Crying Doom for Call of Duty
Activision’s Flagship Franchise is not Long for this World
by Nicholas Capozzoli
©2012 Nicholas Capozzoli
In the fall of 2007 I was just beginning my first semester of grad school. Following a new friend’s suggestion one night, we ventured over to a nearby dive bar for a few pitchers, and to play a video game that the place was featuring as part of their nightly special.
The game was Guitar Hero.
My friend, as it turned out, was well versed with plastic instruments, blasting through Blue Oyster Cult‘s Godzilla as I plinked and plunked my way through alongside him. But as each new track went by I found myself rapidly improving, upping the difficulty and powering through tough solos with aplomb.
A passion was born that night, one that followed through to the release of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. I beat Metallica’s One to the cheers of classmates in studio. I remember the desperate relief and aching fingers that came from surviving Slayer’s Raining Blood.
But in the span of just a couple years my plastic guitars collect dust under my TV. Literally, they’re dust magnets. The most activity that they see is when they occasionally fall over and scare my dog.
The problem is self-evident: the instrument rhythm genre suffered from profuse over-saturation.
A staggering twelve games were released under the Guitar Hero name for consoles between 2005 and 2010, and that doesn’t include portable titles or mobile apps. There was far more than even the most devoted gamer could possibly want, and when the players found themselves sated, the bubble burst hard.
Two years out from the rhythm game implosion, and the genre is a radioactive wasteland.
Mutants like Rocksmith and BandFuse sift through the rubble, looking for scraps. Harmonix, maker of the original Guitar Hero and the Rock Band series, was sold for $50, and that’s not even a joke.
Is the end nigh? See for yourself…