If there was ever a piece of news that detractors of the Call of Duty series were looking for to fuel their fires, this might be one of them. Speaking to Official Xbox Magazine, Infinity Ward’s studio executive Mark Rubin explained that the series’ popularity in the competitive gaming scene is what’s holding back potential gameplay changes in future titles.
When prodded on about the emphasis on tournament play and gamers needing consistency;
There is the obvious truth that if this were football, and next year they decided we only want seven players a side and you can use your hands, I don’t think people would want to go to many of those games. So we can’t change too many of the core rules, and the core rules are really simple. You’re a player, it’s in first-person, you have a weapon in your hand and you run around shooting other people.
The article does go on to mention the external changes outside of the core gameplay (including the additions of Squads and new multiplayer game modes), but the reasoning behind the repetition just doesn’t make any sense.
Major League Gaming (MLG) continues to add each annual update of the Activision-based Call of Duty series because Activision pays them to be added to their roster. Yes, there are some big money tournaments involved, but they pale in comparison to the eSport juggernauts of Starcraft II, Dota II and League of Legends that are generated naturally through fan involvement. Their insistence to get financially integrated in the competitive gaming arena is on them.
Each Call of Cuty game doesn’t have a chance to become one of those big players in the eSport community because of their insistence of updating the series every year. If it doesn’t have a plan of staying around as the most recent edition for at least two years, each new game will be dropped the following year, which really hurts the ability to grow a dedicated following. It’s reasoning like that which is why Counterstrike does so well in competitive play.
Infinity Ward are under the impression they don’t need to change their games because the market doesn’t force them to change. Even if it’s same point-and-shoot play that it has been for years, the fans continue to buy into the series in an incremental basis. Now, with Call of Duty: Ghosts becoming a launch title for next-gen and also coming out to current-gen consoles, the opportunity for significant profit will continue for at least another year. Even if play feels stagnant to some, the series creators certainly won’t that way for quite some time.