Call of Duty: Ghosts sends players out into space and behind the eyes of a playable dog character, but has nonetheless been criticized for being overly familiar in quite a few of the reviews so far. An analyst recently described the franchise as being “review-proof” and the the $1 billion in units bought up by retailers on day one certainly seem to reflect a confidence in Call of Duty: Ghosts‘ ability to keep the fans coming back.
Call of Duty has become a mainstay of the yearly video game release schedule, with one new main title released every year since 2005 and plenty of smaller titles released for handheld consoles and mobile devices. Just Cause developer Christofer Sundberg has expressed his belief that Call of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield 4 will be the end of an era for both of these titans of the FPS genre, but Activision is happy to keep on trucking with its current release model.
During the company’s third quarter financial reports, Activision Blizzard noted that Call of Duty: Ghosts sales figure within the period was lower than that for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, but this has been attributed to gamers waiting to buy the game on next-gen consoles instead. Furthermore, CEO Bobby Kotick delivered the (not-so) stunning revelation that 2014 will, indeed, bring another Call of Duty game:
“Despite short term uncertainties, as we look forward to 2014, we have a very strong pipeline… We expect to launch new Call of Duty and Skylanders titles and our major, new potential franchise with Bungie’s Destiny. We will also continue to develop Call of Duty Online with our partner TenCent for the growing Chinese market.”
Call of Duty is one of the strongest franchises in its genre and draws big profits for Activision every year, and with such a tried-and-tested formula that’s been consistently successful it’s understandable that the developers prefer to stay within certain boundaries with each new game. This is even more true since the relatively short development time permitted means that there’s a limit to how much new material can be cobbled together in between games.
That’s not to say that the most recent Call of Duty games have been bad. Call of Duty apologist might not be a popular stance, but it should be noted that the shooting mechanics have become very well-polished over the years and the singleplayer campaigns are usually pretty interesting – with some memorable moments and great voice acting from talents like Tony Todd, Stephen Lang, Michael Rooker and Gary Oldman. It’s mainly because of this kind of quality that many FPS fans would undoubtedly be excited to see a Call of Duty game made within a development cycle of more than two years.
If the pattern continues as expected, the next Call of Duty game will likely be made by the team at Treyarch that created Call of Duty: Black Ops 1 and 2, which means that there’s a good chance the upcoming title is Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. This certainly seems like the safest and most predictable route to take, with the many futuristic war accoutrements already on Treyarch’s shelf ready to be reused, and safe and predictable has generally been the calling card of the franchise in recent years.
On the off-chance that Treyarch does want to think outside the box a little, however, here are a few suggestions for the next title: Call of Duty: Hastings, in which players must defeat the wretched Anglo-Saxons and win a decisive victory for Normandy; Call of Duty: Pacifist, a game with no guns at all but lots of dialogue trees through which the player must negotiate peaceful outcomes to potential hostilities; Call of Duty 6025, set in the distant future and casting the player as an entity that has left behind its fragile mortal body and become a sentient cloud of information, destroying enemies with the power of mind bullets.
Failing that, just go with more animals and aliens.
Call of Duty: Ghosts is now available for PC, PS3, Wii U and Xbox 360 platforms. Next-gen editions of the game are scheduled to launch alongside their respective consoles, on November 15th (PlayStation 4) and November 22nd (Xbox One).
Follow Hannah on Twitter @HSW3K.