Will Call Of Duty Still Have An Excuse This Generation?
I was a massive fan of Call of Duty at the time of the original Modern Warfare and arguably even World at War. Ever since Modern Warfare 2, however, my interest in the series has continued to dwindle, despite very much enjoying Black Ops. While I do attribute this to the series no longer innovating and shaking up the entire FPS genre like it used to, I also largely have come to realise that I now have an aversion to military shooters in general. Like World War II shooters, they’re well past their appeal to me, and I could barely stomach even Battlefield 4. But I suppose the rest of the world still loves them more than any other kind of game so there’s that. That’s not what I came here to discuss today though.
I recently played Call of Duty: Ghosts on PlayStation 4, because I have a tendency to want to play everything. However, after Killzone: Shadow Fall and most of the other launch titles, it was absolutely jarring to look at Ghosts. Of course graphics isn’t the most important thing, but Call of Duty has this habit of constantly increasing the scale of its main campaign, and this was pretty much confirmed in the opening minutes when entire roads were being destroyed Inception-style and then I was in, well, space.
If I have to describe my experience in one word, it would be ‘dated’. The game looks dated, it feels dated and the playing experience is ancient. Again, we commonly say that gameplay is more important than graphics and, while this is true, the audio and visual experience does play a huge part in immersion, and of course we’ve had the same Call of Duty gameplay for many games now.
Yes, Ghosts is a port so it’s still part of the old generation, but it got me thinking about the future of Call of Duty. Last generation it always got away with just patching up its ancient engine because it could boast having 60FPS when other games could not, and of course this mattered a great deal in making the game highly competitive as far as eSports was concerned. But now with the new generation 60FPS is meant to be the standard, unless you’re some multi-plat games on Xbox One that is.
So if all games are aiming for 60FPS, surely that means Call of Duty doesn’t really have an excuse anymore? It can’t really boast about something the majority of games should be and hopefully will be doing. I’m not saying that Call of Duty should have Uncharted or Killzone level visuals and immersion, even if that would be nice. I’m saying that isn’t it by time the franchise receives a hefty upgrade, not just graphically but in how it actually feels to play? Isn’t it the right time for a new era of Call of Duty?
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the series’ attempts to mix up the settings and weaponry, at least as far as Treyarch is concerned. But I would hope that the next Call of Duty title steps it up and breaks free of its criticism of budgeting for maximum profit.
But therein lies the real problem. Call of Duty is consistently the best-selling video game in the industry, so what incentive do they have to do something like this? Its players don’t care, especially those who buy into Call of Duty competitively. That’s how it has been the past few years. And when their engine and refusal to upgrade came under criticism, they defended it with the game’s ability to always achieve 60FPS, and that was fair last generation as I said above. Thirdly, if they upgraded the game it would require better and more expensive hardware, which may be exclusionary to those with lower end PCs. But of course one can argue ‘optimisation’ and all the rest of it.
I simply wonder because with the new consoles that ’60FPS’ defense just won’t work anymore. So will Call of Duty come to the party, or will it find a new way to remain as is?
It will definitely be interesting to see what the next Call of Duty title does, that’s for sure. If I had to put money on it, I probably would say that it will remain as is until it’s forced to change, as that’s often what happens to successful franchises. They hit a snag and face pressure from gamers and the industry.
What do you think will happen with the next one?
In before the excuse becomes that they can’t get 60FPS on Xbox One if they upgrade.