By now everyone is well aware of the departure of Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella, along with most of their development team. While it appears Activision is in the wrong, I?m sure there is some truth to both sides. However, I don?t really care about the beef between the two parties. What I care about is the great franchise that Infinity Ward created. If Activision continues to make the Call of Duty franchise they will most definitely destroy the legacy that the first four COD games created (exclude COD 3 and World at War).
I'm sure all the COD fan boys out there are about to fly off the handle, but let me explain why. There have been six major COD games released thus far, four games designed by Infinity Ward and two by Treyarch. The games produced by Infinity Ward have been amazingly crafted games that set benchmarks in both single player and multiplayer. The Treyarch games, while still good, do more to frustrate the gamer then excite them about their next title. Sure, they added a great co-op feature in Zombies, but does this exonerate them from all their shortcomings? A feature that frustrated gamers in both titles was vehicles. They were overpowered (for the most part) and felt like an added feature. Another gameplay flaw were the kill streak rewards, a nuisance to the opposing team that could last way too long. However, my real beef with Treyarch is their inability to grow the franchise. The games designed by Treyarch are not as well reviewed and simply don't work as smoothly as the games designed by Infinity Ward. Shouldn't a design team look to improve upon their past work? Apparently the Treyarch team were B- students and batted .250 for the high school team.
Here we are in 2010 and COD Black Ops is soon to be released along with MW 3 and another rumored COD project in development. All of these games will be designed by teams that have failed to push the envelope. These first couple games might do commercially well, because like anything in business, brand loyalty is everything. However, gamers will soon realize the quality no longer matches the past projects. The Call of Duty franchise will then see itself in a position similar to that of Medal of Honor, taking a nice hiatus, and praying a revitalized version a few years down the road will peak gamers interest. Believe me, Activison will drain the COD franchise until it?s dry and the only way to stop them is by not buying the game. There is still a plethora of untapped resources in the COD franchise, but in order to reach that potential Activision needs to stop seeing this as an immediate cash cow and look at it like a long term commodity.