It’s all over the internet, and lurking on the tongues and fingertips of gamers everywhere: disdain for the upcoming installment of the Call of Duty series, World at War.
With the recent success of Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, vitriol has been spewed all over developer Treyarch’s contributions to the franchise due to their less-than-stellar track record. Without even experiencing the spin-offs Treyarch was responsible for, or taking into account that a company can grow and learn from their mistakes, gamers are turning their noses up at Treyarch’s hard work on the upcoming World War II shooter.
Even with a beta release of the multiplayer mode that was closely modeled (some would say directly mirrored) after Call of Duty 4, gamers are still not convinced. They’re still so sure that Infinity Ward is the sole developer to ever shed any kind of positive light on the Call of Duty games that any outsiders (especially ones who have made mediocre games) are seen as unsavory individuals.
While it’s true that Infinity Ward has been responsible for the cream of the Call of Duty crop, Treyarch has released enough spin-offs to learn what works, and what does not. Their contributions to the franchise — Call of Duty 2: Big Red One and Call of Duty 3 — were not the abominations that many seem to believe that they were. They may not have received 8s and 9s from review publications, but there was absolutely nothing horribly wrong with them. Certainly not enough so that that they should discredit the troupe behind them. What’s more, other lackluster additions to the series such as Call of Duty: Finest Hour and Call of Duty: Road to Victory had nothing to do with Treyarch, despite what many forum users believe. Does it make sense to completely overlook a title that wasn’t developed by a series flagship developer since two games weren’t so up to par? It’s an ignorant stance to take, and one that’s spreading like wildfire between gamers who don’t know the facts.
For the record, with their upcoming release Treyarch has taken the Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare engine and improved upon it, enhancing physics and upped their development time from one year (Call of Duty 3) to two years, ensuring that the best job could be done in a longer span of time. Now, a game engine is the barebones foundation upon which the entire game is built around. What people don’t realize is that World at War is going to be, essentially, the same experience under a different name. It’s quite possible that World at War could trump Modern Warfare for many, as early looks at just the multiplayer aspect have proven that the game is just as fun as its predecessor. Aside from the graphics, the locale, and the inclusion and excision of perks, World at War is Modern Warfare in World War II. This is not just a matter of personal opinion, but it is fact since it was built with the same materials. If you knock out the walls of a house and replace them with new ones, is it not still the same house? The same principle applies to this situation.
The main issue here, I believe, is predetermined prejudice of a game developer without knowing all the facts. It’s like assuming every title Bungie develops is going to be an instant success by looking at their track record. Granted, they have seen tremendous success, especially with the Halo titles, but they are not a be all and end all of gaming. It’s inane to believe that one team of creators can only do wrong; unless we’re talking about those responsible for the modern Sonic games, but that’s another editorial.
Typecasting developers in this fashion will, ultimately, only hinder gamers’ overall experience in the video game market, and hurt the developers who have made some honest (and admittedly lazy) mistakes in the past, yet desire to redeem themselves. The stigma that has been unnecessarily attached to Treyarch is unnecessary and an uninformed opinion from the masses who have no opinion other than those they read while trolling forums or lazily listening to podcasts.
I implore you, shooter fans who have reached that coveted gold cross on Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and who have thoroughly enjoyed the campaign, use a bit more discretion when making holiday gaming purchases. Know the facts, and make your own decisions based on gameplay, personal preferences, and what YOU want. Instead of assuming from hearsay or flawed logic that Treyarch can’t create a game to save their lives, why not give it a chance? What has been released of World at War to date has been quite promising, and the only reason it should be overlooked is because a World War II shooter is just not your cup of tea — NOT because Treyarch is the name on the corner of the packaging.