Is Call of Duty in trouble? Depends on who you ask. If YouTube reactions to trailers are your indicator of choice, then yes, it is. But is it really? I don’t think so.
Sure, the reaction to every Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare trailer is negative. But it isn’t just because of the gameplay.
When the Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare remastered became official, fans went through the roof. Modern Warfare is seen by many as the pinnacle of Call of Duty. Killstreaks were kept to a minimum. Remember the days when there were only three killstreaks?
Fans were pumped to be revisiting one of the best multiplayer shooters of the last generation of consoles. Then, Activision announced you would have to buy at least the Legacy Edition of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare ($80) to get the Modern Warfare remaster. It won’t be sold separately. The backlash was quick and understandable.
Many fans are tired of the futuristic setting Call of Duty games are entrenched in. It didn’t help when EA and DICE opted for World War 1 for the setting of Battlefield 1.
Still, a Modern Warfare remaster is too tempting for me (and a lot of people) to pass up. Just don’t screw it up. But enough about the hate surrounding Infinite Warfare. Let’s talk about Infinity Ward’s newest title and what they hope it will become.
Infinite Warfare the next Black Ops?
Pretty much every developer goes in with the mindset of creating a successful franchise.
“We want to establish our own new subfranchise,” narrative director Taylor Kurosaki told Polygon in a new interview. “Our own new branch of the Call of Duty tree. What we are developing here could certainly support multiple games. We’re trying to develop a very rich world that we’re not even close to exhausting.”
Kurosaki and Infinity Ward have an uphill climb to making Infinite Warfare the next Black Ops. But there is reason to be optimistic. You might recognize Taylor’s name. For those who don’t, he worked as narrative design lead at Naughty Dog before joining Infinity Ward in 2014.
For a game that has stumbled on the story front the past couple of years, having a former Naughty Dog narrative design lead can only be seen as a good thing.
Kurosaki told Polygon they took inspiration from movies like Saving Private Ryan. They want to tell that kind of classic story but set in the future.
The game’s writer, Brian Bloom, hammered this point home. “Characters are thrown into conflict and resolve these conflicts,” Bloom told Polygon. “War is an incredible background, environment and foreground to navigate those waters. This is not about double and triple crosses, and double and triple agents and chips in your head, and being a zombie fighter.”
“This is a story about the burden of making choices.”
Infinity Ward wants Infinite Warfare to be said in the same breath Modern Warfare or Black Ops. “If we were the next in that lineage, I’d say, ‘Mission Accomplished,’” said Kurosaki.
Call of Duty finally fully embraces the future
Advanced Warfare was COD’s first big jump into the future. Ghosts did it too, but it was Advanced Warfare that pushed it from a gameplay perspective with Exosuits.
My biggest problem with Call of Duty’s foray into the future is they never fully embraced it. It always felt like they were just dipping their toe in. Everything felt like what combat could look like in 20-40 years in the future.
With Infinite Warfare, Infinity Ward is putting both feet in. Hell, they’re jumping in completely. And I like it. Then again, I’m a sucker for any game with heavy sci-fi elements. The minute I saw the space battles and bases on other planets, I was excited to see more.
Now, it’s up to Infinity Ward to deliver – but getting off Earth could be the shakeup Call of Duty needs.
Three Things I Want to See From Infinite Warfare
Story, Story, and Story – This should be the easiest after whatever the hell we played in Black Ops 3. With former Naughty Dog folks leading the charge on story, this is the one area I’m least worried about. Just keep the action mostly off Earth. You created a setting where there are bases on other planets and moons, let us experience them.
Boots on the ground (as much as possible) – It’s a term thrown around a lot by the Call of Duty community. It means staying the hell away from the movement system introduced in Advanced Warfare. Treyarch pulled things back some in Black Ops 3. And I expect it to stay around there. In a perfect world, the entire multiplayer would be ‘boots on the ground.’ But the space setting doesn’t lend itself well to that.
“I think when you are playing multiplayer, all of that should be framed by the experience you had in the single-player,” Kurosaki told Polygon. “The single-player is the toehold into this new story universe.”
There’s always the Modern Warfare remaster to fill the ‘boots on the ground’ void.
A just shoot shit Zombies mode – I don’t know what the hell is going on in the 80s throwback Infinite Warfare Zombies mode. All I want is a mode where the Pack-a-Punch is already available, and I can just shoot shit. I’m glad thousands of fans love finding all the easter eggs, and Call of Duty developers should keep catering to them. Just throw us older folks a bone and give us a Zombies mode more like the one from World at War.
Infinite Warfare is the most intrigued I’ve been for a Call of Duty game in a long time. Call of Duty in space is a futuristic setting I can get behind. And hey, if it turns out bad – I can always play Modern Warfare.
Let me know what you think about Infinite Warfare. And what’s one thing you really want the developers to get right with Infinite Warfare?