The Call of Duty franchise has been one of Activision’s best-selling series for quite some time now. With multiple development studios creating a new game each year, the series has provided millions of FPS fans entertainment since it’s launch. The release of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare back in 2007 made the series more popular than ever, along with the rise of online console gaming. Despite the massive success, the franchise has seen the number of players dwindle with many of its most recent releases. Can the next Call of Duty game, Black Ops III, help bring more players back to the franchise?

The Call of Duty franchise is a series of FPS games published by gaming giant Activision. Each new game in the series has it’s own campaign storyline, many of which are connected, depending on the studio that developed the game. The most popular feature of any Call of Duty experience, by far, is the online multiplayer, where millions of players are able to shoot up other players on a team or on their own in a variety of game modes. Most Call of Duty titles also have a cooperative multiplayer experience that’s separate from the base online experience.

I mentioned before that Activision has more than one development studio that makes Call of Duty games. There’s 3, actually: Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games, and Treyarch. Each studio works on its own Call of Duty title, one of which is published by Activition. Sledgehammer’s title, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, is the most recent release, with Treyarch’s Black Ops III being released later this year. Next year, be on the lookout for a Call of Duty game developed by Infinity Ward.

It might seem silly for there to be a new Call of Duty title each year, but every studio’s game has its own flavor. Infinity Ward is best known for its Modern Warfare series of games, as well as Ghosts (which no one seemed to like as much); Treyarch is best known for the Black Ops series, World at War, and their Zombies co-op experience; and Sledgehammer, the newest CoD-producing studio under Activision’s umbrella, is known for last year’s Advanced Warfare title, as well as their support on Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare 3. Each of the individual studios’ games has its own feel to it, and are generally connected to other games in the studio’s series…and, of course, each one has the online multiplayer experience that so many seem to enjoy, including myself.

While this has been mostly profitable for Activision, it does have some downsides to it. Some might say that the game is copied and pasted every year (and some parts are, a lot of mechanics and animations are reused); some may also call the DLC map packs over-priced. Despite those things, up until the release of Advanced Warfare, many of the Call of Duty games being released were rather…repetitive. Like I said, each one seemed to have it’s own unique aspects, from Black Ops II’s futuristic setting and “Pick-10” system for online multiplayer, to the simplicity of the first Modern Warfare title; however, it wasn’t until Advanced Warfare was released that something completely new was brought to the Call of Duty franchise.

Some may argue otherwise, but the use of EXO-movements and abilities in 2014’s Advanced Warfare introduced something most Call of Duty players really wanted: something new. It may not be exactly what players wanted, but as a community, Call of Duty players were begging for something new in the series…and it’s ironic that Advanced Warfare didn’t seem to be as popular as previous titles.

I’ll be honest here: Call of Duty: Ghosts was the last CoD title I bought. I enjoyed it for the most part (although there were definitely some…questionable things in it), but I didn’t want to spend another $60 on another Call of Duty game. When Advanced Warfare was released, I was initially turned off about the EXO-suits and jumping around the maps; I thought it would ruin some of the enjoyment of playing if everyone was jumping around all the time. However, since its release, I’ve been watching gameplay from YouTubers like TheMarkofJ and EliteShot, and it reminded me of what I liked about Call of Duty in the first place: the fun factor.

Looking past the “over/under-powered” guns, lag issues, or total “WTF” moments that the game has provided me and a number of other players, I enjoy playing Call of Duty. I honestly like playing games online with or against other players, and this game’s fast-paced action brings a certain indescribable joy to me. No, the games in the series aren’t perfect, and yes, people that still use the UAV and aimbot hacks on older CoDs make my eyes roll. But I like the game itself, whether I buy the newest one every year or not.

Treyarch’s next title, Black Ops III, seems to take the EXO movements of Advanced Warfare and tone them way down…plus, Zombies, yo. I’ve been watching the reveals and pre-release gameplay and breakdowns, and I have to admit that I’m a bit excited for it. Is it going to be a perfect game? Heck nope. But I think it’ll be a fun game to play, and that’s what I play games for. And hey, maybe I can get away with asking for a copy for Christmas.

Do you enjoy Call of Duty? Are you planning on getting the next Call of Duty game, or are you done with the series? Leave your comments below.

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