Black Ops 6 could be fun, but don’t count on it ‘saving’ Call of Duty

Black Ops 6 could be fun, but don’t count on it ‘saving’ Call of Duty
Image via Treyarch | Sledgehammer Games

Written by 

Joseph Kime


2nd May 2024 15:25

A new era for Call of Duty is just around the corner, as Xbox teases that a [REDACTED] direct is on the way. Players are pointing out that Xbox's promotional materials match the aesthetics of the CoDverse, and though it seems these announcements come later every year, maybe we're just bored.

Fans also seem to be feeling the drag, with legions across the internet expressing their frustrations with more Modern Warfare. It's a far cry from when the sub-series kicked back into gear with a 2019 reboot, and we were left with refreshed attention.

Having experienced two years on the bounce of Captain Price barking about Makarov, the magic has been sucked out of CoD. So what's next? We can't be sure, but as rumours indicate that a Gulf War game in the Black Ops series, players are excited about the newness.

Except, you might've noticed that there's nothing new about it - and as a result, hopes that the franchise is in for a major overhaul could be distressingly overstated.

Fans are desperate for newness - but are settling for the familiar

Captain Price and his soldiers rush to battle in Modern Warfare 3.
Click to enlarge
Image via Sledgehammer Games

Two years of a rebooted Modern Warfare era have passed, serving as an unprecedented shift for the franchise, reacting to the huge sales of Modern Warfare II in hopes of keeping up a streak of wins for the franchise.

We know this didn't quite work out how Call of Duty had hoped, with a campaign that was dubbed the worst in the franchise's history. Still, most have stomached its all-important multiplayer mode. The grand issue with Modern Warfare III's approach to a multiplayer shooter is twofold, but both exemplify a reliance on the familiar for the franchise.

The first is the minutiae. The differences between MWIII and its predecessor are slim, while also trying to fit alongside Warzone, which has made the gameplay of the newest game feel more familiar than ever. Excitement for changes in gameplay has come down to ever-shifting metas while looking to guides on how to build the perfect loadout to wipe players out with what is technically the most powerful weapons.

The second issue is with familiarity - Call of Duty has always loved to shop classic maps around, but at the launch of Modern Warfare III's multiplayer, it was truly all that it had. Mechanically, it was largely identical to its little brother, but at least it fed into Call of Duty's nostalgia to keep fans placated.

It should be clear that this doesn't work in the long term. Players find themselves lost in ways to inject more fun into the games because they've forgotten that newness is and always has been an option. Rehashing the past isn't a tactic anymore, but a bad habit that is going to take work to curb.

For these reasons, a new Black Ops game won't rescue players from the monotony of the franchise's modern approach.

Black Ops won't rescue Call of Duty because it’s Black Ops

The key art for Call of Duty: Black Ops.
Click to enlarge
Image via Treyarch

It's easy to see why fans want to see a new Black Ops game. The original game bent the minds of unsuspecting players, and as it accelerated through classic Zombies maps and riveting settings for multiplayer maps, players found the impact of each gunshot and the fluidity of the "pick ten" class system leading to one of CoD's most exciting outputs.

Black Ops was an exciting output, but as we've learned with Modern Warfare III, that can only last so long. It feels almost as though Call of Duty fans have given up on wishing for something new with the franchise, as even their idea of change yet again falls back on wishes for classic maps, familiar aesthetics, and known approaches.

This was evident in Modern Warfare III, neglecting to consider just how quickly that novelty wore off. We feel locked into a meaningless cycle of revisits, proving that we know the glory days of Call of Duty are behind us, even though players are still queueing out of the door to buy the game.

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The two most recent games are best-sellers, which means little to players who would buy it every year regardless. Even as they beg for newness, they're unknowingly still asking for oldness.

As is rumoured to be Xbox's redacted romp, a Black Ops approach to the Gulf War would be fun for some players. It'd introduce a new setting, and if we're lucky, it'd show us that exploring new concepts is workable.

Being a Black Ops game at its core, there's only so much innovation we can hope for. We can have something fresh, as long as it is also old and recognisable enough to drag nostalgic shooter fans into the fray before they realise that the same regurgitated boredom of recent rehashes awaits them.

We don't like to complain about the Call of Duty franchise because there's much to love - but Call of Duty doesn't seem excited to show that love and excitement in return. There's a future for Call of Duty yet, but it looks like it might not be exciting for a minute.

Joseph Kime
About the author
Joseph Kime
Joseph Kime is the Senior Trending News Journalist for GGRecon from Devon, UK. Before graduating from MarJon University with a degree in Journalism, he started writing music reviews for his own website before writing for the likes of FANDOM, Zavvi and The Digital Fix. He is host of the Big Screen Book Club podcast, and author of Building A Universe, a book that chronicles the history of superhero movies. His favourite games include DOOM (2016), Celeste and Pokemon Emerald.
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