Wednesday, 27 June 2012
4 reasons that Call of Duty and Battlefield are Copying each other
Majority of FPS players have a pretty good idea on what to expect when it comes to Military shooters...especially when it comes to the yearly staple diet of Call of Duty and Battlefield games (or Medal of Honor on EA's side) that arrive like clockwork every November.
Both franchises have always been different in their own ways, and have always stood apart for a number of reasons, but as military shooters go, both compete for the same online space when it comes to multiplayer.
These distinct differences have lead to a dedicated following of either the one or the other and both sides swear that their game is better.
As everyone knows, Call of Duty is a massive success, and year upon year the sheer number of players flocking to purchase their own copy defies imagination. Battlefield, though not as successful as Call of Duty in sales, has generated a great deal of interest and a particularly zealous following.
Call of Duty has generally prided itself on it's intense close combat and fast and frantic gameplay, whereas Battlefield has always focused on their inclusion of vehicular warfare and much larger environments.
However, at the moment both franchises look to change things up quite significantly and when looking at the successes and failures of each...it may be interesting to note that both seem to be copying the other.
To show where I'm coming from...a bit of a history lesson is in order.
Out of the two franchises, Battlefield was actually the first to surface in 2002, with Battlefield 1942 being the first in EA's acclaimed series. Released after EA's other successful military shooter (Medal of Honor), they had already made a name for themselves in this genre.
Battlefield 1942 was structured as a purely multiplayer experience (local play or online) and focused a great deal on holding strategic points on the map which was at that stage quite unusual for First Person Shooters.
In 2003, Activision released the original Call of Duty which was a purely Single player experience (similar to Medal of Honor) and made it's name by depicting more realistic military scenarios and providing the player with assistance from NPC's within the game as the story progressed.
Battlefield Vietnam followed in 2004, and Call of Duty 2 the year after in 2005. While Battlefield Vietnam retained its focus on multiplayer, the Call of Duty Franchise began to show it's capabilities for multiplayer as well.
Both games were well received and both publishers must have started to realize that competition would remain strong for several years to come.
In 2006, EA released Battlefield 2142, which surprised many due to it's futuristic setting. In November of the same year Call of Duty 3 was released, which showed a greater emphasis on competitive multiplayer.
At this point potential rivalry's between EA and Activision may have started showing and possibly preceded the open contention that both companies show towards each other to this day.
In the years to come, the Battlefield series began to show more of a focus on Single player with their Battlefield Bad company series, and the Call of Duty franchise took the multiplayer world by storm with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (and is still considered by many to be the best in series).
At this point, November release dates for Call of Duty games became the norm.
The release of Battlefield 3 earlier this year was a much anticipated revival of the core series, with a major focus on what made the original Battlefield series so appealing. Larger environments were once again more emphasized and the graphical engine was updated.
Instead of entirely focusing on multiplayer in their core franchise this time...EA made a valiant (yet unsuccessful) attempt at providing an experience that appealed to the Single Player as well.
Suddenly Call of Duty has a proper competitor again, and although they still dominate the franchise.....they may have begun to sweat a bit about their prospects for the future...
And so now both franchises are now set to start copying the other.....and here are the reasons why:
1.) Futuristic combat
While the Battlefield series did delve into Futuristic Warfare with Battlefield 2142, the Call of Duty series has always remained in the past or present.
The announcement of Call of Duty Black Ops 2 and its futuristic setting was surprising for fans, as Activision (and Infinity Ward - the developer behind the Black Ops series) has a tendency to stay within the less dangerous waters of what they already know. Emphasis has generally been placed on building what is already there.
Black Ops 2 will mark the first time that a Call of Duty game has been set in the future, and puts Call of Duty on par with Battlefield in this regard. 1 for 1.......what happens next?
2.) Close Combat vs Open Warfare
Interestingly enough, while Call of Duty has always been up close and personal involving gameplay, and Battlefield has always prided itself on a larger map which allows for greater strategic decisions......they both appear to be changing their core dynamic in this regard to a point.
On the Call of Duty side, Black Ops 2 has been showcased as being open world (to a degree) - in its single player campaign at least. Focus has shifted to allow you to jump to different units within specific skirmishes to allow for a more open experience.
The choice of which skirmishes you choose to play will ultimately determine the outcome of the war (which will further the developing RPG mechanic behind the previous entries in the series)
No details regarding multiplayer have been revealed yet, but many fans are hopeful that these open choices will spill over.
On the Battlefield side of things, close quarters combat has become a primary focus in their DLC and may end up finding it's way into future entries in the series. The primary example of this is a DLC pack for Battlefield 3 titled "Close Quarters" which has new map modes specifically designed for more close combat gameplay.
3.) Vehicular warfare
Since the very beginning, the Battlefield series has had the added benefit of being able to jump into a vehicle and blast your enemies from a different (and often devastating) perspective. Call of Duty has generally steered clear of this to a larger degree. The occasional stage in the single player campaign or killstreaks in multiplayer did have it to a certain degree...but it never gave you much freedom in when or where you were able to utilize them.
Battlefield always had vehicles available on majority of their maps which could be grabbed at any time. The thrill of jumping into a tank, jet or helicopter to do some heavy damage is second to none.
Black Ops 2 and its more open choice regarding unit selection leaves many of these possibilities open. Video Clips shown of the single player campaign indicate that not only will infantry units be selectable......but vehicular units may be as well. Some of these clips show Air combat, although it's uncertain as to what degree you will be able to navigate them.....the potential definitely exists for a greater degree of control.
4.) Single Player Campaign
Call of Duty has undeniably been impressive in it's multiplayer offerings, but even those who don't have an internet connection still flock to buy the game.
Their Single Player offerings may have been overshadowed by the sheer daunting brilliance of their multiplayer...but in truth, the Call of Duty series has never really dipped in quality when it comes to their single player campaign either.
The Single Player campaign of Battlefield 3 was disappointing, but much of that was due to fans wanting it to measure up to the multiplayer. When looking at it from a larger perspective...Battlefield is set to equal Call of Duty in future releases in this regard...
Truthfully, it's the balance that they should be wanting to achieve...a good single player campaign, with excellent multiplayer. In truth, this is where Call of Duty shines.
These are a few of the ways that both Call of Duty and Battlefield are copying each other in the Military FPS genre.
Short of EA and Activision joining forces to bring us the ultimate military shooter (a pipe dream for certain)....the fact that their competitive nature has allowed them to learn from each other may bring us the same.
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