If anyone has been keeping track of big-budget games, it’s no secret that fans of BF3 and MW3 will be keeping their fingers crossed this year for their respective games.
First of all, this really has nothing to do with Toys for Bob or Star Control. With the news of Activision closing studios and laying people off, these two games going head-to-head in direct competition will be another chapter in the big book of “video game politics”. I want to pay attention of the sales of these two games and how they are rated. It’s hard for me to guess which game will be more successful.
Remember Modern Warfare 2?
After Modern Warfare 2 was released, it was announced that there was a dispute over payment owed to Infinity Ward. This resulted in key members leaving to form a new studio under Electronic Arts, Respawn Entertainment. Jason West and Vince Zampella stated that are attempting to gain the rights to Call of Duty. At the moment, it seems like Activision still owns the franchise. After this time, Activision created a new studio called Sledgehammer Games; some people in this team have previously worked on Dead Space.
Another engine war
Both EA DICE and Infinity Ward showed off the latest versions of their respective engines. They are both in-house developed and compatible with Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. I don’t consider myself a graphical expert; they both look great to me and they clearly know how to use their tech. It’s one of the advantages of using custom in-house products instead of third-party: Complete control. They can even license the engine to other developers if they wanted to.
Who will have their finger on the trigger?
This is really the question I’m asking. Various developers have closed down or reduced their staff due to lower than expected sales. While I understand that these decisions are not made lightly, it makes me feel more nervous about who else will be next in line. What happens to Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games and Raven Software if BF3 has higher sales and ratings? What would happen to EA DICE if MW3 had higher sales and ratings? I have no idea. They are both large studios with years of experience and success.
The most recent game I’ve played that competed directly with Call of Duty is Homefront. Its ratings were still lower than Call of Duty: Black Ops and Homefront has sold more than two-million copies across the different platforms.
EA DICE will also be working with BioWare on Mass Effect 3.
At this moment, I am unsure if there will be any restructuring resulting from the sales of either games. I agree that Activision is continuing its “pump one out every year” philosophy and it’s no secret that Black Ops reached over $1 Billion in sales. Battlefield and Call of Duty are both strong franchises and have very deep roots. It’s nice to read comments from fans of both franchises supporting these games and having faith in the developers. I have seen various games in direct competition with Call of Duty and they usually have slightly lower scores than the newest COD game at that time. I’m just worried that publishers might use the aftermath as an excuse to restructure the developers. Would EA feel tempted to push BF sequels every year depending on BF3’s success? I hope that whatever happens with these games, the developers will remain prosperous no matter what and not be subject to corporate greed.