With news breaking earlier this year that Activision’s top brass have decided to break Call of Duty’s annual combo streak stretching back to 2006, shunning a Call of Duty title for 2023 due to – in their words – a lacklustre reception to 2021’s Call of Duty: Vanguard, the question is: should Call of Duty die altogether? Would the video game industry be blighted by its demise?
Well, obviously, Call of Duty’s absence will dismay millions of players. It’s one of the most successful entertainment franchises of all time, with 1000s of people within Activision concurrently working on the series. Theoretically extract Call of Duty from the world, and it’ll leave a cataclysmic hollow in its wake.
However, a flick through the middling reviews for Call of Duty titles of recent years yields the same grievance: Call of Duty games, oftentimes, are solid, serviceable shooters with decent campaigns and multiplayer modes let down by a lack of innovation. Even the best-selling game in the US in 2020, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was critically panned for lacking innovation despite its commercial success.