Many Call Of Duty Players “Aren’t Even Gamers”
Well… that right there is a loaded statement. The best part? It isn’t even really out of context. Infinity Ward executive producer Mark Rubin categorises many Call of Duty players as existing in the “casual space” because all they play really is Call of Duty.
Talking to OXM, Rubin cited this as the primary consideration behind why a console generation shift wouldn’t affect the so-called CoD-crowd all too much and why the studio can’t change the core rules too much.
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“We have an enormous amount of players who are more in the casual game space, but they play a lot.
“It’s kind of a weird, ironic thing to say. They aren’t hardcore gamers, or even gamers, but they play Call of Duty every night. And those guys are going to continue to play regardless of platform. So I think not only will we continue to engage with that existing player base, but we’ll take next gen and see how far we can go with it.”
Likening Call of Duty to a sport, Rubin conceded that Infinity Ward “can’t change too many of the core rules” if it wants to avoid alienating its audience from the casuals right up to pro gamers.
“There is the obvious truth that if this were football, and next year they decided we only want seven players a side and you can use your hands, I don’t think people would want to go to many of those games.
“We can play a lot with the outside of how that works, and it’s things like character customisation, making the movement through that world better, making the world itself more interesting, adding the new modes, adding the new dynamic maps.
“So there’s still I think a lot to do,” Rubin added. “Any time we ship a game – and this a non-Call of Duty statement, this is [applicable to] any dev you’ve ever talked to – is there’s always a ton of features they wish they could have gotten to, before they shipped. So I think we’ll always be able to bring new and interesting stuff. It’s literally that we’re just trying to make a better game than we made last time.”
Call of Duty: Ghosts does actually look very promising from a multiplayer perspective. Even I’m intrigued. However, Rubin’s statements speak of a developer so far into its comfort zone that risk taking isn’t really on the table anymore but arguably Call of Duty games reach so far across demographic groups that any significant change would lose at least some players.
Ultimately, Call of Duty is a victim of its own success. Too afraid to really take risks at this stage for fear of losing a percentage of its fans. As I’ve said before though, any publisher needs a stalwart like this to facilitate risk taking on other titles such as the Deadpool game Activision recently published.