chris-littlechild - August 29, 2016
Call of Duty, huh? Where the hell do you start with this bad boy? Whether you love or hate it, this is the biggest name in gaming right here. Its legions are millions strong, obsessed with K/Ds, and super adept at crouching in corners ready to take passer-bys’ scrotes off with a shotgun. Don’t eff with the almighty COD.
Now, sure, this is the series’ bad rep showing through. Not all players are like this, though. The more popular you are, the more assholes you get, and the more haters. That’s just elementary math. It’s the same reason so many of us despise Justin Bieber. Well, that, and because his music is a barrel of bollocks and he’s the devil’s own skidmark. But anywho. Let’s get to business.
Back in the day, after Doom and the many clones that followed it, the Second Era of the FPS™ arrived. This, you’ll remember, was the age of the World War II shooter. Medal of Honor and the like. In 2003, Infinity Ward, including some of the team that brought us Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, dropped the first Call of Duty on our asses. And the world was never the damn same again.
It all seemed fairly samey at first glance, but the original COD introduced its own take on the clichéd World War-iness, ensuring it felt pretty different. The focus here was on squad-based missions, firefights with your AI buddies, which was totally unlike the lone wolf, charge-about-and-wreck-the-Third-Reich’s-shit-entirely-on-your-own sensibilities of similar FPSs.
It was dynamic, it was spangly new, and it felt much more like the conflict that the genre had had such a fetish for. These were the early days of shooter staples like iron sights and non-regenerating health bars, and Call of Duty made a name for itself while establishing these things. They don’t sound all that major, but if you’ve ever bitched about their absence in an FPS, you’ll know how big these features really are.
The first title was divided into three separate campaigns: American, British and Soviet. Each group of missions, natch, was markedly different, with a change in player character, mission objective, environments, weapons and all of that good stuff. Oftentimes in these shooters, fighting World War Brown on relentless brown maps with brown weapons against brown enemies could get a little boring-ass, but Call of Duty shifted and changed pace more effectively than a lot of games that came before it.
And that was the way of the series, through the original trilogy. The third release, 2006’s Call of Duty III, combined the American/British/Soviet action into one intertwined campaign, but otherwise this was the formula. Then, with the rise of Xbox’s Halo series and such, everything changed.
Suddenly, after all the years of World War Brown, futuristic, sci-fi shooters were where it was at. COD wasn’t quite ready to go that far forward, instead going for a contemporary setting with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007). There were three releases following that timeline, before the super-popular offshoot Black Ops screwed with the rules again. The first of these was set during the Cold War, while Black Ops II (2012) took place in 2025 for the most part. Since then, with the likes of Advanced Warfare, Infinite Warfare and such, we’ve settled on the horribly overdone future setting.
Over the years, then, the series has been dicking around through time periods like the Doctor and the Tardis. In the process, it’s become the biggest name the FPS genre, and gaming in general, has ever seen. In terms of the almighty cashtastic, nothing can come close to it. Live action trailers, celebrity cameos, you name it. The COD name packs a hell of a punch, and everyone from Marshawn Lynch to Eminem has played their part in making the series what it is.
Which is, all told, a pretty damn rosy picture to paint. As far as Activision, Infinity Ward and every other team that’s been involved is concerned. It’s not all good news for Call of Duty, though. The franchise is a stamp-on-your-scrote-in-its-heavy-iron-jackboots juggernaut, there’s no denying that, but the more recent games have been the most controversial. When you rest on your laurels too long, even the most dedicated fans can get pissed off with the whole thing.
There’s a lot of talk that, like sports games, COD is being thrust into the game-o-matic machine and thrust out annually with no changes. Or half-assed, superficial ones, at any rate. The reveal trailer for the latest in the series, Infinite Warfare, was met with Youtube dislikes to rival Bieber’s Baby (the most disliked video ever on the site), which isn’t a great sign. There’s a little futuristic shooter malaise in the community right now, y’see, we’re all burnt out on that BS. But then universal popularity is impossible, even for the biggest of us.
No point busting your ass for it, really. Point is, however much you bitch about Call of Duty, the general douchery of its players and how, like, totally casual it is, it’s going nowhere. This is a big deal, right here, as big as it gets.
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