If there’s one thing Activision shouldn’t do with its massive, blockbuster series is alienate the people playing them. The Call of Duty series continues to sell millions of copies and switching the game to third-person could noticeably impact those numbers.
I don’t want to get all business-y on you, but Activision is a company that wants to make money. You can’t blame it for wanting to stay alive. That’s what it does, and will forever do.
So, when I say the next Call of Duty shouldn’t be third-person, it comes from a place of doubt, not hope. I would love a different take on the popular shooter, but at this point I wouldn’t bet on any major changes to this year’s game.
People like Call of Duty a lot. So much that even when the critics and online communities seem to have grown tired of the games, they still find a huge audience that doesn’t care that little has changed for several years now. Maybe we should spend our time on other issues.
It’s true that there once was a rumor that Dead Space developer Sledgehammer Games, who is putting out this year’s game, was working on a third-person Call of Duty. That was a while ago, and games and people can change. The difference in success of first-person games compared to third-person games is pretty big. I don’t think slapping the Call of Duty name on a third-person game will solve everything. Activision, like any company, would go on the path with the least risk, and one that was proven to lead to lots of sales.
Third-person games are pretty different in design from first-person games too. Everything from the level design to the user-interface has to change to accommodate the new camera angle. You can see around corners when your viewpoint is behind your character. That changes the whole dynamic of the game. Suddenly, dense maps emphasize sitting near corners instead of creeping around them. Even the speed of the game will have to change, since turning around with a character that has to animate with you is much slower than whipping around in first-person.
All I ask is that you temper your expectations, because historically, and depressingly too, Call of Duty games don’t make crazy, genre-changing shifts. It’ll leave the guns where they make the most money: on the bottom right of the screen.