When we sat down and discussed the Seven Days of Modern Warfare 2 coverage event one of the first thoughts was in regard to how everybody else here at Hooked thought about the franchise. Sure, each title has been quite popular but how did the just from the Second World War to the modern era change the shape of the franchise? What makes it stand out from the pack amongst all the other shooters like Halo, Killzone, and Gears of War? What does it mean to each and every one of us?
Here are just a few responses we had internally regarding the franchise.
It's impossible to say that Modern Warfare 2 won't be one of the biggest launches this year. It's amazing to watch a series that was incredibly popular on the PC with the first two games, really catch fire on consoles. I dare suggest that Call of Duty, specifically Modern Warfare and its forthcoming sequel, is this generation’s major first person shooter. The N64 era had Goldeneye, Xbox had Halo. Call of Duty has picked up the torch and continues to hold it high for this generation of consoles.
What this means to the industry is manufacturers have even more evidence that as long as they couple their shooter program with great graphics, they "won't go broke". Meaning they have even more incentive to concentrate on making shooters in lieu of other game genres. I foresee that the next, greatest, best shooter will be something like Call of Duty Plus for the Wii. It would be just like Paintball, but without the mess. It would give you more of a cardio workout instead of concentrating on just your thumbs.
The famously popular multiplayer component has never really engaged me. I’m always excited about any iteration of Call of Duty because I know the single-player campaign will lead me around like a donkey chasing a carrot with the promise of some jaw-dropping occurrence just around the corner.
Call of Duty also means something else to me – sibling rivalry. Infinity Ward developed both the original Call of Duty (2003) and its sequel (2005). Given the popularity of both games, publisher Activision seemingly decided to cut down on the wait time for a third installment, and enlisted Treyarch to quickly churn out another sequel – Call of Duty 3 (2006).
Like a stern father, Activision took away Infinity Ward’s favorite toy and gave it to the more needful brother in Treyarch. Since then, Infinity Ward has had the odd years, while Treyarch has held onto the even years.
It has been fascinating to follow Infinity Ward’s sometimes veiled and sometimes overt criticisms of Treyarch, while Treyarch continuously attempts to project itself as having left the shadow of its more accomplished brother. Sibling rivalry has been a strong theme throughout history, and in the case of the Call of Duty franchise, it has certainly added an interesting flavor to the proceedings.
To me, the Call of Duty franchise was one that didn’t take me long to fall in love with. Before the original title was even on the market I had fallen in love with 2015 Inc.’s Medal of Honor Allied Assault, a game that was more than worth its weight in gold in both my eyes and in the eyes of critics alike. I didn’t realize it until years later but as it turned out many members of the MOHAA development team went on to form Infinity Ward and create Call of Duty. While I never got around to playing the first game, Call of Duty 2 was a required Xbox 360 launch title for me. When I finally got to play it I was hooked beyond all belief.
I’ve followed the franchise since then and I have had a strong appreciation for each iteration thereafter. I especially admire Treyarch for their incredible job on Call of Duty 3 due to the fact that they had to develop an AAA title in less than 11 months. If you want to blame someone for the debacle that COD3 was you need to only look in the direction of Activision whose publishing pressure forced the game to come out in 2006. With Call of Duty World at War Treyarch redeemed themselves in the eyes of the public despite the fact that they didn’t need redemption in the first place.
Call of Duty is probably one of the most important franchises in gaming this decade and I’m glad I’m around to play it.