The Call of Duty franchise has been under heavy fire in recent years, after upsetting many long-time fans of the popular shooter series with its shift towards a more futuristic setting. Fans have also been aggravated by the continued implementation of the "supply-drop" system, which allows players to use real money to purchase in-game loot boxes, which have a chance of yielding rare cosmetic items or new weapons.
The increasing frustration of the fans culminated last year in a huge backlash against the latest installment in the Call of Duty franchise, "Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare". The game rocketed past the previous games' shift to a more futuristic setting, by literally launching players into an interstellar space war.
Understandably, many fans saw the new setting and revolted, as most had been hoping for a gritty, grounded, and gruesome return to the franchise's roots. Instead they got more jetpacks, yay...
After #InfiniteWarfare's huge backlash, in which its reveal trailer accumulated over 3 million dislikes, DICE came out and announced #Battlefield1, the latest addition to Call of Duty's biggest rival. DICE went in the opposite direction to Infinity Ward, and instead of launching Battlefield into space, they decided to throw it into a flux capacitor and drive it straight back into the chaos of World War 1, much to the delight of those dismayed by the seemingly endless years of futuristic shooter releases.
Shooter fans rejoiced at the news that the Battlefield 1 would finally take them back to warfare as it should be, with bolt-action rifles, bombers, and brutal trench combat. The dramatic shift in popularity to the Battlefield franchise led to an apology to investors by the COO of Activision, Thomas Tippl, in which he said:
However, sales underperformed our expectations, and it’s clear that for a portion of our audience the space setting just didn’t resonate.
It's clear that, in order to survive in the long run, Call of Duty will need to change, and one recent leak has suggested that it may do just that.
Back To Square One
A number of images supposedly leaked from a source in contact with Sledgehammer Games. They suggest that Call of Duty will follow in the footsteps of Battlefield 1 and release a game set during World War 2.
More of the leaked photos can be seen here, and they depict both promotional posters and potential box art for the unconfirmed game.
Though many fans will breathe a sigh of relief for the long-awaited return to Call of Duty's roots, there are still many things to take into account. What could a return to World War 2 mean for the Call of Duty franchise?
A Gritty Campaign
In its earliest installments, the Call of Duty franchise dealt with the hard-hitting setting of World War 2, putting players into the shoes of various soldiers fighting against the Nazis. The games were packed with bloodshed and brutality, and gave a real insight into the horrors of war.
However, players lost interest in the game's campaigns in later years, which became more and more detached from their original storytelling as the developers became more focused on the online experience. Therefore, one thing which a return to Call of Duty's roots may mean is that fans once again get to play through a meaningful singleplayer campaign, experiencing a truly horrifying perspective of soldiers fighting through one of history's bloodiest wars.
If the game moves in that direction, there's certainly the potential for some old fan-favorite characters to resurface. In particular, it wouldn't be surprising if Viktor Reznov made a glorious return, after already doing so once in Call of Duty: Black Ops, after his original appearance in World at War.
A World War 2 setting would certainly open an avenue for Reznov to once again appear in the game, and his appearance alone would undoubtedly sell a lot of copies, particularly for nostalgic fans who miss charging into the fire of battle with the intimidating sergeant, for the glory of Mother Russia!
Could Nazi Zombies Make A Return?
One of the things that made Call of Duty: World at War so popular was its new and exciting zombies mode, in which groups of up to four players could fight off the undead horde across a selection of maps. The mode became so popular that it received its own DLC maps, alongside being featured in many of the later Call of Duty games.
However, the newer editions of the zombies mode haven't been able to fully replicate that first feeling of fighting off endless brain-hungry Nazis, who relentlessly tried to rip down your barricades and crawl into your bunker.
If Call of Duty returned to World War 2, it could let players try those maps once again, giving them a nostalgic kick and redeeming the franchise's reputation. Make it happen Sledgehammer!
Why Is That Gun Pink? This Is A WAR!
One major change if Call of Duty returned to World War 2 would certainly be the range of cosmetic skins they offered to players. In recent installments, players have been able to adorn their guns with crazy "camouflages", from bubblegum pink paint to diamond-encrusted exteriors.
Now of course, there's no problem with this in the futuristic installments. And no, there's nothing wrong with wanting your gun to be bright pink. However, if the setting is World War 2, then Call of Duty will definitely have to tone it down with the range colors they offer.
Of course, skins of all types will definitely still be a thing, because Activision makes too much money selling skins to just give it up. However, the range of colors available will probably just be restricted to certain varieties of camouflage, with a few other options thrown in.
Toning down the garish colors of the skins is also more of a mark of respect to those who fought in World War 2. Call of Duty is just a game of course, but when dealing with wars which actually happened, it's still important to be respectful. Staying true to the original colors of World War 2 equipment and uniforms is, therefore, very important, and not only shows respect to veterans, but is more immersive for the player.
Could The Past Be The Future Of Call of Duty?
For Call of Duty to succeed in taking fans back to its roots, it will have to change a lot about the newer formula for the game, that much is obvious. For years now, fans have been yearning to experience the World War 2 setting again, a setting which tells the ultimate story of good versus evil in the face of insurmountable odds.
By returning to World War 2, Sledgehammer Games could really cement their position as a trusted Call of Duty developer, after their first entry into the franchise, Advanced Warfare, introduced the highly controversial and generally hated supply drop system.
By taking fans back to the grittier, boots on the ground Call of Duty they remember, they can revive their reputation, as well as bolster sales once fans relive their joyous nostalgia of the early days of the franchise. Hopefully Sledgehammer is up to the task to return Call of Duty to its former glory, rather than letting it remain as the laughing stock of gamers everywhere.
Would you like to see Call of Duty return to World War 2? And what changes would you like to see? Let us know in the comments!
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Would you like to play on the original Nazi Zombies maps again?
[Image Via zombie.wikia.com]