Sounds great, reminds me of an old bball game on C64 I can’t remember the name of that was 3 on 3 - good times.
Meanwhile, I’m sure I’m thought less of daily around the traps but I can justify it - bear with me - I’ve been really enjoying Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare.
So what’s a self-respecting game-iconoclast like myself doing playing a mega-franchinse, then? Several reasons: firstly, I always am curious about mega-franchises in general and am willing to play… most… of them. There are some I just can’t get into for various reasons - Assassin’s Creed would be one, but even in those there are interesting things to be learned as far as study goes, and I do like to study games from several design perspectives. I like to study their core programming, their assets, their ‘experiences’, I guess the play dynamic, if you will, aspects of their interactivity or interpretations of agency, if you will, visual design etc., all of these things.
Most of the time I’ll never pay full price for a mega-franchise, at least, but even then, that still leaves me in an odd position. Apologies for parroting some of my thoughts from twitter this week - one’s relationship with mega-franchises is always a little weird considering the lack of regulation and the vagaries relating to unpaid overtime, IP ownership/asset creator attribution and crunch time/pay rates etc. So while I really, really don’t want to pay full price for these things, I’ve no idea how it effects the ground-force of developers. Something tells me their relationship with the publisher/producer is done and dusted by the time the product is released - fair enough, but in a sense, there’s a retroactive effect - or rather, a projected effect on the next project, per se, on how the governance is determined.
Overthinking much? I certainly hope so.
Anyway. I’m not apologetic for rather enjoying aspects of Infinite Warfare and the last CoD I played, Black Ops 3. As per twitter again this week, yes, playing a CoD game is always rather absurd - I’m no pro-military nut (in spite of playing a fair few military themed games, I realise ;/ it’s about play dynamic… anyway), but despite what you may think of Activision or EA et al, there are a lot of instances of great creativity on show in some of these titles. Sure, I’m not going to encourage everyone to buy-in, there’s a lot walking down what amounts to corridors shooting a set number of things until they go away, but even some of that is spiced up a bit more than usual in various ways.
Also yes, the writing is mostly stupid, pretty much indefensible… at least though, here and there, there’s some decent voicing and some actually decent dialogue - particularly in Infinite Warfare at the moment, in the form of the ‘bot’, or android that accompanies the player.
I do realise that these titles are designed to have a long multiplayer tail and a larger percentage of folks don’t touch the single player at all (while for CoD I’m quite reversed), the campaigns do much to switch things up and thus have beating and pacing I find quite interesting. There’s an interesting mix between corridor fights, escapes or pursuits with emphasis on constant movement, quiet stealth and/or tension missions, semi or full on-rails sections and in the case of Infinite Warfare, fantastic freeform space piloting missions. OK they’re not exactly X-Wing vs Tie Fighter but they’re a blast and a refreshing change from being purely on-rails.
Nevertheless in the back of my mind is the reminder that it takes multiple teams of hundreds of likely underpaid, overworked game-factory employees to create a project like this and I wonder if it’s worth it. I don’t know how profitable CoD is - I think it is? A recent episode of Funhaus quoted some figures suggested physical sales (NPD doesn’t capture digital) had been declining steadily and halved for Infinite Warfare (from what, I don’t know - allegedly Black Ops 3 was popular/sold well). Even so, if each title is turning a profit as I’m assuming Activision would have some pretty efficient in-house tools, pipelines and engines considering how similarly the CoD games look and run, surely they’d be able to cut a slice out of those phat profits to pay their staaaaaffwhat am I thinking, have to remember who I’m talking about here…