A great number of long-time gamers are turning off of the annualised Call of Duty franchise, tired as they are of playing what they believe to be the same thing, year after year. You might imagine that the franchise as a whole is on its way to being doomed – but you’d be very wrong. According to Activision, it’s never been stronger.
“All I can tell you is that the franchise has never been stronger, “ Activision Publishing’s CEO Eric Hirshberg told IGN. “At this moment in time, we have more people playing every month, more people logging on to play every day, a better digital business with people playing longer into the cycle of each product and purchasing more DLC and purchasing micro-DLC and purchasing season passes.
“Those are all the hard measures. How is the content we’re making selling? Are people enjoying it? That seems to be going well. Then you look at the softer measures, just in terms of social media engagement and video views. Anticipation is high for Ghosts. When you’re building off such a strong foundation of engaged players, that’s usually a pretty good sign.”
That said, he also says that Ghosts will change things up, and that you won;t be playing the same thing when it releases in November this year.
“We’ve changed to a world where America is not the dominant force, but an underdog. That opened up new visual opportunities. It opened up new gameplay opportunities. We’re shaking things up. Multiplayer is going to have new ideas. Dynamic maps are something we’re doing. Character customization is something we’re doing.
“The story mode is going to be…I don’t know if you’ve seen what we [showed at E3], but it’s gorgeous. It’s emotional. It’s got a different kind of tonality and feeling to it. It all comes down to us making a great game every time out, and I’m confident that we are going to deliver something special with Ghosts.”
I was actually impressed with what I saw from Ghosts at E3 – but mostly in terms of tech. As far as the game itself goes, it’s a bit of a conundrum; they’ve put so much effort in to “next generation” tech, to make a game that largely looks and plays like…Call of Duty.
It does, however, sound like a bit of posturing, with Activision trying to assert dominance in the face of real competition, like Battlefield 4 and Respawn’s award-winning Titanfall.