Two Franchises, Two Different Futures

Over the weekend two much-loved video game franchises dropped trailers for their Autumn offerings: Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Battlefield 1. Battlefield was warmly received, and Call of Duty was trashed.

“Trashed” is a strong word, and I don’t mean that as an understatement: the trailer has quickly become one of the most disliked videos on Youtube; and at the time of this post’s publication it has notched over 2 million dislikes. Watch the trailer below and see if you can figure out what so many fans hate about it.

If you’re unfamiliar with the series, it looks fine (at best). It’s just another shooter set in a futuristic backdrop of space warfare and novel weaponry. It’s exactly what some people imagine when they think of the average, 2010s FPS. And that’s the problem— it’s just another shooter.

Call of Duty has been making war time FPS games for over a decade, starting with the 2003 game that bears the franchise name. Up until 2007 or so, with the release of Modern Warfare, COD (and shooters in general) had been synonymous with WWII shooters. The first three games were set during that conflict, as well as several of the console exclusives that followed. After Modern Warfare, the series followed up with a return to the Pacific with 2008’s World at War. And then… it focused on the present day and later, the future.

A shift towards futuristic settings wasn’t a bad thing. Those WWII games were solid! Remember Medal of Honor Frontline? But as with any industry, trends and new technologies encourage developers to explore outside-the-box offerings. Why not change it up with something fresher than the early 1940s? Call of Duty led the way with their critically acclaimed games, and EA/Dice’s Battlefield franchise took advantage of next-gen console technology with their Bad Company series. By 2010, even Medal of Honor was dabbling in modern warfare settings. But six years later, the gaming landscape is back at square one: there are too many modern/futuristic shooters out there, and consumers are clamoring for a change of pace. The two biggest studios reacted totally differently.

EA responded literally, slowing the pace way down, all the way to the trenches of World War I— and that’s not a typo. It’s going way back, beyond the WWII trappings that most seasoned FPS players are acquainted with. Paul Tassi of Forbes finds this a brilliant, if daring move. EA is clearly offering younger gamers something completely new (a historically-based shooter), and giving older gamers a glimpse into what they knew before the modern FPS landscape. The question is whether or not gamers will actually want to play a game featuring clunky old weapons, but EA is betting that nostalgia and novelty for the older and younger generations, respectively, make up for it.

And there’s where Activision slipped up. They kept plodding along with the same aesthetic, hoping gamers would take it in stride. To be fair, a negative comments section before the game even comes out probably isn’t the most reliable indicator of sales, but I’m sure the Activision team isn’t rejoicing in the streets either. Both games are coming out at around the same time, and an inadvertent sales battle will be underway. Will the winner will determine the outcome of the (foreseeable) future of the FPS? Maybe. Either gamers stay content with “modern” offerings, or we all take a step back to into the past.

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Published by: Doug MacFaddin

Douglas Willis MacFaddin was born June 16, 1961 in the Miamisburg Hospital to Patricia Ann MacFaddin and Richard Willis MacFaddin. My mother’s maiden name is Morrison and she is the youngest of seven children who were raised in Lycippus, PA. My father was the second of four children and was a twin. He was raised in the town of Viola, DE. At the time of my birth, my father worked at the Mound Laboratories in Miamisburg, Ohio in research. Mound was an Atomic Energy Commission facility for nuclear weapon research during the Cold War. My mother made a home for our family. My father passed away in 1991 and my mother is currently living in Avon, CT. Doug MacFaddin is the oldest of five children (Doug, R. Stuart, Anne Marie, Megan and Mary (Heather)). I lived in Ohio for two years, spent the next seven years in Murrysville, PA (outside of Pittsburgh), moved to Little Silver, NJ and relocated my senior year in high school to Avon, CT. My four siblings currently live with their families in Avon, CT and are members of St. Ann’s Church. I attended Mother of Sorrows School in Murrysville, PA. In NJ, I attended Little Silver Point Road School, Markham Place School and Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) in Lincroft, NJ for three years. My senior year, I attended Avon High School and I then spent the next four years at Union College, Schenectady, NY. I received a BS in Industrial Economics and graduated in June 1983. While at Salomon Brothers, I was asked to attend a two-week seminar for Public Finance at the University of Michigan in 1986. In Little Silver, I was involved in Troop 126 where I achieved the rank of Life Scout and was both a Patrol Leader and a Senior Patrol Leader. I also was an alter boy at St. James Catholic Church and spent summers a the Ship Ahoy Beach Club in Seabright, NJ and caddying at the Rumson Country Club. At Christian Brothers Academy, I wrestled for the varsity squad for three years. I took second in the districts my junior year and went on to the regionals. I also ran on their cross country team freshman year and was part of the CBA Colt team that hasn’t lost a duel meet since 1973. My senior year at Avon, I won the wrestling States (S). I went on to wrestle at Union College and qualified for the Div III nationals twice (1981, 1982) and was co-captain both years. My senior year at Avon, CT, I also won the States (S) in pole vaulting. It was the first time Avon High School had a state champ in two sports in the same year. During my four years, I earned nine varsity letters between wrestling, track and football. In 1979, I was accepted into The National Honor & Merit Scholars Society. Upon graduating from Union College, I accepted a position at Salomon Brothers Inc in August 1983. I was an analyst in their Public Finance department at One New York Plaza. I lived in Park Slope, Brooklyn and spent the next four years working at Salomon Brothers. As a result of Black Monday, October 19, 1987 the Public Finance Department of Salomon Brothers was jettisoned to conserve capital. By November 1, 1987, I was working at Dean Witter Reynolds in the new Public Finance Department made up of many of my former Salomon Brother’s colleagues. The new Department was located on the 57th floor of 2 World Trade Center.

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