Treyarch Outdoes Infinity Ward

Black Ops has been in the news and in our brains for over a week now, and its success story is spreading like very sticky syrup. While nearly every person on the planet now owns Black Ops (slight exaggeration) and has started pouring some good old gaming time in to it, the big boys over at Activision are saying things that are making me feel ill.

Activision has earned the reputation of being an ever so slightly greedy and fiercely competitive company. Whilst the industry stereotype of Activision is widespread and evident to most, only when a Call Of Duty game is introduced, does the negative image vividly crystallize once more.

At the Morgan Stanley conference held earlier this week it was said that “The Treyarch studio, which made this year’s game, has done better than what Infinity Ward could achieve a year ago” and the record breaking sales numbers were applauded.

I understand that publishers have to realistically factor in the money they are allowing a future title to soak up as it develops, carefully work out estimated sales and so on…that’s just business. But what gets me is how quickly they discard the ex-Infinity Ward team and suddenly start praising Treyarch in such a superficial way.

Yes, Black Ops is an incredible game, but they talk about it and about how good it is seemingly based solely on how much money it is bringing them in, completely ignoring the fact that I-Ward’s MW2 is one of the biggest reasons so many people bought Black Ops and don’t even reflect on the quality of the title.

It just feels all too cold in my opinion, and the big boys up top seem so removed from the actual game and the gaming process. After the fiasco with I-Ward champs Jason West and Vince Zampella, Activision’s Bobby Kotick said in an interview for Edge that Respawn (West and Zampella’s new dev team) “[will] have a really hard time being productive or successful ever again”…to me that is bang out of order and cruel. I mean come on, these guys ultimately put Call Of Duty on the map for him and his mates, and now all he can do is radiate arrogance.

Now that Treyarch have “done better” and soothed the palpitations of Activision with the sweet sound of cash registers, I find myself appalled at the mocking comparisons they draw between MW2 and Black Ops (or as the kids are calling it…”BO”…).

Black Ops has made over $650,000,000 in the first week, and there are reports of more DLC packages being planned for BO, than any other CoD game has offered before. CoD DLC usually fetches around £12/$15… so you do the math and then pretend you’re Activision…and then start grinning.

Call Of Duty, I love you and hate you at the same time.

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