What We Want From ‘Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’

Annual video game franchises are often characterized by one thing: stagnation. Sooner or later these series tend to lose their spark, usually due to repetition. Call of Duty has been on one of the biggest rolls in video game history for the past eight years, ever since 2007’s paradigm-shifting Modern Warfare, which brought the previously historical series up to current times.

Flash forward to 2016, and we’ve had three installments of Modern Warfare, another three of Black Ops (well, four if you count World at War), and three more one-offs. We’re looking at a series that — however much it has mixed things up over time — is feeling kind of played out.

On November 4, Activision will release Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. It’s being made by Infinity Ward, whose last game, Call of Duty: Ghosts was one of the series’s fumbles. Can Infinity Ward step up and deliver a game worthy of the franchise? Something that’s as memorable as Modern Warfare, which is also being remastered and released alongside the new game? Here’s what we want from Call of Duty: Infinite War.

A bold new vision

Nothing helps combat franchise fatigue better than big changes, so that’s exactly what Call of Duty needs. Sure, Black Ops 3 introduced things like bionic implants and wall-running, but it felt like an incremental step rather than a leap.

Infinite Warfare needs to be that leap — and judging by what we know so far, it looks promising.

Infinite Warfare will fling us further into the future than any previous installment, when space travel is as common as air travel is today. Based on hints in the trailer above and on things the developers have said, it looks like you’ll be able to fly a space ship in Infinite Warfare, and engage in space battles, as well as zero-gravity fights.

If Infinity Ward can pull it off, it could be bold new vision this series needs.

Futuristic weapons

Along with its futuristic setting, Infinite Warfare should crank out some crazy sci-fi weapons. The series has gone to the future before, but even in the most futuristic installments, the weapons available have been pretty standard fare. I’d love to see them add everything from laser rifles and Lightsabers to crazy new bombs and whatever other creative killing tools they can dream up. The tools of warfare have come a long way over the years. That’s not going to change in the future, so the weapons in Infinite War should reflect that.

Better campaign story

Maybe it’s just me, but I can remember very little about the story or characters in any Call of Duty game. They just haven’t made much of an impression. Call of Duty has always been better at delivering amazing individual moments than it has been at crafting a stellar story, or even one the average player can follow from level to level.

Like every Call of Duty installment, Infinite Warfare needs memorable set pieces. But if the developers can place those moments in key parts of a gripping story, they’ll have a much better game as a result. Based on the franchise’s history, though, I can’t say I’m optimistic.

It has to be better than Ghosts

Infinity Ward’s last game was 2013’s Call of Duty: Ghosts, which just so happens to be the worst-received installment in many years. Here’s hoping the developer took the criticism to heart and is building Infinite Warfare with fixes in mind. Ghosts wasn’t bad, but it didn’t live up to fans’ expectations. The last thing we need is another uninspired installment in the series.

We’ll hear much more about Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare in June at the E3 video game conference.

Follow Chris on Twitter @_chrislreed
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