Well, that was awkward. Only a couple of weeks after my article announcing the end of old-school military shooters and Battlefield has to go and ruin everything by spinning on its heels and announcing a new military shooter entry set in the First World War. D’oh! Then again, I specifically said it was the end of the WWII shooters, so… Half right? Yeah, let’s go with that.
Actually, I still think what I said holds true. The modern military shooters aren’t ending, it’s just retreating to the benches whilst some other kid has a turn to bat. The point I was trying to make was that everyone is looking to find the mysterious new fad that’s going to replace the modern military shooters theme, and anybody who’s smart is heading for science fiction, so as to feed audience’s power fantasies.
But Call Of Duty beat Battlefield to the punch with Advanced Warfare, so they had to go in a different direction and consequently built a cop saga in the underwhelming Hardline. And now that’s failed, they appear to have chosen to return to their roots. I doubt it’ll work in the long-term, but who knows for sure?
All I can say is that the trailer for Battlefield 1 was the most cringeworthy thing I’ve seen in months, with a rubbish electronic remix of “Seven Nation Army” grinding in the background and chisel-jawed heroes fighting like go’l-darn heroes, rather than doing what people actually did in the Great War – miserably sit in trenches and try not to catch dysentery. Tact? What’s that, those pin things you secure paper to the wall with? Come on Battlefield, do try harder. When you make an episode of Blackadder Goes Forth look like a heavily-researched historical drama, I think you might need to go back to the drawing board.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
But speaking of Call Of Duty and silliness, I feel I must ask with all honesty WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT TRAILER OF THEIRS?! They’ve jumped the shark so far that they’ve literally ended up in orbit around the planet! If somebody had told me five years ago that the series was headed for cosmic spaceship combat with a title like “Infinite Warfare”, I would’ve said it sounded like a bad parody. It would’ve had to be some ridiculous joke made up by a drunk team of designers who had to pitch a new idea to the boss on Monday morning. Yet somehow this “Pigs In Space” adaptation is real, and consequently really, really funny because of it.
Not that the Internet has taken to this new direction well, though when do they ever? The announcement trailer has been hit with so many dislikes it’s practically been sent into hiding with the new Ghostbusters movie. But I don’t give a fig for that kind of audience sensibility myself. The Call Of Duty series has been stagnating for ages and is in desperate need of a shake-up, and taking cues from Firefly is as good a mission statement as any, I suppose.
What Will Happen To Their Sales?
The question is this: how will the public respond when it comes to sales? The companies involved couldn’t really care less for the opinion of the plebs as long as these games are making more money than they cost – which they always do, even when they “underperform”. Call Of Duty sales were dropping since Modern Warfare 3, when suddenly Black Ops 3 stole the show (commercially speaking) and became one of the biggest entertainment products of the year. So people clearly aren’t against futuristic military shooters, because Black Ops 3 wore its science-fiction style like a badge of honour, and still made more money than God.
What Players Want
Look, I know the Internet hate towards Infinite Warfare is pretty substantial, but let’s not forget that it’s only the devoted fanbase – honestly, a small minority. Most customers are content just to slouch on the sofa with the latest edition of an accessible franchise and don’t care whether the military shooters are set in space or Surrey, as long as they pull triggers and bullets move accordingly. Oh, and let’s not forget that it’s a rubbish trailer which tells us almost nothing about the product. I don’t know exactly what people are getting miffed at because it’s so indecipherable that it might as well have been images of the game’s binary code. Maybe the weird cover of Space Oddity in the background is what’s irking people.
And what about Battlefield? Well, I’ll say it again – the next game may be great, but I don’t think it’s what people want, broadly speaking. If the developers are smart then they’ll make this a one-off sort of thing because I think they’ll find it hard to compete when other games are offering jetpacks and lasers, and Battlefield is operating in a period where a simple rifle scope is a high-end technology.
“Press right trigger to fire a gun that’s less accurate than spitting. Tap left bumper to slowly wade through thick mud. Hold X to write despairing wartime poetry”.
Somehow, it just doesn’t have the same excitement to it.