Deus Ex and Madden NFL 2012 have officially ended the dreaded “summer drought of gaming”. However there are two standout games, or rather publishing companies that I wanted to talk about: Electronic Arts and Activision. Two very large gaming publishers that look to come away with a large amount of profit this upcoming season with two triple A first person shooters in E.A.’s Battlefield 3 and Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. A lot of noise from these two companies came from the GamesCom a couple weeks ago. Both EA’s CEO Jeff Brown and Activision’s new CEO Eric Hirshberg went back and forth trading barbs at one another.
As someone who doesn’t usually play either Call of Duty or Battlefield, or very many first person shooters to begin with, I thought it, these two are just acting like children arguing “my game is better than your game” with the other saying “Nuh-uh, my game is better than your game”. I don’t know how anyone else views it, I’m sure Call of Duty fans will back their brand as will the Battlefield fans. So instead of getting involved, I decided to play both sides against the middle, I mean give a little advise as an outsider to both companies.
First up, Electronic Arts.
Make the Gun Club better: Early access to betas, demos and exclusive guns are nice, but Activision has Call of Duty Elite, which has a little bit of a deeper experience. CoD Elite gives a little more bang for the (free) buck, offering stats, and helping other CoD gamers form their own teams when they play together online. Gun Club can offer more to it’s fans that help them become more involved with the product AND become better gamers at the same time.
Keep showing off the Frostbite 2 engine: As much as I don’t play these games, I for one have to admit something, this game just looks phenomenal. A new engine running the game and most of the trailers they’ve been showing for the game itself is all in game footage. I love the fact that EA isn’t putting out trailers that are worked on outside of the game.
Focus on YOUR brand: We all know Call of Duty has a huge share of the first person shooter’s market, however if you keep talking about Activision and Call of Duty, you’ll risk losing yourself in the shuffle of madness. When people hear Call of Duty, they’ll think of Call of Duty. Do yourself a favor and just keep building Battlefield as THE experience you want gamers to have.
Now for Activision’s turn.
Don’t burn this series out with the fans: When EA CEO Jeff Brown mentioned the Tony Hawk and Guitar Hero franchises, listen to the hidden message. The biggest reason those games failed was because of the lack of innovation and sequel fatigue. Games like Halo took time with their products. The companies behind games with sequels don’t have two separate developers working on one game this year, and another one next year. Granted you can afford the luxury, but do you want to run that risk of fans getting tired of your game?
Make the single player campaign the heart of the game: As long as I’m being honest, if a game is online heavy, I’m probably going to avoid it. I personally don’t like the idea of paying $60 for a game that feels like only one side was given the attention to detail. I’m not bashing the previous CoD single player campaigns but the biggest problem I have with them is that they’re short. Paying full price for a game for one feature isn’t worth the paying full price. However, it’s probably only my opinion.
For future reference, Activision and EA, take some time off from the CoD and Battlefield franchises. Give a shot to something different. I’m not telling you to go away altogether, I’m not saying fold the franchises, or end them with these upcoming titles. I’m saying give your fans two, maybe three or four years until all of us hear “Call of Duty” or “Battlefield” again. I’m not a fan, but if I have to keep hearing about those games, the more it makes me want to play Batman: Arkham City.