At 2/4/13 04:06 PM, orangebomb wrote:
I don't know about the most cynical pandering and all that, but considering that this is Activision we're talking about, it is somewhat justified due to the fact that Kotick is still the head man there.
Yeah, but just because we expect something to be mediocre shouldn't make it immune to harsh criticism when it is mediocre. This Deadspin article about a scathing review of Guy Fieri's restaurant, of all things, from a couple months ago does a pretty good job of articulating the problem (though it gets more than a little histrionic at times).
But of course you're right that people have no business criticizing the content of these games when they haven't actually played them.
if that's what the fans want, then naturally, they will continue to make it.
I think it's a little more complicated than "they're just giving the fans what they want." See below, but basically I think It's kind of a self-perpetuating chicken-and-egg cycle between genuine fan support, calculated lowest-common-denominator pandering, and perhaps (at least I'd argue) most importantly, millions and millions of dollars in marketing.
It was pretty clear right from the start that is was designed to be a Hollywood like shooter game
Fair enough, but I think what people are (understandably) upset about is that there are far too many Hollywood-like shooter games being made right now, and the runaway success of CoD is at least partly to blame for that. Not to mention that other games have gone for similar levels of broad commercial appeal and Hollywood bombast without sacrificing legitimately compelling game mechanics and/or narrative (e.g. Gears of War, Uncharted, arguably Halo, maybe even BioShock or GTA if you want to stretch your genre definitions).
with an emphasis on multiplayer, largely due to the boom on online play.
I don't think that was readily apparent until around Modern Warfare 2. The shift in this direction has been gradual, and again, people are upset because this has sparked a trend that's affected the entire industry.
And the point of my last post was that CoD's multiplayer isn't just bad or boring game design, it's cynical, maybe even malicious game design. The entire structure of CoD's multiplayer is built around more or less tricking the player into spending more time and money on the game in lieu of offering a substantively entertaining experience. It's like the somewhat similar carrot-and-stick treadmilling you find in MMOs, or the way "social games" like Farmville essentially encourage the player to pay real money to not play the game. Even if these games end up being fun anyway (I certainly do enjoy playing CoD, and I don't totally regret the time I spent on MMOs back in the day), from a design standpoint it's still just a really cold, mean-spirited, extortionate way to go about making video games, and I don't think it's the kind of thing we ought to encourage.
Say what you will about either the glut of Hollywood action movies or video games, the bottom line is that both are driven by fan support, and if the fans happen to like it, then more will be made to satisfy the demand.
So yeah, I find the idea of "the fans happen to like it" to be problematic for two main reasons. First of all, Call of Duty isn't some cult object, it's one of the highest-selling entertainment franchises of all time. So "the fans" is a pretty nebulous term to be using in such an all-encompassing way. My roommate is a "fan" of CoD and can maybe count all the video games he's ever played on one hand. I'm also a "fan" of CoD and I'm sitting here on a video game forum writing massive walls of text about how shitty I think it is.
CoD "fans" comprise every single audience demographic and cultural group you can think of. CoD isn't popular because it happened to hit upon some golden idea that all of these disparate people love. It's popular because it's been deliberately calculated to appeal to the widest possible audience. In all media, that strategy necessarily results in works that are bland and uninspired (so as to be inoffensive and accessible).
Secondly, video game fandom doesn't exist in a vacuum. Millions upon millions of dollars have gone into making sure everyone recognizes the Call of Duty brand, into splashy convention premieres and generous, glowing previews from gaming "journalists." Those fans waiting in line at midnight? Look, who am I to say they don't genuinely love CoD games, but it's still worth noting the months of constant PR hype that preceded this moment. Advertising is a much more powerful force than we often give it credit for. Activision can say they're just giving the fans what they want, but that logic is kind of circular when Activision spends so much time and money telling the fans what they should want.
I guess my point is that the "popularity" of video games can't seriously be used as a democratic indicator of quality, or as an excuse for lack of quality, because doing so ignores the enormous amount of money and resources being exerted by massive companies to influence their "voters" (hell, you could say the same thing about actual voting lolololol). Obviously it doesn't always work this way - there are plenty of examples of surprise hits and heavily hyped flops - but it's definitely the general trend.
I'm not against criticism of a game/franchise, but maybe you should play the game before making a judgement about the game, and trying to convince others to feel the same way as you do.