Last week, we gave gamers the option of writing a "hate editorial" concerning the industry juggernaut that is Call of Duty. Due to the number of submissions – and the special creativity of one – we've selected two to be published.
Here's the first from Joshua DeSimone. Congrats, Josh!
Let me start off by saying I don't hate the game. When I first popped CoD:MW in, I was blown away. The quality of the gameplay was there. The graphics were amazing. The feel of being on a real military battleground shone through. Most of all, though, was the cinematic storytelling the likes of which I'd never seen in a military shooter before. Who has played that game and doesn't love the infamous "sniper level," or pegging huge groups of terrorists off with 105mm cannon? It was memorable and it was amazing at the time. Many moments can be taken from either of the two sequels that give me the same chills. As someone who loves cinematics and storytelling in their games, I admire this franchise for doing something 90% of the other FPSs out there don't even attempt.
One might ask how then could I possibly hate a game I love[d] to play. I will give you the short answer: It is bad for the industry, gamers and developers alike. How can this be when it sells more than anything else out there, brings in revenue, and keeps people employed? Because it does something to the industry that the Wii is guilty of and that is bring with it the misunderstanding of the industry itself. Both CoD and the Wii have turned this industry essentially on its head by creating the biggest growth we've ever seen. The Wii alone pretty much doubled the annual revenue the game industry earns. CoD has done the same thing, but on a smaller scale and with software while the Wii did with hardware.
We are now seeing a shift again in terms of profits, and companies like THQ are going under because they can't compete with a titan like Modern Warfare. This franchise has all but made it impossible for any other shooter on the market to make any money at all. An ingenius game like Vanquish mostly goes by the boards because FPS players are too concerned with keeping their stats in MW current and ahead of the pack instead trying a game with such a unique and engrossing FPS experience. Battlefield 3 is the only one to make a dent (which I love and think is the far superior online experience by the way), but it's barely a dent, and yet EA still posted huge losses and will have to fire workers because they overspent on marketing and development of titles like this game and Star Wars: The Old Republic. EA didn't understand the impact MW has made and how chained to it multiplayer gamers truly are.
Modern Warfare represents an anamoly in this industry. It controls an actual portion of the players for two entire systems. Only World of Warcraft on the PC can rival its annual numbers. That, to me is scary. It monopolizes and trivializes the very point of this entire industry. We need variety and depth. We need to be able to make choices in our games and show companies what games we want. But when EA and Activision see the results of a game like Modern Warfare, they will always choose to publish the next big seller in the FPS market. Chrono Trigger 2 will stay buried forever because it won't sell more than a couple hundred thousand copies at best in their eyes. Entire genres such as the JRPG will be all but removed from existence because publishers believe the money is in an FPS about the american special forces.
I do not hate Modern Warfare. I hate what it does to the playing field and the truly hardcore who have stuck with these companies since 1983 or beyond are being pushed aside by gamers who aren't real gamers. It's a dangerous thing and, once these players are gone and not playing and the numbers on the revenue chart dwindle back to pre-Wii or CoD:MW sized numbers, the publishers will have to take drastic measures to cut their losses. This is good for no one involved in keeping the gaming industry alive and kicking.