It’s Time To Break The Call Of Duty Franchise Up

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That’s right we said it!!  The “Call of Duty” prefix was removed in relation to Modern Warfare 2, it’s just Modern Warfare 2. This got us to wondering why would you remove the COD prefix, after all its one of the most recognizable game brands in the history of gaming. Also not to be nit picky or anything but how can it technically be a sequel without the COD part. I mean I understand dropping the numbers because if they intend to keep the series going for a while it could start to get ridiculous, can you imagine COD 10? So that made sense to me, you make it just COD and whatever the name of the game is. By removing the COD prefix it seems that the folks at Infinity Ward or maybe Activision-Blizzard  have a very different vision for their part of the franchise.

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Is it time for a split?

So for those of you that don’t know, COD is actually made by two different developing houses, Infinity Ward did the first two, then Treyarch did COD3 and they have been rotating ever since. As far as I know there was no real reason given as to why they went to the two developer model, and while the core game and engine are the same there is a big difference. In my opinion, the problems started with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Originally, Infinity Ward was met with extreme criticism for taking the series into the future and out of the WWII era, but you can’t argue with success and a success it was. Call of Duty 4 would go on to sell more than 10 million copies worldwide and become the most successful game in the franchise to date. So what’s the problem, the problem is how do you top the masterpiece that was COD4, you don’t. While I thought that COD: WAW (COD5) was excellent and in fact we gave it a 5/5, because you have to judge each game independently, but compared to COD4 it was lacking.

Now, we must account for the fact that it seems that Treyarch got the short end of the stick as far as time periods. By taking COD into the future, Infinity ward instantly appealed to way more people and were then free to make a game that would be more compelling because it could be tied closer to more recent events and could introduce weapons and capabilities that were just impossible to do in the WWII era. So to Treyarch’s credit they do a good job with what they have to work with but once you make a game like COD: MW, there truly is no going back.  In fact, I don’t think that Infinity Ward could make a WWII set COD and have fans take to it the way they have to the MW installments.You combine that with the fact that Infinity Ward created COD and that no one will ever know the nuances of it like they do and you have a nasty combination of things against Treyarch.

So where does that leave us? There is nothing official out of Activision-Blizzard that this is even a problem but the dropping of the prefix says something undeniable to us. It could be that they are intending to spin the MW piece off into its own franchise developed exclusively by Infinity Ward. They could be trying to separate the brands so that people stop comparing them to each other which really isn’t fair to do. Activision-Blizzard owns both development houses so in the end they will have the final say. At this point, I have more questions than answers but hopefully over the next few months we will get some more answers. Would it even be possible to have a Modern Warfare series and then a Call of Duty series? Technically, yes since there are no true canonical issues in the COD series because each game is really independent of the other in storyline and really only share the name. Since MW2 is the first direct sequel in the series they could do it with every MW title going forward and perhaps Treyarch could then do the same with the COD part of the series.

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Could they announce something like this at E3?

This scenario presents a lot of issues such as could you have a COD and a MW out in the same year, probably not as they would eat into each others market. When you look at it though the stage is set perfectly for something like this to happen, they all ready each come out basically every other year so the development houses won’t have to change their cycles (apparently COD7 is already in the works by Treyarch). In looking at it from a business standpoint as well as what’s good for us gamers I think it could be very beneficial to split the series for all the reasons I have mentioned above. It would give both Infinity Ward and Treyarch a chance to then take their respective brands where they saw fit and create the kind of epic storylines that we have never seen in games like this because a single timeline has never been taken this far before.

This way each would then have to stand on its own, now folks at Infinity Ward wouldn’t have to be upset like I am sure some of them were when some people said that WAW wasn’t as good as it could have been. So if its true as a lot of people believe that the Treyarch installments have been the weaker of the series, a split might really force Treyarch to step their game up which is also good for us gamers. Could an announcement of this very fact be coming at E3, we don’t know but nothing would surprise us at this point.We think that splitting them is the best thing to do because you can still get a title out every year. If they wait and Infinity Ward continues in the modern era, you could risk damaging the COD brand due to comparisons and then you might have to end the WWII part of the series and just continue on with the MW piece. For Activision-Blizzard it should be simple math and two games are always better than one at least from a financial standpoint.

We want to hear from you though, the fans of the franchise.  The people who have spent hundreds of hours on these games just like we have. What do you think should happen? Should they split them?

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Lorenzo Winfrey

Lorenzo Winfrey

Editor-In-Chief at ZoKnowsGaming
I am the Co-Ceo of DLT Digital Media. We are a company that is focused on developing new and innovative web properties in addition to developing WordPress based web sites for others. But before I was all that, I was a gamer.
Lorenzo Winfrey