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Call of Duty, Infinty Ward, and Charlie Zombies

Up until recent events, it seemed that it was pretty popular to be an "Infinity Ward fan" while not necessarily being a "Call of Duty fan". Now I understand that the reasoning behind this is that poeple love to hate Activision, or more specifically, Bobby Kotick, and I don't blame them one bit. EA was once the "evil empire", but after a few years of less sequels, more new IP's and just a general makeover in public opinion, EA has successfully found themselves back in gamer's good graces. Activision on the other hand, doesn't seem to give a damn what anybody thinks about them, especially their customers.

I myself am a "Call of Duty fan". I am probably one of the few people that feel like the Call of Duty series has only gotten better with each new installment. The first time I played the original Call of Duty, I liked it, but I wasn't blown away by it. Then CoD2 for Xbox360 came along and I was officially "blown away". The graphics, the sound, the gameplay, the "wow" moments, all these things really drew me into the game world.

Next came CoD3 which, while obviously not a giant leap over CoD2, it did improve on the CoD2 formula incrementally, which is better than not being as good. Then came CoD4:Modern Warfare, which was a giant leap over it's predecessor. Not to mention it drug the series out of WWII and into modern times, which was a huge breath of fresh air. CoD4 was the first CoD game that really got me into the muliplayer and managed to pull me away from Halo3 for a while.

Next came Call of Duty:World at War, one of my favorite CoD games, and a game that continues to be particularly divisive. I personally feel like CoD:WaW is second only to Modern Warfare 2 as an overall package, and second to none in terms of single player campaign. I also feel like, while Spec-Ops is a very cool idea, it was inferior to WaW's "Nazi Zombie" mode in execution. Not offering matchmaking for Spec-Ops was a huge mis-step by Infinity Ward. Not getting new Spec-Ops missions as DLC also left me scratching my head.

Finally we have Modern Warfare 2, which we all know how amazing it is, even if everyone seems to have jumped on the Battlefield bandwagon lately. I have already played more Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer in the few months that it's been out, than almost any other game ever. Modern Warfare 2, like World at War before it, is a masterful refinement of the formula that is the Call of Duty series. Love it or hate it, Call of Duty isn't going anywhere for quite a while, which brings me to my next point.

Popular opinion these days is that, given the firing of Infinity Ward founders Jason West and Vince Zampella, and the fact that Infinity Ward seems to be hemorrhaging veteran personnel, the Call of Duty franchise is doomed. Personally, I see this as an opportunity for us, as gamers, to end up with two world class game franchises. I seriously doubt that everyone that works at Infinity Ward is gonna leave, hell I'd be shocked if even half of them left. So that leaves us with alot of Infinity Ward employees to make future Call of Duty games. While at the same time we have Respawn Entertainment which will have, I'm sure, at least some of those veteran Infinity Ward guys making games.

Just because key people leave a team, it doesn't always spell doom for the future of that team. look at God of War, every game in that series has been headed up by someone different and they've all been great. Honestly, I think people want to see Call of Duty and Infinity Ward fail because they want to see Activision fail. And that's not fair to all the people that work their asses off to make these games. Like everyone else, I was really down on Activision when the news of Jason and Vince being fired broke, and for the most part, I still am. Activision handled this whole thing very poorly and now they are paying the price. But we have to remember that every corporation has execs like the ones at Activision, they just don't all talk as much. But it's the people making the games that we have to think about, they are the ones that need our support, and they should get it if they continue to put out great games.

So ultimately I think that things will work out for both sides. The guys and gals at Infinity Ward that love doing Call of Duty and Modern Warfare will probably get the chance to step up and play a larger role in the future of those franchises, and all the folks that are sick of doing those games can move on to Respawn or where ever and make something new that they are passionate about. Not to mention we still have Treyarch making fantastic CoD games. I personally can't wait to see the setting of the next CoD game from Treyarch, and especially what the new "Zombie" mode will be. I was watching "Apocalypse Now" just yesterday and, although I realize that war was pretty controversial even to this day, from a gameplay perspective I think it would make a great CoD game.

"Charlie Zombies" anyone?