Does Infinty Ward Still PWN Call of Duty?
New Job Listings Suggest Treyarch Could be Top Dog
Despite of all the hate it receives on the Internet up to and throughout each annual release, Call of Duty continues to be one of the most successful franchises in the industry. Since the game’s inception, Infinity Ward has been synonymous to the series… and rightfully so.
Infinity Ward was founded in 2002 by twenty-two members of the team that developed Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. The first game that the team worked on was the original Call of Duty for Microsoft Windows and the sequel Call of Duty 2 became a launch title for the Xbox 360 in 2005. With the release of Call of Duty 3, Infinity Ward began sharing the duty of developing the core games with Treyarch, swapping every other year with the studio.
Leaving Treyarch to develop the games set in World War 2, Infinity Ward began working on what is still considered the crown jewel of the Call of Duty franchise, the Modern Warfare titles.
Modern Warfare changed the video game landscape significantly. Infinity Ward was now the Michael Bay of Developers. The masses flocked to their games and they milked that cash cow for everything that they could. Receiving both financial and critical acclaim, Modern Warfare sold over ten million copies and still sits at an average review score of 92. To follow it up, Modern Warfare 2 hit sales of over twenty million copies with an average review score of 86. By the time Ghosts was released however, it seemed clear to many that Infinity Ward was just phoning it in.
Ghosts would go on to sell nearly twenty million units itself due to the Call of Duty branding on the box, but the game was bland and received a lot of flak for copy and pasting way too many set pieces from previous iterations. Activision decided at this point to throw another hat into the ring. Developer Sledgehammer Games, who had previously worked on aspects of the franchise with Infinity Ward, would now receive their own game, and a new three year development cycle was born.
Sledgehammer made Call of Duty feel fresh again. Not satisfied to just recycle the ideas Infinity Ward and Treyarch had already beaten to death, they added Mech Suits, taking Call of Duty literally to another level. With these suits you could now go vertically about as far as you could horizontally. Death could now rain down on you from just about anywhere. This added a new depth to the game and was just the change that the series needed.
Advanced Warfare and Treyarch’s next offering, Black Ops 3, both brought the series back to critical acclaim. Both games reviewed in the mid eighties and Black Ops 3 sold over 25 million copies. Call of Duty was back on track.
Then came Infinity Ward’s turn, back from a 3 year hiatus. It was time for them to reclaim their throne. What they released instead of Modern Warfare 4 was a sub series titled Infinite Warfare. Set in the future, Infinity Ward took us as far as outer space to disappoint us this time. With reviews averaging around 77 it was clear that Infinity Ward was no longer the end all, be all developer for the series they created.
A new job posting last week suggests that next year’s Call of Duty will be returning to the Modern Warfare sub series. What’s so intriguing about this is be the fact that Treyarch is developing the game coming out next year. Black Ops has primarily taken place in the past and near future, but never in modern day.
So based on the post, Activision seemingly has taken Modern Warfare from Infinity Ward and passed the torch to a different developer. If this turns out to be true, Infinity Ward seems destined to accept their role as the third place horse in a race that they founded.
Oh how the mighty have fallen.
Author: Phil Neyman
Philip is better at buying video games than he is at playing them. He was once told “it must suck to love something so much and be so terrible at it.” As a boy he would write terrible poems about himself and Ross Perot. He enjoys the best and worst of all forms of media, but nothing in the middle. Puyo Puyo Tetris has almost caused unreconcilable differences between him and his wife. He’s never had a hangover, but not from lack of trying.