This year’s Call of Duty is the first in quite some time to not be heaped with lavish critical praise which suggests to some that the series is running out of steam. Many have bemoaned the copy and paste nature of the annualised games for years, but despite that Call of Duty has had an undeniable quality or some sort of spark – which critics feel is lacking a bit with Ghosts. Doesn’t matter to Activision though.
Call of Duty: Ghosts has scored relatively low with critics around the world. Speaking to GameInformer, Activision’s Eric Hirschberg responded to the question of whether the annualisation was leading to fatigue.
“Well no, obviously not – and obviously I don’t agree with the critics there. I know that Call of Duty’s a polarising franchise with some of the critics, and it’s clear to me that not all the critics like our strategy of making a game every year, but thankfully our fans do.
“It’s also clear to me that the critical response doesn’t always mirror the fans’ appreciation of a game. We actually do read the critics’ comments and take them into consideration during our creative process, but we just can’t measure ourselves by that yardstick alone.
“Our most important audience is our fans, so we try to stay laser-focused on making games that they love. If you look at the fact that [Ghosts is] the most pre-ordered game of the year, it’s the most pre-ordered next-gen game of the year, it’s already the number one most played on Xbox Live, and that we’re seeing longer average playtimes than ever before, we’re confident that we’re doing well by the criteria that matter most.”
It seems, to the casual observer, that Call of Duty: Ghosts has failed to live up to the financial expectations too. Usually, Activision trumpets on and on about how the new Call of Duty broke the old Call of Duty’s sales records every year, but they’ve been suspiciously quiet this year. Is that because people really are getting sick of Call of Duty?
Activision doesn’t think the Call of Duty brand is anywhere near fatiguing gamers just yet.
“No,” saying, “We’ve been pretty transparent all year that we think, because of the challenges of the console transition year, that that was likely in the short-term. I think it would be a mistake to conflate the challenges of the console transition year with any indications about the health of the franchise.”
It seems to me, and this is of course jus my own opinion, that people really are becoming quite tired of Call of Duty as it stands right now – but Activision is sticking their heads in the sand and blaming the lower sales on the console transition. Next year’s Call of Duty from Treyarch will be the first real next gen one, and if it fails to impress, Activision may have to sit down and have a good think about the future of the franchise.
Last Updated: December 5, 2013