In a recent interview with GameSpot, Activision explains why last-gen consoles won’t have a single player campaign mode for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3.
After Activision announced that Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 will have no campaign mode for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 a little more than a week ago, citing the story mode’s “ambitious scope” being too much for the dated consoles to handle, the game’s producer Jason Blundell said that he completely supported the publisher’s decision to do so. Rather than lament the inevitable decline of last-gen consoles’ lifespans with Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 only offering the older systems multiplayer content, Blundell said:
“My job is to push the current-gen consoles as far as I can. When I heard that an old-gen version was going to be made outside of Treyarch, and found out the things that would have to be cut in order for it to work, I was fully behindActivision‘s decision to remove it.”
Of course, the removal of Black Ops 3‘s campaign for last-gen hardware will prompt many gamers to proclaim that it doesn’t matter anyway, for narrative-driven modes in first-person shooters such as those found in the Call of Duty franchise are barely played, as fans focus more on the multiplayer experience. However, according to Blundell, those assertions are simply not true, because the data tells a different story. Regarding the matter, he said:
“You say that fewer people are playing campaigns these days, but our metrics say different. This was an active topic at Treyarch, until our numbers showed us that, regardless of what you read on forums, players spend a good amount of time in all modes.”
As some might agree, the CoD series has jumped the shark many times in the past, and a few of the older games’ utterly ridiculous plot points have hurt the reputation of future titles’ inclusion of single player modes. However, the long-running FPS franchise has managed to incorporate a handful ofshocking moments, as well as several decent tales along the way. As it happens, Blundell even goes so far as to stake his claim in the importance of storytelling not only in the Call of Duty series, but also in video games as a whole.
“I’ll say this, and this is my personal view, the death of storytelling and the death of campaign is the death of society. As a medium, we have to tell stories. For Black Ops, it’s absolutely essential to continue the art of storytelling.”
Although Black Ops 3‘s diegetic offerings could very well end up being outlandish dreck, Blundell has still made a solid point. No matter the platform, there’s always a story that’s worthy of simply being expressed, and collectively, we need them to exist in order to be compelled, enlivened, and inspired.
Video games are rooted in narrative. Even the most basic, rudimentary titles like the early Super Mario Bros. releases have story lines, albeit strange ones. So whether it’s a tale about a mushroom-eating plumber rescuing a princess from a giant fire-breathing lizard, or a plot about futuristic soldiers fighting in a war for mankind’s survival, it’s essential that there’s a story within the art we consume that speaks to us as human beings.
With that said, should fans stuck with last-gen hardware wish to experience Black Ops 3‘s story, it’s high time to make the upgrade. Another good reason to do so is due to the near-certainty that many other studios will be ceasing support for Xbox 360s and PS3s soon enough.