May 2, 2013
Do We Need Some New Video Game Franchises?
On Wednesday, Activision announced that Call of Duty: Ghosts would be officially unveiled later this month when Microsoft introduces its next generation video game console. The rumored Xbox 720 — or Next Box — as it is called will likely arrive this fall in time for the holidays.
Call of Duty: Ghosts will be apparently available at launch time. That isn’t quite unexpected, as the series has sold tens of millions of copies since the original game was released a decade ago. Not bad for a game that was originally considered a good knock of Electronic Arts’ Medal of Honor.
Both Call of Duty and EA’s Medal of Honor have been among the most successful shooter franchises. EA has the edge as it also has its popular Battlefield series and has already announced that Battlefield 4 will arrive this fall, just two years after the release of Battlefield 3.
Titles from the Call of Duty, Medal of Honor and Battlefield franchises have been arriving with regular clockwork now, and while not quite on par with such titles as EA Sports’ Madden NFL football series, these aren’t far behind. The question is whether it is time for something fresh.
This isn’t to say that the games have disappointed. Far from it.
Unlike Tomb Raider and practically any game with Star Trek in the title each subsequent release has mostly lived up to the last. There have been a few stumbles along the way and Medal of Honor diminished a bit along the way, while Call of Duty and Battlefield just keep getting better. The question is really where can these games go?
Yes, we can expect better and more lifelike graphics – and issue this writer/reviewer has discussed in the past – but beyond that what else can these do? Instead of focusing on historical conflicts we’re now into the “near future” and in some ways that is making for a less compelling experience. Perhaps some gamers enjoy cloaking shields that make soldiers temporary invisible or offer jetpacks that let troops take flight (but these turn the gritty and somewhat realistic action into something bordering on science fiction) and with Halo, Mass Effect and a dozen other games offering sci-fi action we really don’t need more right now.
What is wrong with offering less?
The Great War (known to us today as the First World War or World War I) will see its centennial in a year and yet other than a few mods for Battlefield, there have been hardly any action games depicting the conflict. Would it be so difficult to do a Call of Duty 1917 that lets players head to the Belleau Wood, the battle where the Germans dubbed the U.S. Marines “Teufelshunde” or “Devil Dogs” due their ferocity? This could seem to offer a very different shooter experience.
The same could hold true for the Russian Revolution and subsequent Russian Civil War, one that could see armored trains, trench warfare and even use of early tanks as the Red Army attacked Poland’s capital city of Warsaw in 1920.
There are so many variables for interesting twists and exotic locales, such as the fighting in China between the Nationalists and Communists in the early 1930s, the Nationalists and Republicans in Spain in 1936 or the various wars in South America. These all featured early fixed position machine guns, small tanks and slow moving airplanes. This could all make for an interesting turn from jet fighters, helicopters and assault weapons.
Perhaps it is time for some new video game franchises that explore these past conflicts.
Image Credit: Photos.com