Call of Duty: a test of consistency

It’s starting to get a little long in the tooth.

Activision’s Call of Duty series has, in the past few years, become the game that all others look up to when comparing sales records, online following, and, well, cookie cutter games.

They’re about to be at it again this year with Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, the game’s rumored, but likely title. See, games in the franchise tend to follow a certain routine:

Every May, a new title in the series is teased, followed by a full reveal at E3 in June, for eventual release in November. It appears we’ll be following the same path this year, give or take, as rumor has it that Activision will be releasing the next game’s full name on May 1st, followed by more details the next day, and all the rest of the pertinent details at E3 in June.

Black Ops 2 will likely launch November 13th, in an attempt to eclipse Halo 4 somewhat, which lands the week before, on November 6th. Whether that will happen or not clearly remains to be seen, but we’re sure we’ll be able to find a place for both games in our hearts.

The trouble we have with the Call of Duty series, however, is that it leaves almost nothing up to the imagination. On one hand, it is based in a sort of quasi-realism of sorts, given that it takes place in the near future. But beyond that, the games follow such a predictable release schedule, that it doesn’t leave much room for the hype machine to build. Sure, the games have seen increasing sales every year since the original reboot of the franchise, with Modern Warfare back in 2007. But going forward, expect the hype to slow as the games come out at a ridiculously steady rate. A game a year just doesn’t leave enough time for gamers to get truly excited for a sequel to their favorite shooter, and while studios rotate through development duties each year to keep things on such a tight schedule, gamers aren’t built that way.

We’ll put it to you this way: remember when Rock Band and Guitar Hero came out with a new release every year for three years? How much dust is on those instruments now and when was the last time you bought a rhythm game? Case in point.

Of course, this doesn’t mean we’re not interested in seeing the game. This article is more a letter to Activision to get them thinking about just how long they can keep this up. The series has so far grossed billions of dollars, so maybe it is in their interest to milk it for as long as they can and just let it die, only to “reboot” the series in five years for fans longing for more Price and Soap MacTavish.

There is also the PlayStation Vita version of the game which is still on track for an end of year release. Will we see some CrossPlay action that lets you take your CoD on the go? If we do, the PlayStation version of the game will have a major leg up, especially if you can compete online against console versions of the game when you’re sitting at the airport.

Most, if not all, will be revealed at E3 this year, but expect the rumors to continue until then. Let’s just see how long this lasts.