My first experience with the Call Of Duty series was Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. It was immersive and intriguing, and I absolutely loved playing both as a grunt in the US Marine Corps and an elite member of the British Special Air Service. I particularly enjoyed the Marine sections, because sometimes, it's nice to play as an ordinary hero, instead of a near-superhuman with almost unbelievable capabilities.
But as the series continued, it moved farther and farther from its roots, putting players in increasingly powerful shoes. Advanced Warfare and Black Ops 3 even went as far as giving the player exosuits and technopathic abilities, respectively. And that leads in to my first request.
1. Give Us Some Time as an Average Soldier
Yes, I'm fully aware the game is set in space. But that doesn't mean everyone is an elite, bleeding-edge operator. I'm not saying we can't ever play that role in the game, but let us spend some time as your average Stormtrooper, too. It can be pretty thrilling in-game to play a character who's "expendable", because there's no guarantee they'll make it to the end. Make the dangerous moments actually feel dangerous. On that note...
2. Scale It Up
One of the coolest things about the early Call of Duty games is how they immersed you in truly massive battles. You landed on beaches next to hundreds of troops, or roped in to cities among dozens of other helicopters. Most games in the series have had one here or there, but it feels more like your squad against an army. That's decent, but it doesn't fill the player with the awe they had. Infinite Warfare's trailer suggested that this is an interplanetary war, so show it. Not just a dozen ships, but hundreds, with thousands and thousands of troops. Not every battle has to be enormous, but give us that sense of scale, or the vastness of space will make this conflict, and the game, feel very insignificant. Speaking of space...
3. Take Us Off The Rails
The last few Call of Duty games have included sections that allow players to fly aircraft, which would be really cool if they weren't the video game equivalent of the Buzz Lightyear ride at Disney World. If you're gonna put me in the cockpit of a space fighter, let me actually fly it. I don't wanna just drag a crosshair around and click the trigger. Make me-let me-fly free, through whatever setpiece moments are being showcased. You're already taking cues from Halo. Take one from the space mission in Reach and let us really blast off. Space is huge, let us use it.
4. Not Everything Has to Be Personal
I get it-it adds drama to have your character's best friend/father/brother get killed/betray you/get betrayed. But let's be honest, that's old and predictable, and takes away from the sense of scale. Squadmates will be lost in a war game, but that doesn't mean the rest of it has to be a revenge-fueled quest against one enemy. Again, this is set in space. The player feeling small, insignificant, and sometimes powerless isn't necessarily a bad thing. The game's plot feeling small and insignificant because the story is focused around three people with a war in the background, however, is.
5. Don't Fix What Isn't Broken. Again.
I'm speaking, of course, about the multiplayer. Both Advanced Warfare and Black Ops 3 turned their multiplayer modes in to twitchy, gimmicky messes. Go back to basics, at least as far as mechanics go. I'll fully support zero-g maps. I think 3-dimensional gameplay would be pretty fun, actually. But keep the mechanics simple, keep the weapon unlocks simple, and keep the customization simple.
Those are my five ways Infinite Warfare can bring me back to the series. Like every Call of Duty game, it's generating both hype and disappointment. Are you on board with this new installment? Tell me in the comments below or write a post of your own.