If there's one thing we've learned this generation, it's that the video game industry continues to grow, flex, and alter at blinding speed. What was commonly accepted even a few years ago is now extremely rare, and the mainstream blockbuster has now become a standard trend, as it is in Hollywood.
For the time being, with 20+ million copies sold with every new installment (or so it seems to be), the Call of Duty franchise reigns supreme. The fans are happy. They get another installment every year; it's not a drastically different entry and that's exactly what they want. Now, there was a time when Final Fantasy fans felt something very similar when a new FF was on the horizon: that new title wasn't an annual event, of course, but it was guaranteed quality of a certain kind. It would have sky-high production values, a great story, and a style of RPG combat that we knew we would love.
And then Final Fantasy XIII happened, and there's no going back. There's nothing wrong with FFXIII – I've said that before – but it's definitely a very different experience. In truth, with the advancing industry, what franchise has remained exactly as it was, even only 5 years ago? Now, while the mainstream is easily satisfied and Activision is more likely to stick with a winning formula, there will come a day when the accepted CoD formula will have to change. Would you like to know how it's going to happen, faithful CoD followers? I can explain it in vivid detail:
There will come a time when the developer – be it Infinity Ward or Treyarch or whoever – says something like, "we want to redefine the series." Or perhaps they'll use the word "evolve" or "reboot." And then they'll give us a little peek, and something will be very, very different… And then the fans will freak out and everyone will run back to Modern Warfare 3 'cuz the next CoD "just isn't gonna be CoD." How many times have fans said that about their favorite franchise? You don't honestly believe CoD is completely immune, do you? Granted, it'll continue on with the same formula for a while, but oh…how quickly things change.
And when that "new" CoD is suddenly sci-fi-based, or stealth becomes a factor, or half the game is dominated by vehicles, or it starts stealing from "Star Wars" (oh, who knows what might happen?), the Final Fantasy fans will get their chance to laugh. We'll all ask- "How's it feel? Welcome to the club. …we've been waiting for you."