16 August 2016

FWS Rant: Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Military Science Fiction

We are a few months out from the release of the next Call of Duty game, which at one time, were greeted with the sales and excitement of major film releases...but that is not the case with COD: IW. It has been one of the most disliked video game trailers on Youtube and the internet is abuzz with negative comments and rants on how IW represents an end to Call of Duty as we know. Not helping the case is that the more high dollar COD: IW editions are packaged with an graphical updated COD: Modern Warfare. This just shows how distant the current game is from that classic and the money-whoring culture of the current COD franchise. However, most seem to forget that way back in 2007, COD 4: MW was seen as a major departure from the World War II atmosphere of the original games and it was greeted with mistrust by the fans and negative press.
For many of us, we can see that COD has been edging its way towards more military sci-fi since MW3, but it was Black Ops: II that was the harbinger of the full shift into military science fiction themes and settings. Helping the case of bring COD into the world of future warfare was the positive sales and online traffic for COD: BO2. Will IW represent a major enduring and beloved shift from the more current and near-future shooters of recent COD releases to military sci-fi? That depends if the community embraces it with positive reviews, good sales, and enduring traffic in the multiplayer lobbies. The only way that is going to happen is if the game delivers, bar none. Also, it will depend if gamers embrace the World War One themed Battlefield One in larger sales numbers over IW. Both of these games could tell us what the future of COD will be and if it's love relationship with military sci-fi will continue.
If you follow FWS on its social media platforms, you know that there has been a great deal of discussion and posting over IW and its relationship to Military SF. Why? Because much like COD, the entire sub-genre of military sci-fi is at a crisis point with its representation in video games and the apex franchise of the entire world of MSF. As FWS discussed earlier this month, HALO has lost the crown of being the primary MSF franchise, and the search is on for the successor. I am not asserting that COD: IW will replace HALO, but it could represent if Military SF still has the pull to generate the dollars for development in various media.
Infinite Warfare could be the end of COD has we know it, and the entire COD franchise could have reset itself with an hard reboot back to World War II. Alternatively, if COD: IW is greeted with high sales and positive reviews, it will garner more interest in military sci-fi. I for one hope that COD: IW is an success. Not just for a great gaming experience, but for the vote on Activision's direction for the COD franchise, allowing us fans and creators within the world of military sci-fi to have a new source of inspiration and a product to draw for new converts to the holy faith of MSF. Because as we all know, there are few events in entertainment like the release of an new COD game...let us just hope that Activision knows what the hell they are doing. When I get the game in November or December, FWS will write a review and wait for the ripples in the world of gaming and military sci-fi. Until then...  

6 comments:

  1. I want to see it succeed as much as you do but I do not think it will have the impact of other major military sci-fi series. But I will wait and see what happens.

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  2. I say that we can discount the hate traffic that CoD: IW has generated. It is my experience that no matter how high such traffic is, it is usually the same 20 people who repeat ad-nausea their dislike.

    This is why Activision is not sweating the negative hype. They are probably more concerned with Battlefield I.

    What does this means? It means that the military genre in general has reached stagnation. World War II has been done to death. Modern Warfare too. To make a new Modern Warfare is to rehash the old ones. So, Infinity Warfare is a step in the right direction just like Battlefield I. The gamble is which one will catch the gamer's attention.

    Based on the trailers, I would say Battlefield I looks more interesting than IW. But the devil is in the execution and not in the PR. We'll have to wait and see.

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  3. Personally I'm eager to see just what Activision would do with the setting that is Infinite Warfare, what with actual vehicular combat that isn't a separate level, zero-g/frefall combat maneuvers ala Shattered Horizon, and a non-linear plot progression akin to demi-sandbox third person video games.

    Then again, the previous attempts at near-future settings in the franchise hasn't exactly gone well. I personally have not experienced them but I can only speculate that the story of each game simply didn't match what is possible in the game. Same with the multiplayer aspect (i.e. I suck), though I can only assume that there were some imbalance issues from key features and game mechanics of the single player campaign of both video games.

    And while the trailers were interesting enough, I can't help but think back to the trailers for Aliens: Colonial Marines and fear that IW would have a similar outcome. I hope not but who knows what goes within the minds of video game publisher executives nowadays?

    I just thought of a chilling thought that Activision could do with the non-linear level progression of IW: DLC missions not unlike the expansion packs of the Fallout and Elder Scrolls franchises. That just scared me a bit too much....

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  4. Sean Robert MeaneyAugust 18, 2016 at 1:36 AM

    I still wonder if civilization would be better off if we put the names of everyone on a wall for being born. And valued every life equally...rather than walls for the dead and statues for the idiots who helped kill them.

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  5. I remember watching the trailer for this at E3, and I think everyone in the screening room raised an eyebrow. I think sci-fi military shooters have run their course. Everything just seems so bland now. No matter how differentiating they make a game, they always seem to fall back on the same formula.

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  6. Im excited about the game, Ive already preordered, but even if it does well it does not mean we'll get more of the same. The Medal of Honor reboot from a few years ago was amazing, the follow up was so lackluster that it ended the franchise.

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