There always comes a point when you simply can’t make something better than you have before. You can reinvent the wheel from stone to wood to rubber and maybe along the way you will make slight changes to the design. However, when it comes to games…especially First Person Shooters… there are only so many iterations of a game you can make before it becomes either stale or simply a mockery of its former self.
Black Ops 2 seems destined to be the bitter end for Call of Duty games at this point. With massive sales still coming for COD games, there seems to be something about Modern Warfare 3 and Black Ops 2 that is missing. That something is a feeling of freshness that can only be brought by a hiatus. If you consider the fact that Modern Warfare 3 essentially finished a trilogy, you would think that means it is going to be time for a change. Furthermore, if you consider the fact that Black Ops 2 is set in the future with drones and x-ray rifles, there isn’t much more ‘Modern’ Warfare can cover that hasn’t been covered or won’t be covered by BO2.
We mentioned in the title that it might spell the end of COD as we know it. That doesn’t mean that it will be discontinued (face it, that isn’t Activision’s M.O.) but it could mean something big is on the horizon for the series after BO2 is released.
If we cover what has been done in COD we can see that World War 2, Vietnam, Modern and now ‘near-Future’ will be covered by the end of 2012. With all of those ‘interesting’ wars covered, it might do them some good to get away from the same old ‘jump on a turret and shoot down waves of enemies’ formula that has been in every shoot’em up FPS game from Activision.
What needs to happen is development of a game series over multiple years. The real problem facing Call of Duty games is the fact that Activision wants a new one every year to drive profits. The problem is that this will end up leading to the same brutal end that Guitar Hero met only a couple years ago.
You can only reinvent the wheel so many times before people stop looking at it as ‘just a wheel’. Call of Duty needs a break in the worst way, and after Black Ops 2 comes out in November it would be a perfect time for them to announce that the next Call of Duty game will be coming out on launch day with the next generation of consoles rather than yet another version of the same game in 12 months.
E3 is supposed to ‘Unveil Innovation’, but right now it looks like it is simply ‘unveiling’ the same stuff we have seen over the last few years. First Person Shooters are becoming as common and overplayed as re-runs of Two and a Half Men and Call of Duty is turning into the Ashton Kutcher version. If they are about #winning, Activision will push their next major FPS onto the next generation of consoles, where they can impress people with some actual innovation.