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The History of Call of Duty - Evolving Past Medal of Honour and Battlefield

Updated on September 29, 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.

Call of Duty - Evolution
Call of Duty - Evolution

Ewww... Call of Duty is Icky

The Call of Duty franchise is the biggest FPS seller year in and year out. They must be booming in sales, bloating up all of those midnight line-up tickets at the games launch in November.

Sales statistics would say otherwise:

  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007) - 17 million units sold
  • Call of Duty: World at War (2008) - 14 million units sold
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009) - 24 million units sold
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010) - 30.3 million units sold
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (2011) - 30.6 million units sold
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (2012) - 29 million units sold
  • Call of Duty: Ghosts (2013) - 27 million units sold
  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (2014) - 22 million units sold
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 (2015) - 26 million units sold
  • Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (2016) - 11 million units sold

(a thanks to Statista for the sales figures data - all time unit sales for Call of Duty franchise titles)

To be honest, the Call of Duty franchise does not seem to have performed all that bad over the past decade since the franchise blew-up into the atmosphere with the introduction of their new gaming engine for Call of Duty 4 back in 2007. The Xbox 360 simply enabled better gaming developing capabilities, and Infinity Ward was one of the first gaming developers to capitalise on the online gaming space within their titles multiplayer.

Treyarch were contracted by Activision a year before the release of Call of Duty 4, as the publisher believed that it was the world war 2 setting that the franchise community were most excited for. World at War used the same gaming engine as Call of Duty 4, so it made for an easy transition for Infinity Ward fans to hop onto World at War to have an entirely different war setting, and then still be able to hop back onto Modern Warfare.

Infinity Ward was clearly right in thinking that the COD community wanted the modern warfare setting as initial sales for World at War were not as successful as the Call of Duty 4 titles sales figures on launch. This sappy knowledge took Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare franchise way into the future for FPS gaming innovation as the MW2 multiplayer had a fan-base purely interested in the games multiplayer. Huh, people don't care about the single player campaign? Yeah, but the general consensus for the single player campaign was, meh, compared to fans response of "I'm whipping butt today when I call in my nuke". This could not be said in the single player campaign, so meh.

Before the Icky we had Call of Duty - a franchise that stuck to its identity
Before the Icky we had Call of Duty - a franchise that stuck to its identity

Now, Call of Duty Starts to Get Icky

This might be a result of having way too many kids in game chat for the multiplayer, but the entire feeling towards Black Ops multiplayer in 2010, was a complete state of disgust.

Black Ops is the one Call of Duty title that many fans for the franchise will stand by as being one of the greatest COD games ever made, to date. Sure... the multiplayer aside, the single player campaign was badass and took fans down memory lane, and the zombies mode was easily the greatest that any COD game has ever produced, to date. Perhaps its the zombies mode that sways peoples opinions.

Cue the guy... What, the multiplayer allowed players to create their own emblem in an emblem editor. Wait, wait, let me stop you right there. The emblem editor for Black Ops was a joke, it only aroused a ridiculous level of perversion, and stood as a reminder of how many imbeciles play the game.

Wait, cue the guy... The multiplayer had the Famas assault rifle, the gun that still stands out today as being one of the best weapons in the Call of Duty franchise as a whole. Yeah, but who hung around long enough to realise this.

In reality, aside my own aggression towards the Black Ops title, it still outperformed MW2 in sales, and moved more than 30 million units off store shelves. This must mean that the overall consensus for Black Ops is that it was good. What about the Commando though? Fair enough, it had some memorable weapons, online.

MW3 was working off the popularity of MW2, and after Black Ops the Call of Duty community was screaming for more Infinity Ward COD action, and MW2 was perhaps the best received online shooter for the entire franchise. Too bad MW3 was a bad copy of MW2. Not original!

The truth behind MW3's fan denial: After MW2 was released in 2009 the Infinity Ward developers had a fall out with Activision, and the dispute led to the exiting of many of Infinity Ward's lead developers. These developers later started up a new games developing company, Respawn Entertainment, and through this studio they created Titanfall and Titanfall 2.

We get the feeling as though the Infinity Ward developers from back in 2009 were dissatisfied with their income, as what would cause any hot employee to leave a studio in one of the most reputable gaming developing studios that does work for one of the most successful gaming publishers on the planet, Activision? Well, Activision are restricting your scope of control over the creative work that you are doing, and without this extra scope of activity, they would ultimately give you a pay cut.

And, bye bye goes the best developers working for Infinity Ward in 2009. Perhaps even the people who had the idea for Call of Duty, founded the greatest FPS developing studio, Infinity Ward (this one is up for dispute), and understood the gaming engine that was pleasing tens of millions of gamers.

Ahh, Call of Duty 2, a simpler time
Ahh, Call of Duty 2, a simpler time

Yay, Call of Duty is Revived by Treyarch's Experience of Older Generation Games Engines That Could Work Elements of Which into the Newer Generation of Gaming En

We like gaming engines. Do you?... ok then.

Black Ops 2 stormed into video-game retailers all over the world in November of 2012, and the Call of Duty community was blown away by the advances made to the games online function. It ran so smooth, brought back theatre mode, the game engine was phenomenal and definitely a step-up from Black Ops (the original).

The multiplayer experience in Black Ops 2 has to be one of the most popular of all the titles released within the franchises life-cycle. Quick-scoping in Black Ops 2 multiplayer was great fun, the maps were epic and even saw the return of Nuketown from Black Ops (the original), and everything just worked.

Black Ops 2's multiplayer offered players a new experience, and where Infinity Ward's MW3 replicated the engine that was used for MW2, Black Ops 2's game engine was completely fresh, and took players into a unique gameplay experience that felt substantially different to that of Black Ops (the original).

Ghosts was meant to make players feel dangerous. Maybe this one is just me, but I had no such feeling/or impression when playing through Ghosts' single player campaign
Ghosts was meant to make players feel dangerous. Maybe this one is just me, but I had no such feeling/or impression when playing through Ghosts' single player campaign

The Treyarch Led Success Series Continuation is at this Point Put on Hold, as it is Infinity Ward's Time to Shine

In 2013, the Call of Duty community received Infinity Ward's step in an all new direction away from the Modern Warfare series. This route is best known as the elite path taken to become the 'ghost'. Yep, the games title was Ghosts.

Infinity Ward has at this time got a whole new family of developers, and in an attempt to get ahead of the game they went into a futuristic direction. Not entirely into the future, as they opted for a similar story to Black Ops 2 where the game is set in the near future. Ghosts was clearly inspired by Modern Warfare.

Ghosts, in a nutshell, felt like a slap to the face when all is considered. Loading up the game all Xbox 360 and PS3 owners knew they had made a mistake once the menu screen pops up. This is due to the artwork on the main menu screen very much relating to the in-game experience, and that experience is purely gimmicky and had a game engine that felt worse than Modern Warfare's series titles.

Why is buying Ghosts in fall of 2013 a problem? Well, Ghosts was still available for the Xbox 360 and PS3, but this would be the final Call of Duty title to be released onto the (now!) old-generation consoles. The graphics for the game were clearly being enhanced for a next-generation console experience, but it wound up looking gimmicky and also had a game engine that inadvisably left players feeling a lack of moral for the games multiplayer.

Other problems with Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer:

  • The prestige emblems - not a big deal, right? Well, on Ghosts the prestige emblems were simply terrible, and gave the most basic of instincts to avoid the levelling up process for the game, and in the end this would only lead to self-loaving for playing the games multiplayer, period.
  • Too many kill streaks - this one is probably controversial, but there were a lot of kill streaks in Ghosts. Is that really a bad thing? Yes, because none of them stood out as being truly 'rewarding' for lasting into a high level of kills without deaths.
  • Bad maps - Call of Duty as a franchise is known for having some of the greatest multiplayer maps and map designs within the FPS gaming universe, but none of these will be found in Ghosts.
  • Gun gameplay not fun enough - this would be a serious factor for the Ghosts overall success, and in truth the gun gameplay experience did not feeling like it was winning any rewards. It was playable, but this calls to question issues over the kind of games engine that Infinity Ward has switched to using.
  • No innovation (but, has spirit) - there was positively no innovation at all to be found in Ghosts. The map designs changed nothing from the norm, the gun gameplay felt unrewarding, the points earning system had not changed, and the entire game felt like it was not trying to be the exceptional. But, they clearly aimed to make their game stand out.

Advanced Warfare was perhaps the final nail in the coffin for Halo. What about Battlefield, Activision. We're giving EA the chance to get ahead.
Advanced Warfare was perhaps the final nail in the coffin for Halo. What about Battlefield, Activision. We're giving EA the chance to get ahead.

And, So Enters Sledgehammer Games

Sledgehammer Games have previously been contracted to assist in the making of Call of Duty titles, and their most substantial work to this stage had been through the collaboration of efforts between Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games for Modern Warfare 3 in 2011. This still stands as the best selling Call of Duty title, to date.

Soon enough, in 2014, Sledgehammer Games had gone full-contracted Call of Duty developers as they hit their first title launch, Advanced Warfare. This was the first Call of Duty title to go fully-fledged as a futuristic set video-game.

The initial sales on launch for the Advanced Warfare instalment for the Call of Duty franchise was one of their worst. In the end, the game still sold 22 million copies, and this was a game that received a lot of negative reviews for being oversold as being the greatest Call of Duty game ever, when in reality fans were sprouting up all around the internet to explain their grief. Yep, Call of Duty fans are that serious about the FPS franchise. It gets emotional.

Some would say that people would buy every Call of Duty game regardless of the war setting, realistic or otherwise. Clearly this seems to be the case, but it still sold slower than Ghosts, so a lot of these copies will have been sold during sales which also counts as a loss for the games publisher.

Did Sledgehammer Games wow the world in 2014? Advanced Warfare introduced the new gaming mechanics that saw the ability online for players to boost jump and wall run. Some players took to this new war setting with enthusiasm, but this cannot dismiss the level of distaste that fans of the franchise were sharing online towards the futuristic direction taken by Activision.

It would be fair to say however that Sledgehammer Games did produce a good campaign that was fun to follow and play through. The online side to the game was a series starter, for sure. But, given the negative feedback from fans that roles into the millions, it was unlikely that Advanced Warfare would ever see the light of day again after the launch of Treyarch's COD game a year later.

As if Advanced Warfare wasn't enough futuristic bunny hopping and wall goofing around, now even Treyarch wants to play
As if Advanced Warfare wasn't enough futuristic bunny hopping and wall goofing around, now even Treyarch wants to play

In 2015, and Treyarch are Back to Show Sledgehammer Games How Futuristic Game Designing is Done

In 2015, Treyarch launched their third instalment for the Black Ops series, and the single player campaign is the reason people rate this game low. It sucked.

The multiplayer on Black Ops 3 however is an entirely different story, as the entire boost jumping and wall running made a return for a second COD title, and Treyarch make it look good.

The whole futuristic setting is not really a setting that I would entertain when looking for a new game to play, but this is Call of Duty, and I play Call of Duty. I guess that Advanced Warfare turned me off, but Black Ops 3 had Black Ops in the title. I cannot have been the only consumer to have bought the 2015 COD simply because it was obviously developed by Treyarch.

The ranking up in Black Ops 3 is a prime example of how a Call of Duty multiplayer should function, in promoting the idea of ranking up more, which requires playing the game more and more in order to get to those appealing prestige emblems. Its an obsession in the end, and for me, only Treyarch knows how to do it definitively.

The multiplayer gameplay and game engine was everything everyone wanted from Advanced Warfare, only Black Ops 3 didn't have the campaign, if this is a deciding factor.

Plus, Black Ops 3 has received support for the past two years, and even got a DLC zombie map pack (zombie chronicles) in the second year for the games life-cycle.

"Where's the Infinite Warfare image?" - never going to happen. But, be sure to enjoy the Modern Warfare Remastered throwback
"Where's the Infinite Warfare image?" - never going to happen. But, be sure to enjoy the Modern Warfare Remastered throwback

2016, 365 Days of Online Bliss (Thank you Raven Software)

In November 2016, Infinity Ward's Infinite Warfare released, and as an option customers could purchase the Infinite Warfare Deluxe edition, and within the deluxe edition customers would receive a copy of Modern Warfare Remastered. For those unaware of MWR, this is the remaster for 2007's Call of Duty 4.

Infinite Warfare - do NOT play INFINITE WARFARE.

Luckily for customers out and about the town checking out the latest video-games on the high street these people can save half the money when paying for the Infinite Warfare deluxe edition (in order to get Modern Warfare Remastered), as Modern Warfare Remastered can now be bought as a standalone game.

If you have £40 and want to buy a great FPS online game on the console (Xbox One or PS4), then our advice is to get yourself a standalone copy of MWR. The games engine is simply stunning, and is perhaps the closest games engine to the one that has been used for Sledgehammer Games Call of Duty: WW2 title.

Modern Warfare Remastered - a MUST own Video-Game for the Xbox One and PS4 in October, 2017

Raven Software is the latest games developer to contribute substantially to the production of the Call of Duty franchise title series by Infinity Ward, Treyarch and Sledgehammer Games. Their more prominent works for Call of Duty actually comes in the form of MWR, as they are the developer who brought the remaster to life.

Raven Software have done an astounding job in 2016 at remastering Modern Warfare (Remastered), and have kept the game freshly updated every single week. The updates happen every Friday as Raven changes the weekly warfare 'unique game mode' event. Any other big updates done by Raven for MWR are done on Tuesday's at 10AM (pacific time) or 6PM (UK time).

How Raven Software impressed the Call of Duty community in 2016/crossover 2017:

  • A true game remaster - everything about Modern Warfare Remastered screams Call of Duty 4, only the graphics are 2016 tech updated, and they have added little extras to sweeten the deal.
  • Seasonal events - this is probably the most memorable thing about MWR over the first year life-cycle, as we had winter crash for winter, daybreak for St.Patrick's day/spring, and beach bog for summer. Plus, we are expecting more to come.
  • Weekly warfare - this is an event that roles over every week on Friday when they update the playlist with a new unique game mode, replacing the one from the last week. Some cool ones include Prop Hunt (now permanent), Slasher, Mad Prop Hunt, Capture the Flag, Demolition, etc. We are expecting new ones, coming soon.
  • Supply drops - this is one of those next-generation additions to the Call of Duty franchises titles of recent that has quite frankly split the gaming community into two, with those embracing the extra in-game goodies, and then those who are bashing on the extra - stating that it is a con put there to take advantage of bad players, naive people, and overall leads to the game (supposedly) being unbalanced. Oh, it is all because of the micro-transactions that come as an option in being used to open supply drop crates (rare), but in fairness these can be earned through time grinding on the games multiplayer. Basically, defeat the system, and organically earn the depot credits required for opening rare supply drops.

© 2017 Dreammore

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