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The Call of Duty Cold War hype seems like Stockholm Syndrome

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was announced last week, and as half of the gaming world lost their mind, the other half (myself included) are wondering what the hype is all about. As someone who stopped playing Call of Duty after Ghosts, I’ve been kicking back and watching the downfall of Modern Warfare leading up to Cold War’s announcement.

The gaming series has a long and tumultuous history, but the most recent title, Modern Warfare, has been one of the worst received installments.

Call of Duty keeps getting better?

The Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War trailer wasn’t bad, just more of what you can expect from Call of Duty. Fans are greeted with explosive b-roll scenes that draw inspiration from Tropic Thunder and The Expendables, followed by a cameo from Ronald Reagan with an “uplifting” speech about doing whatever it takes to save America.

The appearance seems dated and unnecessary amidst the U.S. Army being asked about their war crimes live on a Twitch stream, but the game was in the making long before the controversy popped up. The last 30 seconds of explosions and guns that don’t seem to fit the Cold War era made me wonder what really got people this excited for the trailer, or Call of Duty.

Every year, either Treyarch, Infinity Ward, or Sledgehammer Games develop a new Call of Duty title. The series has trapped its fans in a perpetual cycle of high expectations, half-baked game mechanics, and the eventual disappointment, only for the cycle to begin again and fans to forget the sins of the previous installment.

CoD, at its core, is a twitchy bright-burning shooter full of action that only holds its appeal for so long. Each developer only needs their game to last a year before the next installment comes and wipes the slate clean, for better or worse.

Stockholm Syndrome

No matter how many Call of Duty fans are let down and discarded, the next installment comes with the promise that things will get better. The clear cash grabs, misguided story attempts, servers that are running on hamster wheels, and more hackers than ever before, leads me and others to doubt the stability of Call of Duty long-term, and the franchise’s priorities.

The CoD strategy doesn’t seem to be about making worthwhile games anymore, but rather doing what they can through marketing to get the hype train fired up and keep it from derailing for a year.

The Call of Duty League hosted its championship weekend and the Dallas Empire walked away with the rings and trophy. This will likely be the last official tournament played on Modern Warfare, and brings a troubled time to a close. The reveal of Black Ops: Cold War is a light at the end of the tunnel for Call of Duty fans and players.

Regardless of whether or not the title succeeds, it will still benefit CoD as a whole. If Cold War is successful, Call of Duty is revitalized and soon Modern Warfare will be a forgotten fever dream. And if the latest addition fails horribly, it will only make the next game that much sweeter.

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Malik Shelp

I am a digital media specialist focusing on the entertainment industry and producing visual and written content. I began in the music industry covering music festivals and interviewing artists before transitioning to sports. I primarily cover Overwatch, Call of Duty, and occasionally Fortnite and CS:GO.
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