Depending on how much you’ve followed Call of Duty many know that the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Call of Duty: Black Ops III will not be joining the set-list with a campaign. Instead, the two versions will feature Treyarch’s renowned multiplayer approach that has captured the hearts of fans around the globe. With this move, it struck a simple thought: What if Call of Duty went to a multiplayer only standard?
As someone who loves war based stories, I tend to lean towards games I’ve ventured into each Call of Duty since the days of Call of Duty back in 2003 on PC and PS2. As someone who has taken a delve into franchises such as Battlefield, Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, Socom, and many more, there’s always been a wonderment to what would happen if a renowned franchise stepped away from the campaign much like Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six has in the latest entry into the Six franchise.
When looking at Call of Duty I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the series, while I understand the choice behind Black Ops III being focused as a “Next-Gen Only Game”, I decided to take a look at what potentially could be if Activision and its development teams would be if they departed from the classic approach to Call of Duty, which is a minimalist campaign (Modern Warfare 2 seemed to be where this stopped for many), and an approach that focused solely on the multiplayer in the long run.
If you are familiar with the news of Call of Duty Online (this link will redirect you to Polygon’s article regarding this) in China, it’s not a bad sign for what things could be in things could be in this world if Activision just decided to drop the idea of campaigns all together and focus on their famed multiplayer element. While China’s version of Call of Duty will seem much different from what Western and even some Eastern gamers are used to, the game in itself is well balanced for the Chinese market and aims at giving them the title they need, but what if that title was released in the United States at the standard of being like Call of Duty Ghosts in graphics, but advanced in its gunplay as well as capabilities like Advanced Warfare and the upcoming Black Ops III?
In order to set the stage for the discussion, let us take a look at the ever-growing approach to free-to-play games that by standard, do have in-game charges to either access to new content such as weapons, maps, armors, character appearance, and other variants of paid options. The game that could be used as my prime example is one that I’ve played for quite a while and one that has seemed to grab a soft-spot in my heart: Warframe.
When it comes to Warframe the game is focused on several things that are namely cooperative play, content progression, and player connections. Through player connectivity, the game has grown to one of the titles that have become a fan-favored free to play and a success story to Digital Extremes (Dark Sector, Warframe), and has been a driving force within their offices. Thanks to Warframes ever-growing library of content that is made freely available behind paywalls or player dedication, Warframe is successful, and thus it has become a title that is fairly well known among online gamers.
With those facts in mind, what would happen if Call of Duty took this approach in their marketing in order to help their game grow even more to those who get tired of purchasing a new game yearly, but instead can sign up for yearly season passes as the same price? This is something that would be a unique approach to how CoD is handled and would allow Activision to make extra revenue.
This move would also their studios such as Treyarch, Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games to work together in a cohesive manner in order to bring out new modes, new weapons, new customizations, and even the capability of providing cross-platform play for PC and console users in order to tighten up the reigns on the professional leagues that the game keeps built into it.
Something many users were accommodated to with the League mode that was introduced to us with Call of Duty: Black Ops II back on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC only to be continued on future titles due to rising popularity. With the rise of Call of Duty being an online title, there is not a doubt or even speculation as to why Call of Duty has become an online phenomenon that draws players in year after year even though each title has little change or even little cause for change in what occurs in each of the titles aside from campaign and minor tweaks to game mechanics and graphics.
With campaign gone, many players won’t be taking notice that the game would be following in the steps of titles like Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, which has all, but removed any sign of a campaign within it aside from tactical commentated moments as well as communications voiced by Angela Basset as the head of Rainbow Six.
The question now is simple: what happens to games such as these if they focus solely on the multiplayer? Improved mechanics; the capability of adding, removing, or even creating new side-content that can be unlocked over time and even graphical fine-tuning that can be done through in-game updates much like Warframe as well as several other free-to-play titles have seen in the long run. It’s just a matter of how Activision Blizzard would handle such a transformation for Call of Duty if such a thing happened.
In truth, it’d probably bring in many new players for Call of Duty to take this route and shed its skin as a campaign and online title. Who wouldn’t mind a steady flow of yearly content featuring online multiplayer and online co-op modes such as Zombies, Extinction or even Spec Ops modes?
In truth, Call of Duty may be better off with the money being able to go into developmental resources and dedicated servers for all platforms while the current version(s) of Black Ops III will only see dedicated servers for the PC version of the game while PS4 and Xbox One will still be using a peer-to-peer connectivity client. This is a sign that Call of Duty truly should look at dropping campaigns all together as it would be an effective and cost-efficient approach for the future development of the fan-favorite franchise that proceeds to set new goals with each new launch.
Call of Duty: Black Ops III will be available for PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One starting Nov. 6th, 2015. Pre-Order now at your local retailer or online at GameStop, Best Buy or Amazon and receive the pre-order bonus NUK3TOWN map available while supplies last.
What’re your thoughts on this? Would you like to see Call of Duty leave the campaign arena to focus on solely multiplayer and cooperative modes? Would you prefer Call of Duty to return to its roots with the focus on the campaign? Let us know your thoughts and opinions regarding this.
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over onTwitter, Google+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.