With just a week left until the launch of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and all of the bad publicity the last Call of Duty got from the release of the game, Advanced Warfare had one choice, and one choice only: Be Different. What was regarded as one of the worst games in the series, right up there (or should we say down there) with Modern Warfare 3 and Black Ops, Call of Duty Ghosts fell apart under the pressure that it was challenged with to find success critically and capitalize on both a former and next generation set of consoles. After a $1 Billion Dollar payday upon release, however, things went nothing but grim from there. Ghosts not only received some of the lowest review scores in the series history, it dropped 19% in sales versus the same year-to-year comparison again Black Ops II, but on top of that has ravaged per-order sales of Advanced Warfare.
With expectations for the next iteration in the series projected as much as 40% less than that of Ghosts, Advanced Warfare, starring a new head studio in charge of producing the game is pulling out all the stops. While they couldn’t have projected the turbulent waters ahead, and started development of the game well before that could have been projected, it’s a good thing that the recipe was hit with a little spice. It’s not unprecedented, had we not seen a change, that we may not even have a yearly Call of Duty title this go-around.
It has been documented that the game features Exosuits, changes to the customization, and new abilities in the game; those represent just the beginning of what must prove to be a different title than what we have come to expect. First and foremost, finding ways to get people to care about the single player is essential to the success of the title. Kevin Spacey has been added to the title playing the President of the United States, a political roll he adheres well to after his time with House of Cards, to give a big name to bring interest. One of the biggest comparisons, from the single player, comes from Black Ops II as Advanced Warfare is predicated on a futuristic story. The good news, is that Black Ops II garnered some of the best single-player reviews of the entire series. The bad, that’s a lot to live up to.
Moving to the multiplayer, Advanced Warfare must gain traction again as the go-to first person shooter on the market. Ghosts crushed the hopes and dreams of many with unbalanced maps and poor design which frustrated to the point that the game has one of the weakest online player bases of the series. With a bevy of new options Sledgehammer knew that something had to give. Either this was going to be the same Call of Duty that we’ve seen for the last 10 years, or it was going to be a new direction for the video game juggernaut.
Advanced Warfare could have stuck to the same model, but breaking that may be the best thing for a series in desperate need of a kick-start. It will be up to the game to gain back the loyal followers. This isn’t a given for Advanced Warfighter to succeed; it is something it must work for. The upcoming launch lineup proves so, with the likes of Sunset Overdrive, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Far Cry 4, among others all coming out, hurt the chances of Advance Warfighter being as mighty as it once was. Especially with the later three listed having such solid multiplayer experiences that are gaining more and more notoriety with each passing entry.
There are some great things about Call of Duty that fans hope never change, but with Ghosts enough changed that there was not a choice but to retool the game with something that COD fans have never seen before. If any game can overcome the odds, it’s Call of Duty. It may be down some fans, but it wont take an absorbent amount to pull fans back either. With Halo, especially, the game has its hands full to make things right. In one week, Advanced Warfare must be just that… Advanced over the rest of the competition and shake the horrid taste left by its predecessor.