It’s that time of year again, when hysteria surrounding the year’s next big releases starts building up ahead of June’s gaming extravaganza that is E3.
As is always the case around this time of year, much of the attention is centred firmly on the next of the “big three” Call of Duty developers in line to develop the franchise’s annual entry.
Last year’s effort in Call of Duty: WWII was a welcomed return to the boots-on-the-ground gameplay that helped defined the franchise in its early years.
That we could be set to return to Treyarch’s Black Ops franchise appears to once again have us jet-packing around walls and cliffs.
The good news is that, according to one games journalist who called this more than a month ago, not only is Black Ops 4 (or Black Ops IIII…whatever) coming to Nintendo Switch, but it will also keep us firmly planted to the ground in traditional CoD gameplay that we all know and love.
Just how Treyarch plans to rewind and keep the Black Ops franchise interesting is one thing, how they’ve managed to ignore roman numerals and come up with “IIII” is another. At least we won’t be floating around space and wearing augmented suits this time round (at least, that’s what the rumours suggest).
It’s debatable whether Black Ops 4 (I refuse to write it as “IIII”) is really even necessary, but then again that argument extends to the annual Call of Duty releases anyway. I’ve been a vocal defender of the franchise for years, at least up until the release of Infinite Warfare. Last year’s game certainly helped make amends for me, but I’d like to see Treyarch try something new than return to Black Ops again.
One of the main reasons why is because, of all the franchises that deserves another sequel, Black Ops certainly isn’t it. Obviously each CoD developer is stuck to their own offerings — Treyarch to Black Ops, Infinity Ward to Modern Warfare, Sledgehammer now to Advanced Warfare and WWII — but one has to question whether returning to the little brother of Modern Warfare time and time again is really the best thing for the franchise. In this case, it appears Treyarch simply doesn’t have a choice.
As such, wouldn’t it just be awesome if the game was bundled with Modern Warfare 2 Remastered in the same way Infinite Warfare was with Modern Warfare Remastered? Activision simply can’t ignore how popular and hyped the coverage around Modern Warfare Remastered was, and if it’s going to do anything to force gamers into buying Black Ops 4, then what better way than to give them something they actually want?
Modern Warfare 2 is probably the last true great Call of Duty game, and fans have been clamouring for a remastering of the entire trilogy for years now. We saw a bundle re-release of the three Modern Warfare games on Xbox 360, but that’s hardly enticing considering how warped and hacked the lobbies are for those games. At least Modern Warfare Remastered offered fresh new servers, safe from colourful gamertags and flying, invincible soldiers.
I was pretty excited for WWII last year, because it opened the door to a return to the Call of Duty I love. And it appears fans lapped it up in much the same way.
It was a nice little treat following the release of MWR the year before, and so, really, Call of Duty has hit a home run each of the past two years (even if we did have to a pay a premium just to play MWR).
I’m sure Black Ops 4 will be okay in its own right. After all, Treyarch is the most experienced developer in the CoD family, and it rarely misses a beat.
But I can’t help but wonder that, just as the franchise is working its way back to respectability, having a fourth entry for a tired sub-brand is taking two steps back after taking a colossal step forward.
Throw Modern Warfare 2 Remastered into the mix, though, and you’ve suddenly got me caring a little less about the repetition of tiring franchise.