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Thinking Thursday: Why is Modern Warfare Seeming Old?

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By: Stephen Crane

So we've seen the trailers for the latest Call of Duty game, and all in all everything about it is starting to feel just a bit old. It really feels a lot like it's everything we've re-hashed before. With two studios working on Call of Duty games so they are coming out every year now, it's just getting wearisome. I'm not saying playing an FPS isn't fun, but it feels like the exact same FPS just made a little prettier each time around. Each time a new iteration of the game comes out we see the same fans jump onto their keyboards to talk about how much better their chosen game is. Fans of the series will eat up every last bit of news to validate how awesome their future buying decision will be. Detractors will similarly eat up every last bit of news to find some way to prove how horrible the game is going to be.

The Call of Duty vs. Battlefield debate feels eerily familiar and hashed out to me. When you look at it, it's all a debate on preference and not so much on what mechanics are actually good or bad. Certain players will value certain abilities and features over others. Battlefield players really seem to appreciate a dedication to realism with the ability to use vehicles. Call of Duty players seem to appreciate the fast-paced action coupled with epic fragging possibilities. It sort of comes down to the old Mario vs. Sonic debates. Do you appreciate graphics and speed more, or do you appreciate the game mechanics and speed more?

Oddly enough, though, this time around even the debate around Call of Duty just seems stale. We've seen just about all the same words thrown around with different titles attached. We are almost positive the game is going to look and feel a very specific way, and it's sort of frustrating. To a degree, the customers are expected to buy the game. It's just second nature to us now. We're in an inescapable trap of "Oooh! Shiny sequel!" mode where we will immediately buy a game like Call of Duty every year so long as they keep pumping out sequels. The games themselves are often fun to play, but it feels a lot like they are trying to reclaim the glory that was Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. I still play Cod:4 to this day and enjoy it immensely while some of the other titles have sort of lost their luster.

Perhaps this is a good sign for how to not do sequels. Putting out a new game every year (or technically for this publisher every two years) just makes for stale gameplay and doesn't give its developers and creators enough time to come up with original ideas or gameplay. CoD:4 was so good because it took the online multiplayer someplace special and set the game effectively in the modern times which was a completely fresh face for the franchise. It felt like a good, earnest reboot after its predecessor of a game which I still feel was sort of a disaster.

Perhaps it really is time for the developers at Activision to slow down and start taking their time to bring out quality titles to their franchises. also, this might be a good case study for why two developers pushing the same franchise isn't exactly a sustainable business model.

About Stephen Crane

Stephen was hooked by the NES at a very young age and never looked back. He games on a daily basis and is currently trying to climb his way up the ranked ladder on League of Legends! Outside of the video game world he actually likes running and owns a rapidly growing collection of toed shoes. Stephen Crane is the owner of Armed Gamer.

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