It seems that Call of Duty has become the Trump of video games. Probably not the best analogy, but people sure do love to hate the franchise (I used to be one of those people). In the gaming culture, “go play COD” has become a default insult designed to undermine your gamer credibility.
COD has come to represent all the enemies of the gamer: casual, Activision, lack of innovation. The latter has been held against the franchise for the last 3 games.
This year the franchise is releasing Infinite Warfare. A FPS in which players battle it out in the intense firefights the series is know for, but with the added twist of dogfights—in space. Let me rephrase in Infinite Warfare you can shoot things with futuristic weaponry, run on walls, use a jetpack, jump into a spaceship, go to FUCKIN’ space, destroy a space freighter and come back down to shoot things on earth, but no one was impressed. This time it wasn’t lack of innovation, but lack of realism like the old CODs that did not satisfy the gamers. -_-
The Infinite Warfare trailer, which is not too bad excluding the clashing music choice, is now one of the most down-voted videos on YouTube. The amount of down-votes rank around the same for the Ghostbuster trailer, a coincidence I will not dive into for fear of being flamed or doxxed.
The contempt for Infinite Warfare doesn’t seem justified. What we’ve seen is not awful by any means and maybe if presented under a different name would be lovingly welcomed. The E3 gameplay walkthrough showed a pretty dynamic range of combat abilities and situations that were dare I say borderline innovated. The audience seemed afraid to applaud in full.
A fear that is justified because you will be crucified for showing interest in the new COD over its more beloved cousin Battlefield One (a game I am excited for, but this isn’t the point). There is no room for debate. It’s the “objective” truth that Battlefield is superior. “RIP COD,” “LUL COD FAGZ,” and so on.
This loud faction of gamers are not unlike religious zealots spreading their belief with toxic abandon. You wonder if the High Sparrow from GoT is running the COD hate campaign. These hate narratives could be attributed to the years of gamers falling victim to marketing pitches. A defense mechanism. But it is also the insular nature of the video game community.
The vocal minority in gaming holds a lot of power because of the double edge sword that is games as a service. But this also means that hate narratives have somehow become universally authentic. You cannot argue against this narrative because these loudmouths are the gatekeepers of all that is good in gaming.
The hate narratives may protect us from hype, but do so with the fist of man-child fascism. The hate usually amounts to building the hype narrative for a competing game and injecting the larger gaming community with unneeded toxicity.
At the end of the day, these are video games where you shoot things, not cancer research or the choice of political leaders. The disparaging of fans and developers who like a different thing seems like a pathetic response over a $60 stake.