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Leaked Activision Memos Compare CoD, Guitar Hero 101

Posted by Soulskill
from the rehashing-innovation dept.
Gaming site Giant Bomb got its hands on some internal memos at Activision discussing the status of their flagship Call of Duty franchise. One exec asks, "Isn't Call of Duty today just like Guitar Hero was a few years back?" A response assures him that Call of Duty is more firmly entrenched than the recently-collapsed music game genre, and adds that Activision doesn't get enough credit for innovating. Quoting: "If you really step back and dispassionately look at any measurement—sales, player engagement, hours of online play, performance of DLC—you can absolutely conclude that the potential for this franchise has never been greater. In order to achieve this potential, we need to focus: on making games that constantly raise the quality bar; on staying ahead of the innovation curve; on surrounding the brand with a suite of services and an online community that makes our fans never want to leave. Entertainment franchises with staying power are rare. But Call of Duty shows all of the signs of being able to be one of them. It’s up to us. ... Activision doesn’t always seem to get the credit it deserves in terms of innovation in my opinion, but there is no short supply of it, even in our narrower slate." An editorial at Gamepro takes exception to this, saying that Activision should stop trying to milk its franchises dry.
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Leaked Activision Memos Compare CoD, Guitar Hero

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  • by Onuma (947856) on Friday April 22, 2011 @07:55AM (#35905190)
    CounterStrike (and CS:S) is still one of the most popular shooters in the world. It also has, to this day, a large competitive scene.

    What did the original developers of CS, and eventually Valve, do to make it such a long standing success? It was a FREE mod to anyone who owned Half-Life, and even when it went gold you could still download freely. Despite it being free, it sold 4+ million copies! Likewise with CS:S to anyone who owned HL2, this still sold 2+ million copies. You can still hop on either game and find tens of thousands of people playing on thousands of servers. While the later releases of the CoD series (COD4 and beyond, we'll say for our purposes) may have more users consistently playing, they're also not over 11 years old!

    Personally, I'm hoping that http://www.firefallthegame.com/ [firefallthegame.com], which will be FREE as well, also has the competitive nature and staying power of CS. Got to play it against the developers at PAX East '11 (they kicked the crap out of our group, btw -- all very solid players), and it's a nicely paced shooter which flows very well. Scott Youngblood (of Starsiege: Tribes) is the lead designer, and many of the devs come from the competitive shooter world; Quake, CS, Tribes, etc. They're all down to earth guys, but they also have the desire and drive to make a game for gamers, by gamers. Not this "Rehashing the same old bullshit", Activision-style.

    Making money should be the byproduct of a great game, not the reverse. COD4 had the right formula, but Activision milked it so hard and alienated the PC gaming community. That's a LOT of business they've lost out on.
  • Re:That'd be the day (Score:5, Interesting)

    by keytoe (91531) on Friday April 22, 2011 @02:26PM (#35908550) Homepage

    I don't want to be forced into an online experience with the difficulty set at insane (with human opponents), playing the same 10 maps over and over. I want a story. I want a campaign, character development, storytelling. I want to do story-based missions and otherwise play a console game.

    My wife likes to play shooters, but she likes to play with me. This is incredibly awesome, but more and more games are making this impossible.

    We picked up CoD: Black Ops specifically because it claimed to support cooperative multiplayer. Turns out that the co-op feature only works online. As in, not in your house. I even did research before I bought the game, but every review just drooled all over it and said 'cooperative multiplayer' without further specification.

    So we got a single player game that neither of us want to play or we can get murdered in death matches by squealing 12 year olds. Or I could play co-op with some stranger I don't care about. So we just played zombies, which got old pretty quick. I'd say we got about $20 worth of fun for a game that cost $60.

    This whole 'build an online community at the expense of all else' bullshit needs to stop. I want to play games with people in my house. It seems the only company who remembers this is Nintendo. So my options are 'games for adults who aren't in your house' or 'games for kids who are in your house' - but that skips an entire group of people who want to play 'games for adults with other adults in the house'. There are a large number of us in this demographic, and we have money to spend.

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

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