Call of Duty is often heralded as one of the most successful games franchises in the world – indeed, it was named the most financially successful in 2016. Not only has the game revolutionised the way multiplayer games work, the game also utilised live technology, which has been furthered by many other platforms and showcased a more cinematic style of first-person shooters. Call of Duty may not have invented the first-person shooter, but it certainly put the first-person shooter on the map. Call of Duty: WW2 will be released in November 2017, to tie in with the anniversary of Armistice Day. The game is heavily anticipated and promises to follow in the footsteps of Call of Duty’s other successes while also incorporating additional features in keeping with the growing technology in gaming.
The multiplayer beta has been active since August 2017 in order to refine the elements of the gameplay and iron out any problems ahead of launch. Developer Sledgehammer Games teased the beta test as a sneak preview of the heavily multiplayer features the game would have – and spoke of fan favourite elements such as the various matches that teams can play (Team Deathmatch, Domination, Hardpoint). The CoD multiplayer aspects were one of the first to really utilise the platforms to get players to compete with one another from all over the world. It could be argued that multiplayer PC giant Dota 2 is inspired from the cooperative nature of CoD.
The multiplayer aspect is especially influential because it showcased a live version of gaming. Everything that happened during the game was due to a live reaction from other players. The fundamentals of game design shifted as both sides (as opposed to a CPU opponent) had an impact on how the game progressed. As technology becomes even more advanced, the live capabilities are becoming gamers’ favourites. For example, Pokémon Go was so successful in part due to the live interaction with players’ surroundings and the way players could instantly change the gyms and catch the rare Pokémon. Live casino games also use live technology inspired by the likes of CoD to let players interact with live dealers in roulette or blackjack games. Seeing the dealer turn the wheel in real time in a game of Immersive Roulette aims to replicate the casino experience a player can get from the comfort of their own home.
GQ argues that Call of Duty is in part influenced by war movies in terms of pace and style of the levels. Instead of merely testing the player’s shooting ability, the games were wrapped in stories with intense graphics and dramatic sequences. This could be seen as the first of a series of war games that try to fully immerse players in the war as opposed to framing the gameplay around the shooting style. Battlefield 1, from 2016, could be said to do the same.
There is no denying Call of Duty’s massive influence in the gaming sphere, but instead of decrying its forerunners as copying the behemoth, they should instead be praised for seeing aspects that fans really want to interact with. Call of Duty will likely top sales records again this year with its WW2 release – though one of its successors could unexpectedly pip it to the post.