Gamers have been taken back by the recent rumors that ‘Call of Duty 2016’ will be a sci-fi shooter set in space. But with more than 10 years of history to go by, this likely won’t be a very significant change.
The Call of Duty franchise is limited. It isn’t a new IP that can try new and creative ideas. It isn’t a sequel to a title that didn’t do so well and is now going to shake things up. This is the Call of Duty franchise we’re talking about here. One of the biggest gaming franchises in history. Even with it slow decline in sales it still sits upon a mountaintop other games only wish they could be on.
The Call of Duty franchise is limited by their fan base and precedent they’ve set over the last decade. Ever since Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the series has never strayed too far from the formula. Sure the time may change by a few years, the setting may look a little different, but we’ve essentially been playing the same game since MW1. The engine is the same, the multiplayer is practically the same, and more importantly the guns are the same.
Think of the guns you’ve used in recent Call of Duty titles. Typical Assault Rifles, Sub Machine Guns, Light Machine Guns, Sniper Rifles, and other modern military weapons. The same guns that have been there since MW1. Yet MW1 took place in the year 2011. While games with very similar weaponry took place in the 1960’s (Black Ops), 1980’s (Black Ops 2), 2065 (Black Ops 3), 2028 (Ghosts), and 2054 (Advanced Warfare). All of these games have very similar styles of gameplay and weaponry with the one exception of Exo-suits in Advanced Warfare. It ins’t in Activision’s best interest to drastically alter the formula and risk scaring away their slowly declining fan base.
Now one could argue this is their attempt at revitalizing the series and gaining back those lost fans over the years. But there is a fine line that they want to cross: the line between modern military and sci-fi. AAA shooter giants like Call of Duty, Halo, and Battlefield only survive by being different from one another. The moment one tries to become the other would likely be the end of that franchise. Call of Duty doesn’t want to be Halo, and neither does its fans. They aren’t going to change the game so much that you won’t be able to tell it’s still a copy of MW1.
“Space” is also an interesting term when describing the setting. Does that mean we will literally be floating in space the entire game? I doubt it. That would make for a horrible shooter. What about space station battles like the one in Ghosts? This is the more likely scenario although I still highly doubt the entire campaign would take place on a space station. Unless of course the space station was the size of the death star, but then at what point does that not count as “in space” anymore. Technically MW1 is in space. It’s set on planet Earth which is floating in space. To me “in space” has to be either floating around in dead space or in a small space station like the ISS.
In any case I think the next Call of Duty will be grounded like the many previous installments before it. You won’t be shooting green lasers, you won’t be fighting aliens, and you most likely will be on solid ground for the majority of the game. This is Call of Duty after all.