The Potential of Call of Duty’s Singleplayer


Last time I talked about the Battlefield franchise trying to find its way in regard to singleplayer, but I honestly always thought there was some potential left on the floor with Call of Duty as well. That franchise already has a formula that works, but that doesn’t mean they can’t add something new.

At this point the main reason a lot of people buy COD is to rank up and unlock stuff in multiplayer. Infinity Ward designed a pretty addictive feedback loop that’s been so successful the entire industry is ripping off of it. Why can’t they bring some of that into the campaign, or make a new singleplayer mode with that feedback loop?

Maybe that’s basically what the Zombies mode in Treyarch’s games is, I’ve never actually touched that mode so I don’t know. From what I do know it’s mainly a co-op game. One of my favorite modes in Modern Warfare 3 however is Spec Ops Survival. Spec Ops also happens to be an affair balanced for co-op — you can’t get very far playing it solo.

I personally find survival mode to be more comfortable without having to deal with human competition, and it has the same feedback loop that makes multiplayer so successful. I just wish there was a version of it balanced for solo play. I think Activision could go further if it tried though.

COD’s unlock system basically works like an RPG. Your weapon loadouts are essentially equipment upgrades not unlike those of, say, a dungeon-crawler.

If Activision could somehow work in some long form level design for players to fight through while earning XP and loot I think it could be a unique take on both first person shooters and RPGs. The closest thing we have to this right now is probably Borderlands 2.

It’s perfectly sensible why Activision would stick to its current singleplayer formula though. It’s successful and is technically the core of the franchise.

COD didn’t even become especially known for multiplayer until the first Modern Warfare game — the earlier entries mostly being acclaimed for their superior singleplayer campaign design — that rollercoaster formula that everyone else has tried to copy. I still think Infinity Ward is one of only a handful of studios actually able to properly design shooter campaigns that way. It should still be a part of COD, but that doesn’t mean they can’t put new modes on the top. I remember the first Modern Warfare game having an “arcade” version of the campaign. Do later COD games still have that?

COD has become known for the ridiculous amount of content packed into each disc — the campaign alongside many multiplayer and co-op modes, almost like three complete games really. Some kind of singleplayer mode that leverages Activision’s patented multiplayer and co-op upgrade systems in my opinion could be an excellent addition to modes like spec ops and zombies.


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