Call of duty, well enough said – those 3 words alone would normally send a warm blooded sense of uncontrollable excitement down the spine of almost every gamer on the planet. Call of Duty, or as it is known in the workplace COD, is a phenomenon of marketing genius, software and gaming innovation and possibly one of the best selling series of all time. The title remains a force to be reckoned with amongst the gaming community – blood driven crowds and hardcore gamers a constant site to witness at every major launch. Call of Duty has nevertheless been an influential series, a controversial series and a lucrative money making series. Upon its 2003 launch the title, Call of Duty, brought major traffic and interest back into the previously stale offices of Activision and Infinity Ward. With the release of the next DLC for Blacks Ops 2, Uprising is proving extremely popular we have come to ask, is it worth it? So far nearly every title of COD has indulged in extra download content, but is it now becoming a Divine right that every COD game receives and abundance of DLC to boost Activision’s piggy bank or do gamers and Activision feel that these are genuinely a step towards gaming innovation?
The series provided a breath of fresh air into the stagnated and slightly tedious gaming market that had been present prior to the likes of Call of Duty and other FPS. Infinity Ward, the developers behind Call of Duty’s most famous titles, originally found themselves working for the other side. Formed by 22 members of the 2015 Inc. developers team that EA hired to produce Medal of Honour: Allied Assault, only months later would they quit and form Infinity Ward. The game they created was astounding, and Infinity War realised this, but so did the competition. Activision approached Infinity Ward in 2003 to conjure up an attempt to battle Medal of Honour, with a brand named – Call of Duty. The original title became a world wide franchise, and Activision raked in on the profitable lover gamers had for realistic war like gaming. Call of Duty and others like Medal of Honour would become household titles, the games mostly centring around World War 2, an occasional trip to Cold War Russia or the USA was sometimes noted. It boasts the lack of ‘gimmicks’ for its apparent success, but so far every Call of Duty released within the last 2 years has seen a bloated line up of extra DLC content, at a price that would feed a starving family in the Middle East. Not too gimmicky.
Call of Duty’s first launch in 2003 was named Call of Duty: FInest Hour. Featuring completely new campaigns, fighting modes and effects, Call of Duty: Finest Hour would receive several updates in its lifetime and would in some ways bring the game a completely new game, not just hyped up extras. The United Offensive DLC would be released a whole year later and would be more than just a tweak here and there. Nevertheless Call of Duty would be limited by the consoles of the day, therefore more effort was placed in Call of Duty 2 to improve performance and ensure graphical realism. Activision and Infinity War had a good start for their franchise – and with new consoles on the horizon, the extra power would push COD to the next level. Call of Duty 2 would ironically, however, still be launched on the original Xbox and PS2, rather than the new Xbox 360. Following the slightly strange uptake of COD 2 with the Xbox 360, Activision brought in developers from Treyarch to produce a title for the 360, and ever since has been like an adopted foster parent to the brand; hopping in when needed to give Infinity Ward a break.
Call of Duty would become a complete dominant force in the gaming market, its games an icon for aspiration of many other developers. All the time Activision and Co. have enjoyed the plunders of profitable sales that the series has provided. Treyarch would take on another role in the years to come and would work hand in hand with Infinity Ward on some titles. They were even allowed off the leash, once in a little while, to wholly produce their own version of Call of Duty, such as Black Ops and World at War. Call of Duty would change in the next iteration of the game, COD 3 would bring the DLC we all have grown to love or hate to the mass market. Activision would set up a release cycle so frequent it would be a task enjoy the last release before the next launch. Each download featured a single map and was priced at a hefty 800 Microsoft Points ($10), the first “Champs” was released in January 2007, 3 months after the global launch.
Call of Duty had possibly just reached a new level of gaming, the franchise and story line well established among the minds of gamers. In the later half of 2007, Infinity Ward unveiled their newest and record breaking start to the Modern Warfare series, to the enthusiasm of gamers and the dismay of the bank balance. The follow up to Call of Duty Modern Warfare would be Treyarch’s highly popular and successful, World at War. So far most of Call of Duty has situated around world war 2, with exception of Modern Warfare. World at War, featured an entirely new mode – Zombies and now the gamer could fight off a hoard of screaming undead after they we exhausted the campaign. The following year, in 2009, would see Treyarch release a flood of map packs – free to PC, but at a cost of $10 each on PS3 and Xbox 360.
Activision has had a stint, longer than time with Call Of Duty. The original release in 2003 has now seen over 8 official titles launched, with substantial addons and extras also available. Each with their own community and cult surrounding the capturing story lines. Call of Duty has for years set the benchmark for game developers and during recent launch weeks can be the only game seen to be played on any console. Call of Duty remains one of the worlds most played games but now has stiff competition from the likes of Battlefield and Medal of Honour. Every release of Call of Duty has had its ups and downs – misguided advertising and false claims haven’t been uncommon. Every release of COD receives its fair share of DLC – these add functionality and normally a few extra maps; but is this just a money making scheme, established by Activision to milk the franchise or a true exhibit of gaming innovation and progress. We know that Call of Duty is likely to be reaching the end of its bumpy and lucrative road shortly. It is rumoured that only a couple more of the highly popular titles will be released. With Activision scared of the uncertainty of a business model without COD – their only assurance in success and strength is to continue with incremental and frustrating updates. Yet some argue that these offer games added benefits, after you’ve completed the campaign and prestiged3 times over – you need new content. The map packs offer a new exploration into the world of Call of Duty – and in some cases describe the story even more. The announcement of a Season Pass in Modern Warfare 3 proved popular with gamers, who believed they could save some of their hard earned cash. However after recently pondering the thought of buying one myself realised that the Season Pass only favours those who would buy such liability outright at the same time of purchasing the game. Several months down the line you may find yourself paying for content at a ‘ reduced price’ but actually only receive one or two downloads.
Either way, the latest DLC -Uprising will be a success. It brings new Zombie maps, Mob of the Dead, new modes, and multiplayer functionality. Magma, Encore and Vertigo as well as Studio are the latest multiplayer features that arrived on the 16th April – all Treyarch’s new attempt to make gaming unique and genuine. We want your opinion on Call of Duty and the DLC schedule. Leave you comments below, is DLC a money maker or gaming innovation? Thanks for reading