it will do just that (in spades).