Re-Enlisting for Active Duty?

So it’s only March, and already the rumors for the future of the Call Of Duty Franchise are swarming like Charlie in the Jungle.  What does everyone think about the possibilities?  I’d like to take a moment to review what we’ve seen from Activision slightly tipping their hand, and what I’d hope to expect from this.  With the booming sales of Modern Warfare 2 and the seemingly impossible bar set conceivably too high to leap, it would appear Activision is not resting on their laurels, but instead preparing to shake this franchise up.

Another year, another Call Of Duty game released on Veteran’s Day, that’s been Activision’s MO and thus far it has been confirmed to continue on Veteran’s Day 2010.  We know that many Vietnam-era songs have been trademarked by the developers, possibly hinting at a Vietnam based tour of duty.  Fighting Charlie on their own turf, playing the defensive role in trap-laden jungles could provide a much needed shift in gameplay for the franchise, as well as opening up strategy options for the game.  Other rumors have placed the next game during the Cold War 50’s between the US and Russia.  Given the history of the Modern Warfare games, and their ability to weave a story around black ops missions, this could be an interesting step for the franchise.  Granted, the Cold War period would not seem to be as action heavy as the guerrilla tactics of the Vietnam War could be, but it would be interesting to see how a story could be weaved within all of the behind the scenes, tissue paper fragile political state of the Cold War time period.  I’m sure we could agree that either would be a welcome change from the virulent plague that is the World War II setting.

We could speculate forever about this year’s entry, but speculation of the 2011 entry may prove slightly more interesting.  We’ve heard the rumors of a third dev studio entering the COD rotation, and now we have confirmation.  Sledgehammer Games will be handling next year’s Call of Duty game, headed by Visceral veterans Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey.  An even bigger surprise is that Sledgehammer’s draftee won’t be a first-person shooter, but an “action-adventure”.  Scoffers are saying this will be a “Gears of Duty” atrocity, but I would like to think that Sledgehammer will take a page from Alpha Protocol.  Of course it’s impossible to gauge how this move will turn out without more information and knowledge of the setting, but a marriage of Mass Effect/Alpha Protocol depth of story with the Soap MacTavish type exploits of Modern Warfare could be a home run that sails past the stadium and into the parking lot.  Will this be a marriage of a cover-based shooter with the COD universe, or could it lean towards a Sam Fischer/Assassin’s Creed style of stealth action?  The possibilities are certainly intriguing, especially for a company that has taken as much flak as Activision has for bleeding it’s properties dry.  The Call of Duty franchise is carried by it’s multiplayer innovations, which makes one wonder how this drastic change will affect the massive multiplayer base COD already has in it’s pocket.

One thing is for sure, this writer is certainly intrigued by the possibilities of these two new games.  For me, Modern Warfare 2 left a bad taste in my mouth because of the ‘No Russian’ choice, but I’m not counting out the next titles.  Treyarch had a strong entry with World At War, and has a chance to pick up the pace with this year’s game.  Not to mention that, if carried out properly, a triannual sidestep from the first-person space could be the change of pace that makes us re-enlist with Activision in 2011.  We would love to hear your thoughts, either by commenting here, or checking out our forums.  Look for the Call of Duty thread in the Multi-Platform section of the forums, and stay tuned because you can be sure we will be covering all the news that emerges about this franchise!

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