This was the question that sat in my mind as I watched the new footage of Black Ops 2. It was a few days into E3 that G4 was previewing one of the new playable game modes that would be available in the next Call of Duty installment. “Oh. That’s kind of cool I guess” my friend said as he sat on the couch adjacent mine. I murmured something to show that I heard him. Lying on my back with a drink resting on my chest I asked myself, why do we still care?
Call of Duty wasn’t always the powerhouse it is today, I remember playing a Call of Duty 3 demo at the local Wal-Mart in my youth. Back then it was just another world-war style shooter (and there were a lot of them back then). It was the distinction between the third and fourth games, the distinction between old and contemporary that really set Call of Duty on fire. Including Call of Duty 4 there have been five immensely popular titles that have proved profitable for the franchise in recent years:
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
CoD: World at War
CoD: Modern Warfare 2
CoD: Black Ops
CoD: Modern Warfare 3
All five of those games have used variants of the Infinity Ward engine, with only minor improvements being made. This means that since 2005, nearly all of the Call of Duty games were built with virtually the same engine. Some may make the argument that to balk at the IW engine would be the same as being critical of the Unreal Engine. But there is a difference between an engine that is used by dozens of different titles (and has seen significant upgrades), and an engine that is used by one particular series (and Quantum of Solace) that sees little improvement from year to year. Not only that, but it’s been rumored that Black Ops 2 will run on the same engine that powered Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare back in 2008. After Modern Warfare 2 launched, it was later suggested that they spent more on promoting the game than actually developing it. One would think that such a successful and profitable franchise would receive the most up to date and cutting edge updates possible. But it probably won’t; they won’t because they know everyone one will buy it regardless.
Click “next” below for part 2…
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