Why COD Lacks Immersion

Call of Duty: WWII is a first person shooter game that gives the player the ability to play three different modes: multiplayer, zombies, and campaign. I will focus on the campaign mode, specifically its immersive qualities, or lack thereof.

The game does have characteristics that make it an immersive game. Qualities such as its perspective (FPS) and the dialogue one must experience throughout the campaign only add to the environment of World War II combat.  The graphics put the player into 1940’s Europe and the constant action keeps the player entertained with the game.

Gameplay when dialogue commonly occurs

Yet, Call of Duty: WWII has features that takeaway from the overall immersion.  It is not surprising that there are features that reduce the immersion, but it is surprising how glaring they are.

The most obvious and least bothersome is the head-up display (HUD).  Most first person shooter games have a HUD, which is a status bar that relays information to the player.  As the picture below indicates, the HUD shows health, number of bullets, grenades, and other possible options, like a mortar strike or the use of binoculars.

Next is the historical accuracy of the game.  Although, locations and the overall narrative of WWII is followed, there are little things that add up.  For example, there are females enlisted in each military, which did not occur until later.  Additionally, the swastika has been censored in some parts of the game.  Now it is most likely that these two things have occurred because of culturalization.  Kate Edwards defines culturalization as “taking a deeper look (than localization) into a game’s fundamental assumptions and content choices and then assessing their viability both in the broad, multicultural marketplace as well as in specific geographic locales” (Edwards, 97).  It is possible to assume that censoring the swastika is a message and utilizing females is to make the game more personal for female players.  Another quality that take away from the immersion of the game is that some of the weapon sounds were made via software and not with the actual sounds from real life fire arms and are therefore inaccurate. A final issue with the historical inaccurate campaign is that the game starts with the invasion of Normandy, better known as D-Day. D-Day occurs on June 6, 1944, almost 5 years after the start of the war.

 

Kar98k Sniper

The most blaring characteristic that takes away from the immersion is the soundtrack.  There is nothing wrong with the soundtrack except that it plays while the game is going.  If I can hear the soundtrack while I am gunning down planes then that takes me out of the game.

Although there are immersive problems with the game, it is possible for a Call of Duty game to be immersive. This article ranks a Call of Duty (Black Ops)  game in the “top 10 most immersive games to play before you die.” https://www.moltenice.co/10-immersive-games/

 

Sources:

Edwards, Kate.  “Culturalization.” Debugging Game History. MIT Press, 2016.

 

 

 

Source: Why COD Lacks Immersion

Rotating Developers of my CoD games

Call of Duty is a first-person shooter franchise with the most current game, Call of Duty: WWII, available on Microsoft Windows (PC), PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.  Since the first game of the series (2003), 18 consoles have graced the series with 3 main companies dominating the consoles: Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo.

After the initial release, the series has mainly been developed by Treyarch and Infinity Ward. Every so often another developing company, like Amaze Entertainment or Gray Matter Interactive Studios, will develop a Call of Duty game, but the popularity of these select games are minimal.  This has led Activision, the famous American video game publisher, to rely on the two main companies, Treyarch and Infinity Ward. My two favorite Call of Duty games are Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (created by Infinity Ward) and Call of Duty: Black Ops (created by Treyarch).

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Call of Duty: Black Ops

But according to president and CEO of Activision Publishing Eric Hirshberg in 2014, Call of Duty changed to a 3 year development cycle, adding Sledgehammer Games as the third developer.  Sledgehammer Games developed the most recent game of the series, Call of Duty: WWII, which I am currently playing.  But the game I am playing today would be different if Activision had not added Sledgehammer Games.

Call of Duty: WWII

 

Call of Duty: WWII Gameplay with ice pick weapon

Activision did this to “ensure a high level of quality for the series” (McWhertor).  Additionally, “[the change] will give designers more time to envision and innovate each title, give content creators more focus on DLC and micro-DLC, and will give teams more time to polish, helping to ensure that Activision delivers the best possible experience to their fans each and every time”  (McWhertor).  The addition of Sledgehammer Games is a smart strategy by Activision to create a Call of Duty game that becomes part of their successful 80:20 rule (Hayes and Disney).  (“This is where the 20% of all game titles published represents 80 per cent of all sales” (Kline)). The idea is that to cover against frequent failures of games, a company must develop several games that make up for the losses.  And Activision has added Sledgehammer into their developing rotation in order to diminish the failures and increase their profits.

This strategy of creating a better game experience for video game consumers comes because of late 1900’s Nintendo.  After Nintendo developed a research and intelligence network, they developed high-caliber games that were strongly associated with hardware platforms such as the NES. Similarly, Activision is attempting to do this with their Call of Duty games and Xbox, PlayStation, and PC’s.  Call of Duty has become a house-hold video game name while Xbox, PlayStation, and PC are standard consoles households, and with the addition of Sledgehammer Games, this is not likely to change.

 

Sources:

Hayes and Dinsey, with Parker, Games War, 32.

Kline, Stephen, et al. Digital Play: The Interaction of Technology, Culture, and   Marketing. McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2003. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt818w1.

McWhertor, Michael. “Call of Duty Moving to 3-Year, 3-Studio Dev Cycle,    Sledgehammer on 2014 Game.” Polygon, Polygon, 6 Feb. 2014, www.polygon.com/2014/2/6/5387530/call-of-duty-moving-to-3-year-3-studio-dev-cycle-sledgehammer-on-2014).

Source: Rotating Developers of my CoD games