Black Ops II: Has brand fatigue hit Call of Duty?
- Posted November 20th, 2012 at 11:31 EDT by Mike Harradence
- 10 Comments
For the last three years, Activision’s Call of Duty brand has set entertainment records in the U.K. upon launch, gunning down all opposition from everything including games, films to books and music. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Black Ops and Modern Warfare 3 all achieved this feat upon their release, and as such every new entry in the series carries with it a certain expectation from fans and critics alike to slay the competition for yet another year.
Thing seem to have hit a brick wall though. While 2012’s Black Ops II has effortlessly manoeuvred into first place in the U.K. All Format Charts – plus notching up an estimated $500 million in retail sales worldwide – the game has failed take the crown for the region’s biggest launch for what would have been the series’ fourth consecutive year. In fact, it failed to topple not only last year’s effort, but also Black Ops I and Modern Warfare 2. As such, Treyarch’s latest endeavour sits as the U.K.’s fourth biggest launch ever. Are we shocked? Not really.
At this point, we wonder if brand fatigue is finally starting to set in for the general public. Many hardcore gamers have been voicing their disdain for the Call of Duty franchise for a couple of years now, but it is obvious Joe Public hasn’t been ready to turn his back on this annual behemoth just yet. And, while Black Ops II has undoubtedly sold well, it’s quite significant that the shooter failed topple its predecessor, let alone the three-year-old MW2. Ironically, it is with Black Ops II that Treyarch implemented some of the most striking innovations in the series since the original Modern Warfare, with branching story paths and a refined multiplayer and full-fledged zombie campaign the main highlights on offer. For whatever reason, this wasn’t enough, and it seems that Call of Duty may at last be starting to take a back seat as the year’s most important videogame release.
Okay, we’re not at all saying the series is sinking in the mid and that the developers need to go back to the drawing board, but it appears the series doesn’t have the commercial pull it once possessed. Plus, with the new generation inexorably approaching, we think that Activision may want to give the series a shot in the arm – sort of like Call of Duty 4 reinvigorated the series for the current crop of platforms. The multiplayer is top-notch but the campaign could do with a new direction; less Michael Bay, more Steven Speilberg perhaps? Potty-mouthed grunts, loud explosions and massive set-pieces can only get you so far, after all.
Nonetheless, Black Ops II made solid effort to really shake up the formula, but it seems that isn’t quite enough to perpetuate Call of Duty’s annual record-breaking antics. Time to shake things up before the next-gen comes along? It wouldn’t be a bad thing.
Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
- 12:03pm EST - November 20th, 2012
this could of been written A long time ago
- 12:20pm EST - November 20th, 2012
@1 Indeed, but the sheer proof of numbers make this argument that much more legitimate. With this sort of evidence in mind, Activision may have to look at its game plan. Agan, that's assuming that Activision cares about such things; which they do, since this involves money.
- 1:00pm EST - November 20th, 2012
Didn't we see articles about COD and brand fatigue the last 2-3 games? This isn't the first one I'm sure. PROOF
Soldier 95B | Solder_95B
- 1:20pm EST - November 20th, 2012
Fatigue? LOL not at all. The game has sold the most worldwide of any Call of Duty to date in the same time frame. It continues to only get better.
Nick Vasquez | LitchAzazel
- 4:55pm EST - November 20th, 2012
Ugh, I only wish, I'm tired of this fad and lack of innovation in not just CoD but the many clones of it. The sooner CoD dies out and FPS' diminish the better. I'd like to see some games try to be different once again and not just try to copy the success of CoD by just ripping the game off.
- 5:19pm EST - November 20th, 2012
Well it definitely has for me. This was the first COD I haven't bought in a long time. I'm just so sick of the same thing every year. I didn't even play MW3 multiplayer that much at all. The only thing I really enjoyed about the game was spec ops, especially survival. I played that a lot with a friend but other than that I barely played MW3 compared to the previous games. So since I prefer spec ops to zombies, and I dont really care about anything else BO2 offers, I decided to skip this year.
Soldier 95B | Solder_95B
- 5:43pm EST - November 20th, 2012
More people on my friends list are playing this than they have played the previous ones. It is so addicting.
Gameoholic007 | Demented007
- 8:18pm EST - November 20th, 2012
COD is nothing but repeated lack of innovation that refuses to move forward, but with updated graghics. But yet, people still buy it. It reminds me of Nin Wii.
- 11:28pm EST - November 20th, 2012
Brand fatigue and sloppy management of the product. I can't progress through the campaign because of a glitch and my system still froze today because of zombies. Can't speak on multiplayer since I won't play it, but man... I'm not buying Treyarch's next game because it may be broken and won't get fixed or will take more than a week to fix. Lame. I've moved on to Hitman. Thanks for the lack of enjoyment. $40 well spent.
Don Oliveira | Other_
- 8:19pm EST - November 21st, 2012
Ahem. In my review, I said less Michael Bay and more Martin Scorsese. Screw Spielberg.
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