Call of Duty is something we are all used to as a yearly installment, putting up huge numbers with each and every game. Black Ops III certainly followed this trend, becoming the sixth straight game in the series to break the $1 billion mark. Additionally, in North America, Call of Duty was 2015’s top-selling franchise - an award they’ve held for seven consecutive years now. To add to the statistics, the life-to-date sales of Call of Duty surpassed 250 million units in 2015! (For comparison, the closest mainstream franchise is Grand Theft Auto at roughly 225 million, 95 million of which was just GTAV). Also to no one’s surprise, Call of Duty is poised to make a big impact yet again in 2016, so let’s dive in and see what they have in store!
In early February, Treyarch released the first of four DLC map packs and I’d argue it was virtually everything the community asked for. In zombies, Der Eisendrache instantly became a new favorite for many. With three DLC packs to go, the community is eagerly anticipating what Blundell and his team has in store for us. Over the last few years, there have been a good deal of complaints regarding the zombies storyline, from the lackluster Black Ops 2 to the introduction of the multiverse in Origins. But with Black Ops 3, the potential certainly exists for Treyarch to turn it around. They’ve introduced many new elements into the story, but have started going back to their Black Ops 1 roots and coming full circle. Note that not all appreciate these new elements I mentioned, feeling it’s become too “otherworldly,” but only time will tell how the story progresses.
In case zombies isn’t your thing, the world of multiplayer received four new maps (Splash, Skyjacked, Gauntlet, Rise) that were more-or-less well received by even the most critical gamers. Plus, competitive multiplayer grew substantially in Black Ops 3 thanks to the addition of Call of Duty World League (CWL). Presented by PlayStation and operated by Activision (who also owns Major League Gaming, remember), it’s a worldwide competitive league where the best of North America, Europe, and Australia/New Zealand battle for the title of World Champions. However, if you want to get in on the action with the pros, Activision also introduced the CWL Challenge Division. It’s targeted at “aspiring or amateur Call of Duty players” and allows them “to earn their way to the” Championship.
The Championship this fall will mark the conclusion of the Call of Duty World League’s first season, and because of this, Activision will be holding a “major community event” aimed at “celebrating the community.” Perhaps we’ll be seeing the return of Call of Duty: Experience (CoD XP), after its successful debut in 2011? The description for this year’s event could be interpreted as pointing to that, where fans will gain “special insight and access to the world of Call of Duty.” In the 2011 rendition, attendees could paintball, zipline, and even run through the training course. (To us zombies fans, I’m sure we can look forward to another fantastic panel!!)
But of course, the entire reason CoD XP 2011 took place was to launch Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare 3, and late this year, they’ll again be launching their next Call of Duty title. Their most recent game in the franchise, Ghosts, was viewed negatively by a large portion of the community, so all eyes are on them to bounce back and deliver a title that the community can get excited about. What is so interesting about Infinity Ward’s fall from grace is that they’re heralded as making some of the greatest Call of Duty games in recent times (Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2), but went downhill after losing much of their staff to Respawn Entertainment. Many wonder whether they’ll try to push the envelope with the game, as the last few games have done, or if they’ll try to appeal to the old Call of Duty crowd. Whichever way they go, Activision has promised that the game will be both “ambitious” and “great."