Almost five years ago, Call of Duty: Black Ops II released. In April, the game saw a huge spike in sales (thanks Xbox One backward compatibility) as it grabbed the #10 spot on the NPD chart. What makes the chart below even more impressive is it’s by revenue. Not units. Black Ops II sold a ton.

1. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (no digital sales included)
2. Persona 5 (no digital sales included)
3. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
4. MLB 17: The Show
5. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands
6. GTA V
7. Mass Effect: Andromeda
8. NBA 2K17
9. Overwatch (no PC digital sales included)
10. Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Hell, Black Ops II beat out Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. If that’s not an indictment on the current state of Call of Duty, I don’t know what is. Fans are sick of the past couple of years of boosting around. They want traditional Call of Duty gameplay. And they’re getting it with Call of Duty: WWII.

“Boots on the ground,” is a phrase coined by the Call of Duty community over the past year or so. The folks at Activision and Sledgehammer Games have latched onto it as their guarantee this year’s Call of Duty will be like the games that turned the franchise into one of the biggest franchises ever.

Going back to World War II does erase any concerns about the movement system. And for many fans who have been turned off since Advanced Warfare, it’s enough to get them pumped again. It’s enough for me too. It’ll damn near feel like a fresh system after three years of boosting and wall running.

The boost in sales can also be seen in Xbox One’s “Most played games.” Black Ops II regularly sits in the top 5 ahead of games like Minecraft and Overwatch. I’ve jumped back in. My nephew has me chained to the Zombies mode.

You won’t have any problems finding anyone to play with in Zombies or multiplayer. I took a glance at the player counts this morning, and there was almost 20,000 on multiplayer. Another 5,000 on Zombies. Not too bad for 9:00 am on a school day.

Activision and Treyarch will likely grab a good chunk of these Zombies players once Zombies Chronicles hits Xbox One. That will be fun to watch for May’s NPD. We’ll only have PS4 numbers to go on, but it’s also the bigger player base.

While Activision has to be disappointed with the performance of Infinite Warfare, they have to be optimistic about the future. Call of Duty: WWII is what fans have been clamoring for. At the very least, reception is positive. You can tell that just by looking at the reveal trailer for WWII compared to Infinite Warfare. It’s night and day. Fans want ‘boots on the ground’ gameplay and they’re getting it.

What I want to see is how Sledgehammer Games plans to add their own spin to the Call of Duty formula with this year’s entry. We’ve been screaming for old-school gameplay, but we also want a little something new. My dream feature is a full-fledged map editor. It will probably never happen, but it would be awesome. I remember when Far Cry 2 had a map editor on consoles and have been wanting it on other shooters ever since.

New features don’t have to focus on the gameplay. Give us tools to create our own experiences. It could be more like Forge from Halo instead of a complete map editor. Imagine being able to tweak and mess with Zombies maps on console. It would be huge.

We’ll see what Activision and Sledgehammer Games has in store at E3 and the months leading up to COD: WWII’s release. Boots on the ground is enough, but I want the devs to surprise us.

Were you one of the thousands that picked up Black Ops II last month?

When I’m not playing Rocket League (best game ever), you can find me writing about all things games, space and more. You can reach me at alex@newsledge.com

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