Call of Duty, simply put, is one of the most popular and financially successful video game franchises of all time. Even with its sales declining in the last couple of years, it's still the best-selling game of the year.
This popularity and how it's been sustained by Activision is quite surprising. With the tumultuous annual release schedule, many expected the franchise to wane off and die years ago. But here we are in 2015. A Call of Duty game just came out last November, and its post-launch DLC support is only halfway done, yet we're already hearing about this year's entry in the storied series.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is the latest iteration for 2015. Many that have become disenfranchised with the series in recent years are counting on Black Ops 3 to reinvigorate the series, and Activision has entrusted celebrated Call of Duty developer Treyarch with the task.
So far, they've done a solid job at building hype, with the gameplay reveal trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 leaving many surprised at the risks Treyarch is taking with the formula. Call of Duty games have been long criticized for being "copy and paste" jobs, and while Black Ops 3 is certainly still Call of Duty at heart, it's also the most innovative the series has been since Call of Duty 4.
Treyarch's risk-taking nature has made Black Ops 3 one of the most exciting games of 2015. For those unconvinced, read on to discover five reasons to be excited about this year's Call of Duty.
1. Campaign Built for Replayability
For years, gamers have groaned at the campaigns in Call of Duty games, with many sharing the notion that the campaigns are uninspired and stale, always relying on the same old bag of tricks. Treyarch is aware of this, and they have decided to completely flip the Call of Duty campaign structure on its head with Black Ops 3.
First of all, there will be no more levels built like linear hallways; on the contrary, campaign levels are now wide open. Treyarch has taken to describing the levels as "arenas", allowing players to tackle objectives from a variety of angles while working cooperatively with friends.
Yes, that's right, with friends. Players will be able to play the campaign together in 4-player online co-op (2-player split-screen support included as well), which while not completely unheard of for the series, is still something that's almost never been attempted in the games before, and certainly not on this scale.
To go along with these improvements is an upgrade system similar to the one seen in Advanced Warfare. Co-op, nonlinear levels, and this upgrade system all come together to create what is quite possibly the most replayable Call of Duty campaign to date.
2. Completely New Traversal System
Black Ops 3's predecessor, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, took a pretty significant risk when it introduced the Exo Suits to the franchise, as this marked the first major change to the way Call of Duty played since the franchise's inception. Just like how Black Ops 3 is taking the AW upgrade system further, it is also innovating on these brand new traversal concepts.
Taking a few cues from Titanfall (itself developed by people that once worked on the Call of Duty franchise), Black Ops 3 features a jetpack propulsion system that gives players short bursts to increase movement speed and jump height. This advanced technology allows the game's soldiers to run on walls, perform "powerslides", and much more, which could potentially result in an even faster-paced Call of Duty experience than ever before.
Page 2: Zombies & Multiplayer
Treyarch is bringing Zombies back with a vengeance in Black Ops 3, and fans of the game mode should be ecstatic at the additions that are on their way. First of all, it appears that Zombies will have a full-fledged story this time around, or at least it will be more fleshed out than before. Secondly, an XP progression system is being implemented, which will greatly increase the mode's replayability.
Not a whole lot is known yet about Zombies, but the mystery is part of what makes it so exciting.
4. Increased Customization
For the first time in the history of Call of Duty, players will be able to completely customize their campaign character, including their gender. This is a significant departure from the franchise norm, but Treyarch is hoping to make a gender-neutral storyline for the campaign that all players can enjoy.
Customization in the campaign will also extend to a new social area where players can interact with one another in-between missions. Called the Safe House, this social space will include a private bunk for each player, which can be decorated and personalized. These customization additions join the customizations retained from previous entries, such as the ability to create unique emblems.
5. Multiplayer Specialists
The bread and butter of the Call of Duty series is undoubtedly the multiplayer component. Due to the massive success of the Call of Duty multiplayer formula, Activision has been almost entirely unwilling to budge from what's worked in the past. After all, f it's not broke, don't fix it. However, franchise fatigue has assuredly set in for a portion of the Call of Duty fan base, prompting them to seek out their online multiplayer fix elsewhere.
The Exo Suits from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare were an attempt to breathe some new life into the multiplayer experience, and while experimenting with traversal is certainly a way that Treyarch is shaking up people's expectations on what to expect from Call of Duty, they're not stopping there. Treyarch plans on making significant changes to Call of Duty's multiplayer.
This is being accomplished with the inclusion of multiplayer characters called Specialists. This approach to game design is more in line with hero-based MOBAs like League of Legends, as opposed to what one has come to expect from a first-person shooter. These Specialists all have their own personality, unique weapons, and special abilities, including a time-traveling robot named Reaper.
The introduction of Specialists is an extreme departure from what the multiplayer has represented in past entries. It is by far the biggest risk Treyarch is taking with the game, which makes it both thrilling and terrifying for longtime fans of the series.
Will these Specialists change the pace of the game to the point that it doesn't even truly feel like Call of Duty? The potential for failure here only further adds to the excitement, as it will be incredibly interesting to see if Treyarch's big gamble pays off.
More Excitement to Come
These are just five things to be excited about when it comes to Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, and the thing is, not everything about the game has even been revealed yet. E3 will surely deliver a multitude of new information on the title, including looks at multiplayer maps (will Nuketown return yet again?), match types, Zombies, and more.
What are you excited about when it comes to Black Ops 3? Are the changes worrisome, or is the formula not changing enough? Sound off in the comments!
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 will be available on November 6th for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.