I've been a fan of Call of Duty for quite a while, though perhaps not as long as some. I've played nearly everything in the main series from CoD2 to Modern Warfare 2 and beaten them all on Hardened (can't get 1 or UO to work on my Win7 rig, nor on Vista before it). The games impress me for the sheer level of absolute balls-to-the-wall chaos and tense action. However, one thing about CoD has always annoyed the ever loving fuck out of me. It's not the overly amped up machismo of the whole affair, or the infinitely respawning enemies or the questionable friendly AI. No, it's something more insidious and annoying.
The Infinity Ward fanboys.
Now for those of you who don't know, Infinity Ward started the Call of Duty series in October 2003. However, even from the beginning, there were many studios involved with Call of Duty. Gray Matter Interactive developed the United Offensive expansion pack and worked with Treyarch on Big Red On before being merged into Treyarch at the end of that game's development. Of course, before Big Red One, there was Finest Hour, developed by Spark Unlimited, who as far as I know, never made another CoD game again due to FH being wholly lackluster. There are many other spinoffs, but it's not them that made the Infinity Ward worship so annoying.
See, it all starts with Call of Duty 3. The first CoD game developed since the merger with Gray Matter, Call of Duty 3 introduced the beginnings of the more character-oriented narrative that we see in the series today (the previous games had just had documentary pieces after each of the campaigns), was the first where you could cook off grenades, or pick up and throw back grenades. It was also the first and only title in the main series not to appear on the PC.
Now, having enjoyed the game much more than CoD2, I dismissed the rage of the community as simply PC gamers whining that the game didn't go on their platform (PC gamers tend to look down on console gamers, after all). It wasn't until World at War, a game I preferred over Modern Warfare, that I started seeing just what the Treyarch hate had morphed into. People were talking about how much worse the levels were, how lacking the multiplayer was; they were even criticized for including the Nazi Zombies mini-game after the end of the main campaign. You know it's bad when the fanboys are blasting you for adding extra stuff.
Then Modern Warfare comes out, with only the wholly lackluster two-player Spec Ops mode for those of us who loved the 4-player campaign co-op and Nazi Zombies mode from World at War, a glitch-riddled competitive multiplayer suite and an at-times nonsensical story in single player. This game, inferior in nearly every way to World at War, was fawned on by media and fans alike, everyone seeming to turn a blind eye at the game's faults.
Now there's obviously going to be differences in tastes, and World at War being a World War II game may have rubbed some people the wrong way. However, this cannot explain why everyone, from the lowliest forum troll to the most respective games journalist, was so eager to push aside all the issues with Modern Warfare 2, even when they were so willing to make up issues for World at War (“it's too safe,” “it's too gory,” etc.)
Now let's be clear, it's not like I don't get fanboys. Be it Nintendo vs Sony vs Microsoft, Democrats vs Republicans, or Burger King vs McDonald's, fanboys have been swinging off the nuts of one company or the other since before I was born and will likely continue to do so long after I die. However, the Infinity Ward thing just irks the fuck out of me. We all buy games from many different publishers and developers every single year. Well, most of us do, but we all know Nintendo fans. Anyway, the rest of us all buy games from many different publishers and developers every year. We've also bought games in a single series that have gone from developer to developer since the IP is owned by a publisher. However, this only seems to be unacceptable when it comes to Treyarch making Call of Duty games. I'm not sure why this company has earned the legion of mouth-breathing fanboys it has. Even before the MW2 layoffs and resignations, IW didn't exactly care much for community outreach like Bungie does. They don't have decades of nostalgia behind them like Nintendo. They haven't made a lot of games (in fact, IW itself has only made four – Call of Duty 1, 2, 4 and MW2).
This isn't to say that I dislike Infinity Ward's games, or that I don't look forward to what Respawn is going to bring to the table. However, I wish people would stop hating on Treyarch. They make good games, and deserve some love for all their efforts. Save the hate for the crappy Wiiware shovelware developers that the Bombcast so deliciously mocks.