"We Can't Change Too Many Of The Core Rules"
Call Of Duty often comes under fire for its incremental changes and unwillingness to massively deviate from Modern Warfare's original formula. However, Infinity Ward believes that their hands are tied because CoD multiplayer is effectively a sport, and messing with the rules is a sure-fire way to aggravate the fanbase and its players.
Rubin debated the issue of familiarity vs staid convention with OXM, drawing parallels with team sports. “There is the obvious truth that if this were football, and next year they decided we only want seven players a side and you can use your hands, I don’t think people would want to go to many of those games," he argued. "So we can’t change too many of the core rules, and the core rules are really simple. You’re a player, it’s in first-person, you have a weapon in your hand and you run around shooting other people.”
“We can play a lot with the outside of how that works, and it’s things like character customisation, making the movement through that world better, making the world itself more interesting, adding the new modes, adding the new dynamic maps," he continued, suggesting that there's plenty of potential for innovating around the experience and core engagement. “So there’s still I think a lot to do. Anytime we ship a game – and this is a non-Call of Duty statement, this is [applicable to] any dev you’ve ever talked to – is there’s always a ton of features they wish they could have gotten to, before they shipped. So I think we’ll always be able to bring new and interesting stuff. It’s literally that we’re just trying to make a better game than we made last time."
“Giving people new content, new ways to play, Squads is a really new way to play that I think people are going to find really interesting, because it’s different to anything we’ve ever tried to do in Call of Duty… I think we’re going to continue that trend.”
Considering Call Of Duty's popularity as both a fun way of blowing off steam and an emerging eSport, Rubin is probably right in the main, though we hope that Treyarch will continue to subvert the formula in off-years. We'll find out whether the traditional format still feels fresh when Call Of Duty: Ghosts releases in November.