Last year, Activision went all in on its annual Call of Duty outing, expecting the same amount of praise and criticism it always gets from around the gaming sphere. Only, Infinite Warfare was different. It walked away with a bulk of the internet poised against its sci-fi setting, and at one point, it had the statistically most hated trailer on YouTube.
That negativity transformed into underwhelming sales, and at the end of it all, I think 2016 is a year Activision would like to have back.
It’s not the only one either.
What a difference a year can make, though! Activision announced Call of Duty: WWII last month to universal praise and hyped it as a return to the series’ World War II roots. This comes after a decade of exploring other settings, everywhere from the modern age to the far future. Call of Duty: WWII’s launch trailer has 937,000 likes, compared to 83,000 dislikes, and the vile hatred that Infinite Warfare experienced is nowhere to be found. “Evaporated” one might say.
Indeed, one did say that. Activision CEO Bobby Kotick used the phrase in his company’s financial call, stating that “the negative social media sentiment, which was an issue last year, has virtually evaporated”
World War II is just a better setting
And I agree. The world needs fewer sci-fi shooters. Not that I feel that war, especially the very real consequences of World War II, should be glorified and normalized through the use of video games, but it is, really, just a more interesting setting than a metallic future pulled from someone’s imagination. Better politics, better imagery, and a better sense of being grounded in reality. That’s the kind of stuff that makes games more believable and immersive.
In fact, I’d say Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare nailed this perfectly a decade ago, and the series is still trying to catch up! Maybe Call of Duty: WWII will be the first to get that done.
Call of Duty: WWII releases on Nov. 3 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.