Pre-orders are a great way for publishers and developers to get your money before you know whether a game is any good or not. In some cases, it's proved a successful method of funding (particularly indie) development, but when we look at the world of big-budget games in particular, it's a practice that has made increasingly little sense as a consumer, despite the adoption of pre-order exclusives to try and make us reconsider. Well, it appears these efforts have been in vain: according to Activision's CEO and president Eric Hirshberg, there's been an industry-wide decline in pre-orders, and Call of Duty is "not immune".
Call of Duty
It's strange to hear developers boast about how small the maps in their newest map pack are, but I hear just that in this trailer for CoD: Ghosts' final piece of DLC, Nemesis. This adds some "small-to-medium"-sized maps based around the themes 'mine cart level', 'wintry submarine base' and 'please desecrate this lovely Chinese village', along with a remake of the "smallest map ever made for Call of Duty": Shipment (now called Showtime). This one's a futuristic, Smash TV-style game show, replete with a cheesy announcer commentating on the killy goings-on. The DLC also adds the final bit to the game's full-on sci-fi Extinction mode. Exodus will see you coming face-to-elongated-face with the Ancestors, ie XCOM-ish psionic aliens. The trailer is below.
As pro gaming becomes more mainstream, game studios and e-Sports organisations are making more concerted efforts to clean up the sport's image. Case in point is the suspension of Patrick 'Aches' Price from four MLG CoD Pro League Matches, as well as the NA 2K Tournament. Aches is part of the renown Evil Geniuses team, and is known for his combative and outspoken personality. Evil Geniuses boasts endorsements and sponsorships from the likes of Razer, BenQ and Monster Energy drinks, among others.
Microsoft opened its first press briefing of this year’s E3 with a flagship game: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. We already saw a few flashes of near-future conflicts with a whole lot of Kevin Spacey on top in last month’s reveal trailer, but this is the first time we’ve seen some gameplay footage featuring high-tech gadgets, modular weapons, and exoskeleton power suits.
Sledgehammer Games' upcoming Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is pretty ambitious. It imagines what the realistic future of military combat will be—exoskeletons, private military, and even bigger explosions all seem likely. We also know that the future of military warfare will involve Kevin Spacey, which is nice. It's a logical leap for Sledgehammer, since a lot of its team previously worked on the Dead Space sci-fi horror series. But according to Game Informer, the team's first CoD game was quite different than what's been revealed: it was almost a third-person shooter in Vietnam.
The clock on the Call Of Duty site might still be counting down towards some sort of reveal this Sunday, but Activision has already begun the promotional blitzkrieg for the next game in the series with the release of the first trailer for Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare. As you're about to see, it leans heavily on the presence of an uncannily-accurate looking Kevin Spacey to sell the slightly futuristic dream.
At the end of April, the Call of Duty website is updated. At the beginning of May, a teaser trailer is released. Yay, that's the true true, every year like the last, and 2014 won't break the cycle. On Sunday, Activision will reveal the next Call of Duty with the first teaser trailer and details on Game Informer, which has already posted a screenshot. The screenshot looks like this...
Activision's quarterly earnings call was yesterday and—to no one's surprise—the company made a lot of money. $1.5 billion in net revenues to be exact. A lot of that money was made with the Call of Duty games, which, according the Activision's calculations and the NPD, was the number one franchise in retail in North America in 2013. As you may have noticed, there's a new Call of Duty game every year, which may be part of the reason why we've grown weary of it. Activision announced that while it will keep to that relentless schedule, it will give the games' developers three years to work on each title as opposed to two.
Just because we weren't the biggest fans of Call of Duty: Ghosts doesn't mean it isn't still immensely popular. It has a huge, highly competitive following, big enough to serve as a primary attraction to Major League Gaming's eSports streaming service, MLG.TV. Those players care passionately about details in the game the average player won't even notice, which would explain why Infinity Ward's latest update focuses on eSports and balancing.
Call of Duty: Online, the free-to-play, online only, microtransaction-fueled multiplayer shooter published exclusively in China, is adding robot zombies to the game. I didn’t miss an “and” there—these enemies are mechanized walking corpses, or, rather, robots that once lived and have come back from the dead. Actually, I’m not sure what they are, other than cooler than anything I’ve seen in a Call of Duty game lately.
I get it, you're a busy person. You've not got the time to watch every video that comes your way. I'll save you some time, and describe Call of Duty: Ghosts' launch trailer in its entirety. "Explosions, explosions, explosions, explosions, FISH PHYSICS, explosions, dog, wolf, dog, space, space explosions." Just imagine all that with an Eminem song in the background and you're golden.
...And other cool things. Or absurd things. Or downright silly things? I can't even tell any more. Years of bombast, monotone pathos, and deep bass rumbles have left me unable to judge the emotional timbre that a trailer is aiming for. This Call of Duty: Ghosts trailer has spacemen shooting each other in space, a sniper doing sniping at a ninety degree angle, and Riley, the mo-capped dog, jumping onto a helicopter to drag out one of its passengers. Possible reactions include involuntary laughter, involuntary eye-rolling, or involuntary fist-pumping. Find out which you make, inside.
Admittedly this isn't quite as big a story as it is for console types, but it's still reassuring to hear that Call of Duty: Ghosts will once again feature dedicated servers, which returned to the series with Modern Warfare 3, after dropping them for the warry war game's second Modern installment. “One thing I can say is we're also doing dedicated servers on PC," Infinity Ward's Mark Rubin told NowGamer, "so PC will be all dedicated servers, all of it. I don't have details on how dedicated servers are going to work on PC, partly because we're still in development and still working on all those features,” - but hey, good news is good news.
Infinity Ward have revealed the multiplayer portion of Call of Duty: Ghosts - the sequel to the popular series about men shooting men. Except now, as revealed in this trailer, men can shoot women. And women can shoot women, and men, and dogs. And dogs can eat women and men, and buildings can fall on both, and hovering drones can kill just about anything. It's a big death picnic out there.
Also there's Eminem. Although you can't shoot him.
Treyarch design director David Vonderhaar has received death threats and threats of violence on Twitter, after patch notes for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 revealed that three of the game's guns were to be rebalanced slightly. Yes, that is a thing that has actually happened. The guns in question are the AN-94, which now does a bit less damage, and the DSR 50 and the Ballista, which have both had their rate of fire reduced a bit. If this news makes you want to hurl abuse at someone, I suggest you seek professional help.
Major League Gaming’s 2013 Spring Championships did quite well last weekend, earning the eyes and ears of thousands of gamers and eventually becoming MLG’s largest event ever. But that isn’t enough for MLG President Mike Sepso, whose goal is make professional gaming one of the top five sports in North America.
Activision and Infinity Ward held a Call of Duty: Ghosts showcase yesterday, in which they showed off around eleven minutes of new footage - and two different missions - from the game. You won't be surprised to hear that one of these is an on-rails stealth section, a la COD4's celebrated All Ghillied Up, though your eyebrows may raise slightly when you learn that you'll be wearing scuba gear. Yep, underwater stealth, featuring underwater guns - are those a thing now? Activision also spilled the name of Ghosts' playable attack dog, which I'm shamelessly not going to reveal until after the break.
Since 2007's Modern Warfare, Activision hasn't missed a single annual update to the COD franchise. And it seems the publisher isn't about to let a little thing like a new generation of console hardware slow it down. This week's Xbox One announcement saw Call Of Duty: Ghosts finally break cover, and we happen to think that a new franchise from Infinity Ward is the perfect time to try out some new ideas...
Remember when Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg took to the stage during the Xbox One event and said “We wanted to press the (Call of Duty) franchise forward with a new world and a new engine”? Well, you might want to scratch out that last part.
The big finale at Microsoft's Xbox One reveal today was not Call of Duty: Ghosts. It was Call of Duty: Ghosts' instantly famous mo-capped dog. That's right, Ghosts will feature Peter Molyneux's essential invention: a dog companion to keep us company as we fight back against an oppressive someone. This is Call of Doggy. Collar Duty. The rex generation of gaming. I could go on, but I'll stop before you flea.