Toby explains how sometimes a better series can be built on the ashes of a few high-profile failures.
By Toby McCasker on November 8, 2013 at 10:14 am
Possibly like a lot of discerning gamebros (and sisters. ‘Gamesisses’ is a bit Lord Varys, though), I’ve been wondering for ages: When are people going to realise en masse that Call of Duty could stand to stand down? At least until it gets its life together. You can’t just get one awesome haircut and then leave it for years. You’ll end up getting into technical death metal by hirsute default.
…which is awesome, not sure where I was going with that. I guess I started to make a good impression and then totally ruined it straight away by spiralling into irrelevance. Meta as hell and you love it: EXPLOSIONS! Wow! Aaand then whatever. You can read GoN’s thoughts here and here. Though they are salient and interestingly consistent with many other vidya critics across the internet switchboard, they were not the first telling shot fired.
No, that came from Polygon, whose video review happened to leak a teensy bit early and, if you use the internet at least casually and enjoy teh gamez, you know what’s up and why that was such a show-stopping dealie (it involves a six, a dot, and a five). This was interesting to see because traditionally, the bigger outlets seem to be terrified of critiquing the CoD series in any meaningful way. Why this happens is maybe no great my$tery, so the fact that enough seems to have finally been enough for more than one of them signals the day I actually thought would come last year.
Also weird: When Treyarch do it better than Infinity Ward.
As important as video game writers are to the fabric of the universe, sometimes it’s helpful to get an (admittedly anecdotal) view of things yourself. By calling a few JB Hi-Fi’s, let’s say. “Lowest-selling CoD game” was something I heard a few times from the strange duality of unsurprised but disappointed salespeeps. It would not be a massive stretch to say the bargain bins will be overflowing in but a few months.
The final sales figures are not in yet, of course. They’ll still be pretty high, and you will definitely hear about it when the invariable press release zooms around to inform the public/placate shareholders. It’s the necessity of the last part that’ll be a great catalyst for change. Shareholders like numbers. They like high numbers. Not 6.5.
All of this is fantastic for gaming. Not for Activision’s bottom line circa now, but invariably it will be again. Provided they don’t pull a Guitar Hero and slash and burn, the most logical and bestest thing to do would be to go, “OK people really think CoD is sucking, let’s go back to square zero and put in the effort to make it kick ass again.” Overdue, right? With the arrival of the next gen imminent, it’s almost too perfect that CoD’s bubble has seemingly burst.
Let’s face it, big business is never going to do more than it has to to make money unless a dearth of that money starts to whittle ‘big’ into ‘smaller.’ Basically what I’m saying is if you bought a copy of Ghosts you’re worse than smallpox*
*j/k I’m sure you’re an OK person who throws mad shapes on the weekend sometimes