Call of Duty: Treyarch Are The New Standard, Infinity Ward Are Dying
Call of Duty has been one of the staples of the current generation. Its meteoric rise from simple World War II shooter up to Modern Warfare monster was a shock to many but an impressive one nonetheless. Creators of the Call of Duty series, Infinity Ward, were once the brains behind the advances, making other shooters on home consoles pale in comparison. But soon after this rise, the public image of the series dwindled. Why did this happen? A lack of innovation and forward thinking seems to be the first thing that comes to mind. Not all of the games were stagnant, Treyarch, the secondary team behind COD, created games that changed the game for the better, only to be shot down.
Infinity Ward brought COD into the age of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 with a bang. The move from World War II into the modern day setting brought in millions more players and helped make the newest consoles on the block more mainstream. This was the first of a few changes that the new generation brought. Multiplayer was another great change, with it being one of the defining additions to gaming and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was the first to capture the delicate mode for console gamers. With COD games being pushed every year, the games were split between IW and Treyarch. Infinity Ward were dropped into the Modern Warfare games permanently while Treyarch were bringing out games with major variety. Modern Warfare was followed by a direct sequel and another, the third suffering from the departure of many stalwart developers after the dispute with the franchise’s publisher, Activision, leading to it being co-developed with Sledgehammer Games. Modern Warfare featured giant set pieces which were often heart pounding but felt like they had no real soul to them. The games had no purpose but to be churned out every two years.
Treyarch brought out their first true next generation game with Call of Duty: World at War, another World War II game (yes, I do know that they released COD 3 on the PS3 and 360 but that was before the first Modern Warfare game, where the series truly became next gen). It isn’t an insult to say “another World War II game” anymore folks as, using the mighty power available to the devs, Treyarch introduced gritty reality which made the horrors of war very visceral. In addition, Treyarch ingeniously added a Zombie Mode into the game. This mode crossed the dark tone of the main game with the fantastical into a fun little addition. What was not expected, I am sure, was how big this mode was to become. Three new maps were released for WaW, each making the Zombies mode grow and grow. Treyarch’s next effort, Black Ops, ventured into the territory of Vietnam. Incorporating many new parts into the familiar gameplay. To try to balance multiplayer, the developers added in COD points, a currency which was used to buy guns and perks. Including the currency led to Contracts, a group of missions for you to achieve for more points and the Wager Matches, a group of more arcade style modes where players bet a certain number of points on coming in the top three. Gun Game, a mode where the players move up a different weapon for each kill they get; One in the Chamber, where players get one bullet to kill enemies and every kill grants another bullet but with a limited number of lives; Sticks and Stones, each player gets a tomahawk which demotetes the player’s score to zero and a crossbow which gets the most points and lastly Sharpshooter, a mode which tasks players with gaining as many kills with a randomly spawned weapon which changes every 45 seconds. These added to the fun of running and gunning that Call of Duty had done so well in previous iterations. Customization was a feature that changed the series up with various red dot sights, face camo, gun camo and much more. COD Points were dropped for future games but many features stayed. These features were just a handful of the many features that Treyarch brought to COD, there are many more that haven’t been mentioned.
Clearly there is an overwhelming difference in contribution to the series from each developer. IW even tried to emulate one of Treyarch’s additions, Zombies, with their Survival Mode. There is clear indications that the creators of the video game series are losing their touch. Up next in the series is the first PS4 and Xbox One version, called Ghosts, which has main features including a canine companion (I know, completely unheard of!) and fish… THAT MOVE. Yes. Meanwhile, Treyarch have released a new, very cinematic teaser for their finale to their intelligent Zombies storyline. Check it out below:
Infinity Ward seem to be unable to innovate their own franchise anymore. Treyarch are becoming more and more capable at carrying this franchise to where it needs to go to combat the rise of EA and the Battlefield games.
Will Infinity Ward last much longer? Should Treyarch be given completely free reign on the franchise or even their own IP?