Call of Duty has lost its way and it’s hard to see how it can recover
Constant unpopular updates filled with changes and alterations that only seem to frustrate are proving Call of Duty has lost its way, with serious repercussions heading in its direction.
Call of Duty has lost its focus. Unique changes, unpopular operators, broken features, and a refusal to listen to the community it caters for has forced the game’s integrity and future into question.
For many, Call of Duty is on a fast track to failure. With the game careening uncontrollably around undesired updates and smashing through the barriers of community confusion, frustration, and rejection, all preparing to run itself off those tracks and leave behind damage that may never be resolved.
A path to self-destruction
The past few years of Call of Duty have been interesting, to say the least. The well-timed nature of Modern Warfare and Warzone propelled Activision back into the spotlight, with both titles garnering an outstanding playerbase and what many regard as a heyday in modern-day CoD.
Shortly after, in the years to come, this success would shift completely on its head, with the average Black Ops Cold War and forgettable Vanguard rearing their heads to show how quickly such popularity can change.
So, when MW2 released, it’s easy to say fans were hopeful and wished to see the franchise go back to its roots. For a while, it felt like Activision had achieved this. The maps were interesting, the weapons were exciting, and players flocked into the lobbies, but only for a short time, until the game began to decline once again.
MW2 received a lack of love shortly after those initial months ended, being met with constant community scrutiny and plenty of bugs to add to these frustrations. One key element that aided the game’s downfall was when The Boy’s collaboration came to fruition. Introducing superpowers, ridiculous operators, and making changes to maps made players take a step back and see MW2 for what it was — another crumbled brick in the wall of CoD’s once-stable foundation.
Leaving ‘realism’ for more than a Fortnite
One of the largest reasons for Call of Duty’s stumble is its handling of Operators. One of the best elements of a FPS like MW2 is being able to choose your fighter, bringing a sense of personality and even nostalgia from some bundles.
Such a design allows you to feel represented and unique as you explore the maps, but there comes a point where all that changes. Especially when you end up turning the corner to meet either a rat, a cat, or instead, laser eyes as they incinerate you with no hope of fighting back.
Ultimately, the principle of adding superheroes and unrealistic operators takes away from that design many love. Sure, Noir feels closer to CoD, in the same way as Shredder did, but few elements take you away from an intense battle than fighting against a feline.
The collaboration and cat skins feel more akin to the style of Fortnite than CoD and, despite only being in the game for a few months, have had a profound impact on the community, leaving them in uproar over superpowers, divided over certain skins, and wishing for change.
Beloved classics be damned
Accompanying unpopular Operators is Activision’s refusal to bring back key features or items from their past successes, especially after players beg for their return.
The likes of Shoothouse and Shipment were a high point in Modern Warfare and many were thrilled to see it back in MW2. But Warzone fans drew the short straw, being forced to say goodbye to some incredible maps through Warzone 2. Leaving Verdansk, Rebirth, and even Fortune’s Keep behind in favor of newer, more untouched experiences.
There’s a case to be made for introducing new maps, as the developers have done, stating how “it feels almost like it takes some time to get used to something new” and that players often slate a new map at the beginning but end up regarding it as a classic as the next title rolls out. However, despite these comments, as the saying goes, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ which is the case for those three Warzone maps.
The Warzone community is always wishing for either Verdansk, Rebirth, or Fortune’s Keep to be placed back in the game. Yet Activision refuses to. By refusing to cater to the community, the fanbase withers away, with many looking to head to similar battle royales, with stiff competition from the likes of Apex Legends.
On top of this, the developers provide little explanation when it comes to omitting classic maps, features, and game modes, with the fan favorite Gunfight disappearing during Season 4 Reloaded.
In multiplayer, a similar issue is occurring, but instead of maps, it’s features. Players call for the classic minimap, or a traditional perk system, but Activision refused to change, promoting new, unpopular features instead.
Few elements drive a community away like miscommunication, stubbornness, and enforcing unpopular changes to a previously successful game.
The case for Modern Warfare 3
Driving players away is a dire situation for Activision, with the Call of Duty player count constantly dropping despite new Seasons and content. It’s clear whatever chances the franchise takes, it seems to only make the community more and more frustrated.
Naturally, in any live-service game, the community will get angry at the developers from time to time, especially with so much constantly changing. However, this frustration for CoD extends far past the point of return for many players, throwing the success of the future MW3 into question.
Leaks that the classic mini-map and Ninja Perk would be returning pleased most of the community but it hasn’t stopped many from threatening to boycott the new title after seeing the state of MW2. The notion that weapons, operators, and bundles will be transferred to MW3, almost makes the title a DLC of its predecessor rather than a new game.
Call of Duty has long been an industry giant, with hundreds of thousands of players joining the fray. But thanks to the state of the franchise it’s clear CoD has lost its way, meaning there’s little incentive for fans to purchase MW3.