The Call of Duty franchise of games has been around for quite some time. While the buzz around Modern Warfare 2 might seem like it’s the first some people have heard of the game, it’s actually the sixth game in the series! If we’re lucky, it might also be the last.
In case you haven’t been reading the gaming section of the news (OK, it doesn’t exist, but it totally should), Infinity Ward has just lost two of their head execs; Vince Zampella and Jason West. Activision supposedly originally let them go for “HR Violations and insubordination”, however when it finally made a statement regarding the firings, the company made no mention of it.
Modern Warfare 2 was the biggest launch of any form a media EVER. It’s one of the top FPS shooters of all time, and is critically lauded for (of all things in a shooter) its incredible writing. So why should I feel that it should be allowed to die? The answer is very simple: “Let’s end on a good note.”
In Activision’s official statement, it’s revealed that the next Call of Duty game will be developed by Treyarch Games. That isn’t exactly groundbreaking news, as it seems every odd numbered CoD is from them (and sucks). However what was also released was that Infinity Ward (the company that makes the good CoDs) was to hand over the reigns to Sledgehammer Game Studios to develop the next in the series . . . an “action-adventure genre” game.
Yeah. Not joking.
Industry insiders all agree that this is in line with the overall belief that Activision is planning to create a separate brand/company around the Call of Duty franchise in a similar manner to Blizzard Entertainment. Also on the radar is a new subscription based version of CoD.
So let me run a little scenario past you: You are the head of a development team that has created what many consider the crowning jewel in the FPS genre. Your game has broken every sales record for any media type worldwide. Your game is SO popular that despite loads of controversy over anything from shooting civilians to dropping your PC-based servers, people still love you and foaming over the next sequel like they have rabies or something.
One morning, you walk into a meeting with your fellow department head and are told that they want you to rework the very nature of the game to be a third-person, action-adventure game (remember that FPS stands for “First Person Shooter”). Not only that, but they’d really like it if you could do that and also make it cost $15 a month to play.
What would your response be? I could tell you mine. It’d be “insubordinate”, to say the least!
Now, I can’t claim to know exactly why these people were let go. “HR Violation” could mean they were sacrificing woodland creatures on their desks. Or it could mean they were stealing people’s lunches from the break-room fridge. Anything goes, really.
What I do know is that publicly axing two of the heads of the team in one breath and telling the world they’re changing the focus of the game in the next is a bit like Activision punching someone’s sainted aunt. Twice.