Whilst the offending anti-Black Ops 2 tweet that made the headlines yesterday came from Kevin OLearys personal account, I cant help but wonder if these are the views expressed by EA, and more importantly the rest of the community. Regardless of competition, the guys at EA (corporate monkeys excluded) are still for the most part gamers. In a follow up tweet, Kevin even clarified his excitement for the upcoming CoD release, and went on to suggest that he would prefer to be quoted on his other interest such as Cars, Snowboarding, and Haikus. At this point, I dont think I need to defend Kevin anymore, but it all makes me think. For the past 9 years, the fall release schedule for the Call Of Duty series has become an all too common affair. Up until the release of Modern Warfare 3, I had enjoyed every installment more than its predecessor. Whilst my previous articles on Black Ops II are extremely positive, and show my enthusiasm and excitement for the release. This time last year I was feeling very similar. Now whilst I dont agree that the hype and marketing for Black Ops II looks tired, I cant help but see why a gamer and (possible) fan of the series, would think so.
Call of Duty is Bigger Than Treyarch.
When Call of Duty: World at War released, I never really gave it much thought. Call of Duty 4 was the first time I devoted a lot of time to the series, and with World at Wars setting going back to World War II, I wasnt in a hurry to pick it up. In fact, I only bought Wold at War in the months building up to Black Ops, as I wanted to get a feel for the developer, something I think really helped my enjoyment of Black Ops. But still, up until a few months ago I had protested my affection and preference toward Infinity Ward. I adored Modern Warfare 2. When the purchase of Black Ops was still fresh upon my bank statement, and the game had some launch problems with lag, and having already lived a second life in the MW2 engine.. I found myself returning to the previous title. It wasnt until the second DLC pack arrived for Black Ops that I realized the attention to detail Treyarch bestowed upon the title. Call of The Dead is to this day one of the most exciting Call of Duty experiences Ive had, and as far as Multiplayer, Hotel is one of the most balanced maps I can recall. The campaign was fresh and filled with twists and exciting character developments I hadnt experienced from any previous title. Thinking critically, it was a much more balanced game in terms of gameplay, and value. But Call of Duty is bigger than one game. As much as I loved Black Ops, Infinity Wards resume speaks for itself. The team responsible for creating the franchise deserves more than the publicity its current title allows.
Infinity Ward "Fully" Reconstructed
Its difficult to truly assess Infinity Ward moving forward as the team responsible for its previous successes.. are now divided. In 2009, the creation of Sledgehammer Games brought new promise to the franchise. With a third developer, the entire series could be created with more precision and attention to detail, allowing three entirely separate entities to contribute to the yearly release schedule. But with the impending law suit, and the departure of some 50 employees, Sledgehammer was re-tasked from its current project to co-develop Modern Warfare 3 with Infinity Ward. In a way, Modern Warfare 3 is a success within itself. Proving the developer has grown to be more than what was setup by its founding members. Moving forward I think it would be extremely beneficial for Infinity Ward to focus on itself with a new project, detached from the successes of its past. Given the information we know now, It would seem that Black Ops II is being designed with enough forethought to extend its season length to 2 years. Whilst this would break the general yearly release schedule, it would allow for the franchise to grow, and innovate. It is entirely possible however, that in light of this, Sledgehammer may revive its previous project, and we may yet see the rumored third-person variant, allowing Infinity Ward to develop a next generation engine fully utilizing the power of the teased next-gen consoles.
Only the Strongest Survive
Personally I think its too early to tell. After all Modern Warfare 3 is the first sign of trouble from the developer, and its partnership with Sledgehammer Games, whos founding members are responsible for the likes of Dead Space may prove invaluable in creating a new Call of Duty experience. As for Treyarch, only time will tell if the futuristic setting will pay off. Many early reactions are saying the gameplay trailer released not 2 days ago, resembled Ghost Recon: Future Soldier a little more than they would like, but rumors are circulating that none of the multiplayer will be set in 2025, so theres no real way of telling until we find out more. Chances are, we my have to wait until this summers E3 event to find out, but the possibilities of another CoD XP are on the rise. So stay tuned.