I remember getting off the landing craft in Stalingrad, boarding a ship via helicopter under the cover of a stormy night in the Bering Strait, and escaping from a Japanese POW camp in the Pacific. I remember the campaigns of old, the semi-realism, the groundbreaking mechanics, because they were damn fun.
Now it seems like playing through a Call of Duty campaign is a chore, but soon I won’t have to worry about giving another one a chance considering that Black Ops IV won’t even offer that experience.
A Long Time Coming
Let’s be honest here, we knew this was coming eventually. The developers have long acknowledged that few of their core audience bother with the story in first-person shooters like Call of Duty or Battlefield. Most people just jump straight into the multiplayer, but there’s nothing wrong with that.
The truth is, I haven’t felt all that invested in a storyline for Call of Duty since World at War. Some have come close, but there’s just too much BS funneled into the experience that it’s hard to want to keep going. I’ve rented Call of Duty WWII and Modern Warfare Remastered recently, and while I initially had an intense wave of nostalgia wash over me when jumping into Soap’s shoes again, it just didn’t stick with me. I honestly felt like the return to WWII might have been just the right thing for me, but there’s just too much crap they tried to force in.
The previous Call of Duty games that took place in WWII seemed to be far more grounded, telling a story about common soldiers who just had to get through hell in one piece. They were just cogs in the machine of war, but Call of Duty WWII squandered that in favor of the trademark bombastic set pieces that have become the norm now. It’s the reason that so many people have mocked the train derailment scene.
It’s like Sledgehammer looked at Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers and thought, “what if Michael Bay made those?” They had the chance to bring something original to the table too, but instead decided that a return to Normandy was worth it. Nevermind how the mission itself didn’t have near the same impact as the iterations that came before (Medal of Honor: Frontline came out almost around the same time as Saving Private Ryan after all).
Aside from that, you end up surviving astronomical odds stacked against you, like falling multiple stories inside a church and going toe-to-toe, alone, against German Panzers in a Sherman light tank.
I know, I know. I’m nitpicking. It’s just that I’m tired of that against all odds drivel, even in my guilty pleasure games. It doesn’t feel like I’m actually surviving from my own abilities, but rather that the deck is stacked massively in my favor.
Don’t even get me started on German soldiers carrying Russian weapons. And don’t give me that “well some Germans captured those guns in WWII!” There’s no way Germans were transferred from the Eastern Front to Europe, and there’s no way they’d manufacture Russian cartridges. It’s a load of crap, and you’re wrong.
Activision may have finally pulled the plug on singleplayer for Call of Duty, but it isn’t like we’re going to be seriously missing out on anything. I personally lost interest in Black Ops with the announcement of Black Ops 2‘s setting in the near future. The only reason I owned the original was to play with Xbox Live friends who have since had a falling out with each other, and chose to cut ties with me as well. I loved the time period that Treyarch chose, but quickly lost interest with the conspiracy-laden narrative they spun up.
I knew that Activision was hard at work penning Call of Duty‘s epitaph when Ghosts released with the Extinction mode; the Infinity Ward iteration of the stupendously popular Nazi Zombies from Treyarch’s games. I’ve never understood the fascination with the zombie modes, but I do remember quite well how often young kids would come in asking for Black Ops so they could play the zombies portion of the game, and incessantly inquiring about other titles in the series, and whether or not those games had zombies too.
The Future Of Call Of Duty
Now that every Call of Duty game has zombies, and each game is a runaway success despite negative attention, I think that it’s safe to say that Activision is hard at work trying to squeeze every drop of blood from that particular stone. It seems blatantly obvious that Activision is dead-set on cashing in on every trend, like so many others these days.
After all, Black Ops IV is slated to not only be going all-multiplayer, but also locking the DLC in the season pass (which is currently only available in special editions of the game), including a tacked-on battle royale mode, and ripping off Rainbow Six Siege‘s operators. Not having a campaign is the least of gamers’ problems with Call of Duty.
I’m not sure I expected much better from the company that considered dropping loot boxes in a WWII battlefield as a social experience. All I know is that while I’m sad that I won’t gain any more fond memories of the franchise, I at least know I’m not missing out on anything yet to come.
What’s your take on Call of Duty finally cutting the cord on singleplayer? Is it a loss worth lamenting over, or is it just another expected casualty of gaming?
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