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10 Call Of Duty Settings We’d Rather See Than ‘Near Future’

by Brian Shea on May 10, 2015 at 12:30 PM

The near-future setting of Call of Duty: Black Ops III is interesting from a gameplay perspective, but with three consecutive games relying on that setting, the franchise is sacrificing one of the key things that made the multiple-developer approach to the franchise work well. Black Ops III is set in stone – and to its credit it plays pretty well so far – but what about the inevitable 2016 entry of the franchise when Infinity Ward takes its next crack? Let’s take a look at 10 settings that could be better for the franchise than the current near-future trend.

Vietnam War – 1955 - 1975

One of the most controversial and brutal wars the United States has ever participated in has yet to receive a truly spectacular game. Sure, the original Black Ops had some Vietnam sequences, but why not devote an entire game to the war, which has been the subject of countless films? The warfare, the story, and even the soundtrack of the Vietnam War were unlike any conflict the United States has ever been a part of, and could make for a truly compelling campaign.

American Civil War – 1861 - 1865

When you look at gruesome wars in America’s past, the Civil War is certainly up there. The body count alone is staggering, but when you add in the well-known generals, the big iconic battles, and the importance that the war held for the United States, it has every component a game needs to possess a great storyline that doesn’t pull any punches. Throw in how different the gameplay would be from games like Advanced Warfare and Black Ops III, and you have a way to shut down all of the skeptics who say that Call of Duty is too similar from year to year.

Bosnian War – 1992 - 1995

Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina was wrought with artillery attacks, ethnic cleansing, and massacres. With NATO intervention, tense political implications, and little regard for civilian casualties, the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina could make for an excellent campaign full of different operations like Operation Tiger, Operation Spider, and more. It’s also arguably the ‘90s war that is most translatable to video games.

American Revolutionary War – 1775 - 1783

The Revolutionary War is one of the most intriguing periods in U.S. history, so why not dive in headfirst with a game based on it? Though the game itself was polarizing, Assassin’s Creed III proved that the lead up to American independence can make for an excellent setting for a story. Full of political strife and known heroes and villains, the Revolutionary War would give players and historians common ground, and deliver developers a great playground for storytelling.

Modern War – Present Day

Prior to 2007, the Call of Duty franchise was merely one of the biggest first-person shooter franchises in the world, but once Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare hit, it wasn’t even a question as to which series was the king. By bringing it back to the modern war setting, the studio could not only remind fans of what many consider to be the pinnacle of the franchise, but also deliver a story that’s more grounded in reality than the likes of Black Ops III and Advanced Warfare.

On the next page, we look at five more settings that would be cool to explore in a Call of Duty game.

World War II – 1939 - 1945

Every year people ask if now is the right time to bring Call of Duty back to its World War II roots. With such a focus on the future lately, and Infinity Ward’s Ghosts receiving mixed reactions from fans, now might be the perfect time for the original Call of Duty studio to bring it back to where it all began with current-generation graphics, the new open-area design of Black Ops III, and the same intense combat that made the series so great in the first place. 

World War I – 1914 - 1918

The Great War is a tougher sell for a video game adaptation. Hitler and the Nazis aren’t there to play the role of the face of evil, and the trench warfare is trickier to design to be fun, but the potential is there. All it takes is for the right team to get a hold of the setting and design the story around the fierce fighting in the trenches. It could even go down the path of Battlefield: Bad Company and take a personality-driven approach with how much time the soldiers spend in the trenches together.

Narco States of Latin America – 1970s - 1990s

Pablo Escobar, arguably the most notorious drug lord in history, is the kind of person who is ripe for video game adaptation. Not only was he manipulative and brutal, but he was full of personality and his Medellin Cartel has all the right qualities to be a strong opposing force. The surrounding areas in Latin America could also provide stunning vistas using the power of current-generation hardware. There are so many stories that could be told from this time period that Treyarch, Infinity Ward, or Sledgehammer could hopefully do something cool with it.

Cold War – 1947 - 1991

The Cold War is interesting for the fact that so much of the war was posturing and performing secret operations. Not many militaristic operations that led to real battles happened, which could further play on what made the story of the original Black Ops so great. The developers could get a little creative with classified CIA operations or with what they theorize could have happened with some of the Cuban conflicts, making this one of the more adaptable wars.

Distant Future – 21XX and Beyond

If the developers really want to go in the future, maybe it’s time to go for broke. Instead of going to 2060 like Black Ops is doing, why not go to the 2100s or beyond? The technology that the studio could inject into the story and the multiplayer would prove to be an exercise in creativity. The potential to innovate the series through this setting is extremely high, but once the devs cross that line into distant future with ridiculous technology, where would they go from there? The only answer would be to start the franchise fresh with a look at the past or present. If they do that, I would refer them to the other nine entries in this list.

What settings would you like to see for Call of Duty?