This generation of consoles has brought about the rise of multiplayer gaming in a way never seen before. Sure, the original XBox and the PS2 had some online functionality, and PC gamers have been at it for years, but the PS3 and 360 has brought online gaming to the masses. Both kids and adults, males and females get involved. It’s a chance to try your skills against real players instead of AI driven opponents, and a way to prove just how great you are at your chosen game.
There’s no denying that the Call of Duty series has been a driving force in online gaming. The first Modern Warfare title exploded onto the scene and set the bar very high for what was to be expected from future online FPS experiences, so why are many gamers now starting to look at Modern Warfare 3 with disdain and instead turn their attentions to the incredible looking Battlefield 3?
The answer, I think, sits not with the Call of Duty franchise itself but with the mechanics of the multiplayer itself. Most of COD’s multiplayer action is competitive, by which I mean the main focus is fighting against others. Sure you’ve got the usual Capture the Flag modes, or games where capturing certain points is the order of the day, in which those working as a team tend to fare better than your average team of individuals. But it’s the co-operative nature of the Battlefield games that seems to be capturing more and more gamers’ imaginations, and with the squad-based games seen in EA’s title set to continue in mind-blowing fashion it appears to us from chatting with several gamers on a range of gaming forums that Modern Warfare is losing its shine.
This could be put down to “Yo Momma Syndrome”. That’s not an official technical term, I just this second made it up. It’ll catch on though, trust me. This feeling that some 8 year old kids who spend every waking moment either at school or on their console are not only kicking the crap out of you, but also making suggestions about what your mother got up to last night; that feeling has put a huge number of older gamers off the franchise and the more mature co-op based sessions are bringing more and more gamers towards Battlefield. But I think it’s more likely to be the fact that people are starting to feel lonely running round in a team of 7 or 8 other faceless people, having a whole team shouting stuff over the comms. Working in a small team, in amongst a larger one, gives a much more satisfying sense of making a difference. Sure, you might finish in the bottom few on the scoreboard but you saved your squadmate from an ambush at a crucial point in the match. It worked beautifully with Bad Company 2, it worked brilliantly in MAG, and it’s a huge draw to gamers who want to make a difference. Not everyone wants to appear at the top of the scoreboard after all.
So could it be that Modern Warfare 3 could retrieve it’s falling fanbase just by adding some more squad-based games, or is it time to just let the Momma Squad (again, that’ll catch on, surely) stick to their parental suggestions and let the rest of us enjoy Battlefield 3? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.