Love it or hate it, Call of Duty is the shooter of the masses, yet its affair with modern warfare has waned, and looks to the near future for benefits.
Since 2007, Call of Duty’s mass appeal was down to its addictive multiplayer and shooting mechanics. The game truly championed different time eras during their popularity and eventually made the switch when needed to.
WWII console games were undoubtedly synonymous with Call of Duty. The modern war era had also the same phenomena and cemented COD’s place as the go-to shooter for mainstream gamers. While other games try imitating Call of Duty’s lead, but end up playing catch up. However, sales have been decreasing year-on-year for the juggernaut franchise.
Some analysts claim Activision’s shooter has peaked and won’t likely reprise past sale figures. The current generation of consoles is the perfect time to introduce the near future setting in the renowned shooter. The futuristic setting leaves behind an 8-year drudge of modern combat, which could reinvigorate Call of Duty.
Modern warfare shooter games had some the highest gun licensing activity in the history of the industry. In fact, some developers went out of their way to avoid royalty fees through arduous legal hoops.
Royalties can be either a negotiable one-time payment or a percentage of sales, usually between 5-10%. The near future setting provides the means to avoid paying fees. Real weapon models can referenced, but not licensed, through a “could be real someday” futuristic backdrop, while not compromising “enhanced authenticity” for a game.
By avoiding gun-licensing royalties, these funds can be reinvested towards other areas that could create mass appeal, such as hiring Kevin Spacey in Advanced Warfare. This trend continues in Blacks Ops 3 as well. The near future setting allows introducing new mechanics never witnessed before in the franchise.
Cybernetic traversal provided a fresh coat of paint, though Xbox owners got a taste of that well before with Titanfall. The time setting also opens up flexibility in the franchise’s storyline that can carry it forward for some time, even though most players prefer playing multiplayer first.
Many fans complain that gameplay mechanics are stagnate and take the backseat. Although Black Ops III is still running on a dated engine, one of its developer would argue otherwise.
All in all, Call of Duty’s near future setting will likely popularize the period this generation. It also redirect funds away from royalties and towards new ways to engage players and provides the backdrop to introduce new mechanics. Last but not least, the futuristic era provides creative space for expanding horizons for the franchise’s future.