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Call of Duty Is the Gold Standard for All Shooter Video Games: The Rest, Who Really Cares?

Updated on December 1, 2017
Craig Easom profile image

Craig has been a writer on HubPages since 2013. He is currently studying for Marketing at Nottingham Trent University—in the land of Robin.

(Image of Call of Duty 2: Big Red One [October 25th, 2005] poster) - This is the poster that 'boots on the ground' Call of Duty players most think of when bringing the franchise into conversation - welcome, all Call of Duty player traditionalists
(Image of Call of Duty 2: Big Red One [October 25th, 2005] poster) - This is the poster that 'boots on the ground' Call of Duty players most think of when bringing the franchise into conversation - welcome, all Call of Duty player traditionalists

Call of Duty - Gold, Pure Gold

There have been so many portrayals of soldiers during the World War 2 conflict that it borderlines on cliche, as Hollywood and Activision have worked tirelessly to show every possible avenue of the World War 2 events, that truly leaves entertainment medium audiences spoilt for choice when taking their brains to a place of historical pride and unprejudiced victory over powerful fascist regimes, such as the Nazi German great powers during the last of the great wars in human history.

World War 2 has been shown on all accounts during the Hollywood reign on the entertainment medium over the past century, and counting, but truly reached a new level of movie making on an epic scale - when Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan hit cinema theatres around the globe in 1998. In terms of World War 2 history, Hollywood has long been using it as a front for grande satirical films, but Steven Spielberg was eager to take things serious, and for the first time in Hollywood movie history, there was a World War 2 movie that would become a blockbuster icon for the World War 2 portrayals in human history, and human sacrifice.

Since, 1998's Saving Private Ryan, there have been many attempts at reliving the events of World War 2 through the eyes of the American military forces, but none have stood above Steven Spielberg's 1998 WW2 epic. Over movie making history, there have been numerous accounts of serious Vietnam storytellings, the Russian Cold War storytellings, but none appeals more to the modern entertainment consumer than the events that took place during the second great war - to end all great wars.

Then, comes Activision, the rights holder to the Call of Duty franchise. In 2003, Activision released their first Call of Duty title, "Finest Hour", and this was it, the start of storytelling campaign that would appeal to the mass audiences who play their part in the video-game entertainment medium. Finest Hour (CoD 1) was gritty, dark, and told the story of World War 2 in ways that covered key elements to the battles that took place during the war, and only got better with the release of the second Call of Duty title, "Big Red One", and it was this title that served as the height for the rising first-person-shooter franchise.

In 2005, the Xbox 360 (next-generation, now old-generation) console launched, replacing the original Xbox console, and this would be the console that would first see the presence of Call of Duty 3, only now the online side to console gaming was taking off, subtly replacing the PC's one key selling point, and making the console the true king for multiplayer video-gaming. Call of Duty 3 released in 2006, and by now it was a little too late to change the multiplayer game engine, as it was becoming increasingly clear that the game engine used for the single player was not appropriate, nor applicable to the multiplayer game engine functioning for the shiny next-generation Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles.

This spawned Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, having released in 2007 as the answer to multiplayer video-game dominance for the shooter genre. The competition was bleak for the first-person-shooter genre, and this skyrocketed Call of Duty to the top of the sellers list for video-game sales across all platforms. How did Activision achieve this? Well, in 2007 Call of Duty was still on a high from its World War 2 shooter dominance of recent years, and Modern Warfare was the first modern warring title that the franchise ever made. Why, the time jump? Infinity Ward, the game developing studio for Call of Duty 4 released a demo for the Captain Price story campaign, and Activision were hooked. On top of this, Infinity Ward also designed the new (at the time) multiplayer game engine that would be more rewarding and engaging for online players, and so entered the XP (experience points) system that would dominate the online shooter community for a decade to come worth of Call of Duty multiplayer instalments.

Since Call of Duty 4 was such a commercial success, making Activision ten times more money than they had originally been estimating in 2007, with the estimation for gross profit returns being in the ball park of one million copies sold in sales, they instead made ten million copies sold in sales. That is big money in the video-gaming marketplace, and it was only going to get better as the years went on.

Originally, Infinity Ward was the developing studio tasked with creating the next World War 2 event game for the Call of Duty franchise back in 2007, but this was changed at a later date to instead have the Modern Warfare title take its place. So, the task fell down to Treyarch developing studios to make the next WW2 game for the fast growing franchise, and in 2008 they released World at War, a game that offered more than its predecessors in overall content; including a single player/4 player co-operative campaign, an epic multiplayer that shared the same game engine that was used for Call of Duty 4's multiplayer, and the newly addition of the Nazi zombies survival game mode.

Only issue, came in 2009, when Infinity Ward continued their Modern Warfare (Call of Duty 4 - the original) series with a sequel, as although this was a marvellous game with plenty to provide in terms of gameplay and graphics innovation, the problems came in the background - with Activision secretly plotting to never take the franchise back to the events of World War 2. Perhaps this was due to market research pointing in the direction of moderner war settings, or the developing studios (tasked with making the games series in the franchise) simply desiring the edge of moderner wars settings, or maybe, just maybe there was oversight from everyone involved in the makings of the Call of Duty franchise.

Consider this: The Call of Duty instalments that cross their paths with the World War 2 era must always remain historically correct, and the war has been heavily documented over the years, except there are not many people alive who fought during the war. This makes creating a realistic World War 2 experience difficult for game developers, as it is difficult to truly capture the narrative qualities of an authentic World War 2 battle for a fearsome victory against relentless enemy forces. Hollywood struggle to capture World War 2 in a way that hasn't already been seen before, and this only leaves satirical natured ripping on the WW2 tragic battlefield operations events, and this has long been shifted from Hollywood's activities towards making stories that are told on the back of WW2. Call of Duty, one of the few surviving WW2 shooter franchises, has also drifted from its earlier identity in recent years, but now there has been the much-awaited return to World War 2 across all entertainment mediums.

Christopher Nolan's 2017 cinematic release of Dunkirk has been one of long needed importance, as this depicts the events that took place during a pinnacle point in Britain's entry into World War 2, helping the American military, the French military, and other allied forces to fight back the German defences.

David Ayer's 2014 release of Fury is also another great WW2 cinematic release, focusing on the unique angle of the US troops fighting from within the allied tanks. This is a rare WW2 spectacular of a movie, and is bettered by its addition of brilliant acting performances from its lead cast; including Brad Pitt and Logan Lerman.

This brings us to Call of Duty's most recent release of Sledgehammer Games most unique development work for Call of Duty: WWII, a brilliantly epic WW2 single player campaign that wields all of the 3 P's for pass rates in a Call of Duty epic title. This includes the single player campaign (this one, functioning as though it was a movie, blended with the playable parts), the multiplayer that rivals all predecessing Call of Duty multiplayer experiences, and a Nazi zombies game mode that leaves me feeling proud that I was there when 2008's World at War first brought to us the zombies game mode in Call of Duty.

"WWII", as I often refer to Call of Duty: WWII as being known as, is the greatest World War 2 depicted shooter video-game that I have ever played, and it seems a great number of traditionalist Call of Duty players (who were there back in 2003 when the first CoD title first released) believe something similar. Sledgehammer Games is the shooter games developer to follow in 2017, as they have truly offered up something special with their release of "WWII", and it may seem that for the first time in a long time I might actually play the single player campaign on veteran difficulty. Shore, it might be difficult, but the veteran difficulty in "WWII" single player campaign, might just be the greatest World War 2 video-game experience that there has ever been. Easy mode is great in "WWII" single player campaign, as it makes it more fun to experience the story, but the higher difficulty settings force you to play the games campaign as though it was a real battlegrounds environment.

Thinking back to the hit movies for realism portrayals of World War 2 events, Call of Duty: WWII has included it all, and this is somewhat amazing, as now these great events of the most epic war of all time are now playable. That includes the opening scene on the Normandy beach in Saving Private Ryan, so famous, as it was North America's first day of entry into World War 2. "WWII" even includes a single player campaign episode where you operate a friendly US tank, offering up an experience that feels similar to the scene in Fury (cinematic feature film, released in 2014) where the convoy is passing through the small town in France. Again, this time the ending in "Fury" when the final surviving tank is stuck in the mud without motorised movement, this feels somewhat familiar to the multiplayer War mode experience in "WWII" on the map Operation Griffin where at the final defending bridge objective there is the US tank broken down at the entry point onto the bridge with a usable top turret gunner. Using the turret gunner, witnessing the tank stuck in the mud, and watching as a wave of enemy troops storm down the hill, the feelings that emerge brings me back to the cinematic experience of watching Fury for the first time.

(Image - official poster for Call of Duty 2) - "Big Red One", now here's the golden standard for shooter video-games. But, times have changed, the internet online capabilities have changed, and 2017's Call of Duty: WWII is the closest to gold in 2017
(Image - official poster for Call of Duty 2) - "Big Red One", now here's the golden standard for shooter video-games. But, times have changed, the internet online capabilities have changed, and 2017's Call of Duty: WWII is the closest to gold in 2017

Call of Duty's, Gold - So, What About Battlefield, Rainbow Six, and Star Wars: Battlefront

Call of Duty, as a shooter video-game franchise, is a one-off phenomenon that operates in the video-game marketplace, and this is all down to purified content remaining king in 2017, almost as much as it was back in 2007.

Where have Call of Duty gone so right, where so many of the other shooter video-game franchises have run stale, when compared? Well, Call of Duty has the finest, smoothest, most usable game engine software, and when compared to all of the other shooter franchises (most popular, being the first-person shooters, like Call of Duty), their game engines simply don't feel as though they are up to scratch with Call of Duty's.

Take Battlefield, an online multiplayer first-person-shooter franchise like Call of Duty, and many would compare Battlefield as being the closest in comparison to Call of Duty, except Battlefield sells way less copies each year than Call of Duty. Why? Battlefield is a less known entity in the shooter video-game marketplace, and is perhaps only known in its entirety by the first-person shooter gamers. Call of Duty, have kept their game engine, design, system workings, all entirely user friendly, and have done something truly remarkable with their rewarding system within their multiplayer servers. Battlefield, however, have a gameplay experience that feels sort of clunky at times, only worsened by the entry into multiplayer matches, as the player does not feel quite as smooth in action - as say Call of Duty's multiplayer, when compared directly.

Other Call of Duty franchise competitors, such as Halo, Destiny, Overwatch, and Titanfall, are all entirely different first-person shooter franchises, all fulfilling their own niches. When comparatively compared to Call of Duty, Destiny (say, for instance) cannot be sat alongside Call of Duty for either its equity stake or relativity in the games universe for the next-generation consoles (Xbox One, PS4) gamer-space, as they both fulfil completely separate gaming needs, and thereby appeal to different sets of audiences. Sure, at times, there will be Call of Duty fans who are also fans of (say...) Destiny, but this is eerily besides the point.

And, anyway; neither Destiny, Overwatch, Titanfall, or any of the other shooter franchises have even come close to the smoothness of the Call of Duty gaming experience, and to say such a thing is to dismiss all critical game engine (...engineering) innovation to no good waste. If Call of Duty was not the glorified shooter video-game franchise king, then another shooter franchise would have to take its place.

In the end, there was one, one shooter gaming franchise to rule them all. Call of Duty has the greatest game engine, both for its single player modes and multiplayer modes, all of which work entirely different, and offer entirely different user experiences for the gamer.

What about the wider shooter video-gaming universe, in 2017? That's right, Call of Duty is the high rising first-person shooter franchise, applying great efforts and energy into its narrative story-mode, and the even more so immersive multiplayer gameplay experiences, which require much less effort and energy in the narrative side to things.

First-person shooter franchises cannot compete, so why would any other shooter franchise? Here it is, the question within the question. The answer: the first-person shooter franchises have way better immersion gameplay experiences than the comparatively weaker player experiences in third-person shooters. Yeah, the third-person shooter video-game franchises like Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, or Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon, or any other third-person shooter franchise that isn't Tom Clancy based, are all fun to play, but none of them offers the online experience that is similar to the dominance of Call of Duty's multiplayer game mode experience.

Then, there was one. Active shooter gamers on the PC, Xbox One or PS4 in 2017 will all have heard of Playerunknowns Battlegrounds (better known as "PUB-G"), a third-person shooter 'battle royale' online video-game. Now, PUB-G is the online gaming success story for 2017, as the game was initially released for the PC, as a battle royale video-game title, and what this basically entails is; spawning into a large map (the battlegrounds) with a hundred active players, and each person has a single life, and the key to gaming success is to be the last man/woman standing. PUB-G has sold over ten million online copies of its game for the PC, and is due to launch for the PlayStation 4 (and Xbox One) in mid-December, and the in-game experience is all online, and truly phenomenal, with a total of over 2 million players online on the PC at any one time. As a player in the battleground battle royale map, there are hidden weapons and other loots dotted around the map, and you can switch from third-person (the default) to first-person to shoot your weapons, something that is a little similar to GTA (Grand Theft Auto 4, and above).

Playerunknowns Battlegrounds (or, "PUB-G" - for short) is undoubtedly popular, but it does still fall behind on the 8-ball, and this is down to game engine, and overall game design innovation. The games developer behind PUB-G will be limited on its finances, whereas Activision have complete commercial dominance on the games consoles Call of Duty IP (meaning Call of Duty have no financial limitations), and this is bad news for PUB-G, as their overwhelming success as a shooter relies solely on that one title, whereas Call of Duty is a well-established commercial entity/brand.

What about EA's commercial dominance and power over their shooter franchises, such as with Star Wars: Battlefront and Battlefield? EA DICE are a large enough corporation to dominate any video-game genre that they do so please, as they can simply keep throwing money at a newly designed starter games series, and keep spending until they reach market success, then edging into market dominance. No, Battlefield and Star Wars: Battlefront do not sell even nearly as many copies as the Call of Duty franchise, but this is down to the levels of innovation and pure gaming entertainment that they provide the user/gamer. Activision's Call of Duty IP is their flagship product line, similar to how Battlefield is EA's flagship entity, but the gold is in the making. And, Battlefield was made a heck of a lot worse when faced up against the effortless works of Call of Duty.

Therefore, Call of Duty is pure gold in a marketplace.

Whereas, Battlefield, Rainbow Six, Titanfall, Destiny and few others drop down to the silver standard, leaving the rest of the shooter franchises that remain the bronze standard, or perhaps even worse, the none-accounted standards.

© 2017 Dreammore

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