For as much as the Call of Duty franchise has been lambasted for not greatly changing year to year, it’s hard to argue that Activision gives the casual fan what they want. Unfortunately, what that means is a set of releases with few surprises — Modern Warfare begets Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops begets Black Ops 2.
Moving into a new console generation, however, it appears Activision is once again returning to the well (the fans) and looking for some advice about where to take the Call of Duty franchise. Just recently, Activision sent out a request for gamers residing in LA to participate in a focus group that “will help improve and shape the future for Call of Duty.”
While we know that Call of Duty: Ghosts is this year’s iteration, we don’t know how much different it will be from Black Ops 2, or even Modern Warfare 3. The hope is that developer Infinity Ward (who is flying solo this time around) has a new engine to show off, but that’s just one of many fan requests…requests that Activision will presumably hear out in their focus groups.
According to Reddit user 8bitaddict, who was able to get in one of the focus groups, a preliminary set of survey questions suggested the group might be geared more towards Call of Duty Elite than Ghosts. Activision recruited participants through Elite, but there’s no firm confirmation that service is where the publisher’s focus is. Call of Duty Elite saw a big promotional push in 2011, and was the premiere pathway to new maps and content, but the service took somewhat of a backseat role last year.
That being said, if Activision wants to break into eSports in a big way, Call of Duty Elite is going to be an important service. Perhaps this focus group will help the various Call of Duty dev teams better understand how to improve the peripheral elements of COD’s multiplayer (i.e. stat tracking, tournaments, league play).
It’s entirely possible that we may never ever know what Activision is hoping to achieve with these focus groups, or that the lessons learned will impact a Call of Duty title several years down the road. Either way, though, we will have a better idea what Call of Duty: Ghosts is bringing to the table on May 21st at Microsoft’s next-gen Xbox event.
What would you like to see improved in future Call of Duty titles? How can Call of Duty Elite become an essential service?