FIFA, Call of Duty and Co .: Where is the risk tolerance of the developers?

FIFA, Call of Duty and Co .: Where is the risk tolerance of the developers?

FIFA, Call of Duty and Co .

Who doesn't know the classic film "Groundhog Day"? In the gaming industry, this pattern has been used in some series for years. Two publishers in particular are pushing it to the limit regardless of loss: Electronic Arts and Activision. In September EA launches a graphics upgrade of its predecessor with FIFA XY year after year, Activision adds in November and publishes a new Call of Duty, which was often bugged at the beginning. Twelve months later, the whole thing repeats itself again. In my column, I want to explain why I would like big publishers to be more risk-taking when developing these blockbuster games.

FIFA, Call of Duty and Co .: Where's the developers' willingness to take risks?

1 Strength lies in calm 2 Too much Tiki-Taka even for Pep 3 As many newbies as possible, As many bugs as possible 4 Back to the roots Recommended editorial content Here you will find external content from [PLATTFORM]. To protect your personal data, external integrations are only displayed if you confirm this by clicking on "Load all external content": Load all external content I consent to external content being displayed to me. This means that personal data is transmitted to third-party platforms. Read more about our privacy policy . External content More on this in our data protection declaration.

There is strength in calm

In between, EA also brings new modes such as Volta or a story to FIFA. However, these wear out quickly. Source: PC Games First we have to clarify where the main problem lies at the moment: As a big fan of FIFA and Call of Duty, I find the direction that both series have been taking for a long time, extremely worrying. The requests of the community are hardly or not at all responded to, and the scope and condition of the recently published games is mostly disappointing. But why is that? On the one hand, video games are becoming more and more complex and big brands like FIFA or Call of Duty in particular require a large number of employees. This of course also extends the development time of the games immensely. Many games that I recently bought on the day of the release not only seemed unfinished despite the Day One patch, but also sometimes lacked content that the developers had obviously planned for. This phenomenon did not stop at AAA titles either. If I had made a list of the bugs and game crashes in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, I would have run out of paper and storage space very quickly.

The license packages in FIFA are the most important difference for many fans compared to other soccer simulations like PES. Source: PC Games So the question arises for me: Why do publishers still hold on to releasing a new part of their series every year? Yes, it has to be said that we gamblers are extremely spoiled and quickly hating as soon as our beloved games are postponed. But by now it should also be clear to developers and publishers that this negative mood will turn as soon as the end product meets the requirements of most players. Even hardcore fans of CoD or FIFA would get over it if the titles pause for a year to fully implement innovations. Especially in the case of soccer simulation, it would be possible to just bring out a simple annual squad upgrade. And I would even be ready to pay a certain amount for the new license package. Because let's not kid ourselves, we'd rather score goals with Cristiano Ronaldo for Juventus Turin than with Christopher Roncalli for Piemonte Calcio. Gameplay and graphic updates paired with new game modes and fresh ideas could then integrate Electronic Arts into a new title every second year and offer it again at full price. Maybe this would entice old fans like me to grab the latest part. Ubisoft did just that with the Assassin's Creed series and Valhalla.

Too much Tiki-Taka even for Pep

Let's stick with EA's soccer simulation. However, I find it difficult to use the word "simulation" in one sentence with FIFA. Before all the PES fans rub their hands in anticipation, let me tell you, I am of the opinion that neither title deserves the addition of simulation. Realistically, plays and player movements in both titles have very little to do with a real football game. On the one hand, there is Artificial Intelligence, which is supposed to be the best of all time every year, but which acts absolutely unrealistic in most situations. On the other hand, the stupid button presses of human players, where almost every ball arrives perfectly, also seems absolutely surreal. A fairly easy way to change this would be there and has been in the game for many years.

Supposedly the best FIFA ever comes out year after year, but most of the gameplay changes have minimal impact. Source: PC Games With a few friends I thought about switching the controls over to manual for FIFA 07 and have stuck to this optional function to this day. This adjustment makes the game feel much more realistic and even the inhuman movements of my A.I. boys on the pitch are reduced. Should I tear the stick once in distress when closing the goal and accidentally aim towards the corner flag, then the ball will also fly there and not hit the top corner of the goal. FIFA lacks this sense of realism completely in my eyes and nothing will change that as long as a support system intervenes in the "simulation".

FIFA is extremely competitive and everyone wants to be the best. It doesn't matter whether they're run-of-the-mill players like me or professionals from the esports sector. So why not create the same conditions for everyone and remove all aids from the game? After a short period of acclimatization, the automatic passing and shooting would be quickly forgotten and the better would win the game in the end. It's not that simple, of course, but the underdogs also cheer every now and then in real football. Perhaps that way even the voices will fall silent after the momentum in FIFA. Although, no, this mystery will probably never completely disappear from the game.

As many newcomers as possible, as many bugs as possible

The Black Ops Cold War campaign was again short, exciting and action-packed . There are other issues. Source: PC Games Although three different studios are working on Call of Duty, it sometimes seems as if the development cycles are too short to bring a finished game to market for release. Both the 2019 reboot Modern Warfare and the latest installment in the series, Black Ops Cold War, revealed huge weaknesses at the time of publication. From display errors in the main menu to gross sound and graphics bugs to constant game crashes, the players were presented with a wide range of possible errors. In my run through the Black Ops Cold War campaign, for example, my PS4 gamepad kept disconnecting from the console during a mission, so restarting the PlayStation was inevitable. Only after an extensive patch was I able to rush into the story again. But that's nowhere near the worst.

The Call of Duty franchise has been criticized for years for its outdated engine. The next parts urgently need an adjustment of the balancing in multiplayer. Source: PC Games Let's come to the most important part of the first person shooter: the multiplayer. I'm not leaning too far out of the window when I claim that the majority of all players buy a new Call of Duty solely for the multiplayer part. For years, Activision, together with the responsible developer studios Infinity Ward, Treyarch and Sledgehammer Games, offered fast, action-packed battles on much smaller maps like in other shooters à la Battlefield. But in my opinion, CoD is now heading in the completely wrong direction. In contrast to earlier parts, for example, most of the multiplayer cards have absolutely no recognition value and are only designed for competitive esports events. Maps from Modern Warfare or Modern Warfare 2 such as Verwuchert, Terminal, Favela or Kreuzfeuer bring back fond memories of great battles to this day. Current cards, on the other hand, mostly just offer cover and spots that are difficult to see.

Back to the roots

I mentioned it at the beginning. Video games are becoming more and more complex and the times when a new part of the series has to appear every year are a thing of the past. Activision should also slowly notice this and take a little more time to develop a new Call of Duty. The ever-decreasing number of players in Black Ops Cold War should not leave the publisher unaffected. And just focusing on the well-running Warzone would be a mistake in the fast-paced gaming world.

Unlike EA, Activison tries to innovate at CoD. But here it fails because of the finished implementation. Source: PC Games But let's get back to the actual topic: What risk should Activision take in order to satisfy the fans again? Because although we gamblers the outcry quickly, we always come back quickly to our old love. At least as soon as the development goes in a positive direction. Many players are currently annoyed by the fact that Call of Duty wants to be extremely beginner-friendly on the one hand - keyword skill-based matchmaking - but on the other hand it is very clear that it remains suitable for e-sports. However, this has left the masses in the middle, i.e. the mainstream players, quite lonely for years. Because it is also very clear that not everyone wants to play only rounds in which they meet similarly strong players due to matchmaking. After a hard day at school or at work, fun should be the main focus of evening gaming. At least an optional game mode, in which I can deactivate the skill-based matchmaking if desired, would be helpful and would bring back the fun for many fans of the series. Perhaps Call of Duty would lose some new prospects as a result of this change, but I am also sure that a number of players would rediscover their enthusiasm for the shooter.

Killing chains in Black Ops Cold War earn significantly more points than the capture of flags or positions. This makes certain game modes superfluous. Source: PC Games Another extreme problem in CoD is the balancing. By that I don't mean primarily the balance of the weapons, but the allocation of points in the different game modes. The first person shooter differed in earlier series parts due to the fast action and short, crisp rounds from competitors like Battlefield. But now Call of Duty is developing more and more into a positional battle. As already mentioned, on the one hand the maps with their innumerable coverage possibilities are to blame, on the other hand also the awarding of the experience points. There would have to be a significantly greater reward for goal-based play so that a game of domination or headquarters develops into that game mode and not a simple deathmatch. The game could, for example, give the winning team twice the number of experience points or just half the amount to the losers of the round. Incidentally, the same principle also works when playing the series of points or kills that are usual in Call of Duty. A little more courage in development would be absolutely desirable.

Maybe I have to admit that money rules the world and that sales records in the release week and transactions in the in-game shop are worth more than a finished and fun game .

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