What Call of Duty 2021 Needs to Do
Another year another Call of Duty. With the new game on the horizon and confirmation that Sledgehammer will be returning to the WWII timeline for this upcoming entry into the FPS franchise, one can only speculate about what to expect. For that, here’s what I think Call of Duty 2021 needs to do to make sure it’s not forgotten as soon as MW’s game comes out in 2022.
Spice up the Campaign
Call of Duty players remember WWII’s marketing campaign, saying that it would be gritty and show off the actual battlefields of WWII. And many like myself were disappointed to see that WWII only had two memorable moments in the campaign that stayed to the promise. Those being the beginning and the end. While it’s understandable that the campaign was kind of bland in the middle, some of the best Call of Duty campaigns have amazing moments in them, all for different reasons.
There is the MW2 mountain mission, where the player climbed the mountain with the triggers and escaped on the snowmobiles. There is also the World at War mission, where the player snuck through a Russian city’s ruins while sniping guards out of corners. Or even Black Ops Cold War’s missions “Identity Crisis,” where the player could alter the story by not listening to Adler. There are plenty more options to pick from the franchise, but a good campaign can have players suspend their disbelief, even for a little while if the main cast does something blockbuster-worthy
To achieve that kind of spectacle, look no further than something like Inglorious Bastards or The Great Escape. While not exactly in WWII, the idea of a grounded yet action-packed campaign would be a breath of fresh air, given it’s written well. Films, like Saving Private Ryan, were still memorable, although WWII took inspiration from that film.
The Return of Co-Op Campaign
Another great idea for the return of the WWII campaign is to take a page out of World at War’s book and make a co-op option for the campaign. Giving the option for players to complete the campaign solo and completing the campaign with up to four players would entice people who don’t usually play the campaign to give it a go.
On that note, why not make some sections of the campaign function differently for other players? For instance, a plane section in the campaign where four players have to pilot two planes in a high-octane dogfight against enemy forces. One player manning the plane’s actual flying, and one player shooting down the planes as they try to destroy the team.
Even a stealth section in the campaign where two players need to split up to find keys to unlock a door, with two guards on opposite sides of the battlefield? Perhaps a section in the campaign where a group of four need to drive a tank through enemy lines, and each person controls parts of the tank, from fighting off infantry on the top of the tank to driving, shooting, and spotting targets? There’s plenty of options in the setting of WWII that could provide a fun and engaging experience for four players to enjoy together.
Campaign-wise Call of Duty 2021 has some big shoes to fill to enter the hall of fame in Call of Duty storylines. Hopefully, Sledgehammer will deliver on that promise.
Multiplayer Fixes and Hopes
With the rumor that this year’s Call of Duty will return to WWII, one can hope that changes to the multiplayer would come in droves, being that the rumored time has been done to death already, here’s what could help make Call of Duty 2021’s multiplayer exciting.
Bring Back Headquarters From WWII
A return to the headquarters mode from WWII was a fun step in the right direction, and it should return, even while sitting between matches. 1v1’s and testing weapons was a fun way to keep players busy between matches on the battlefield. If the game utilizes the power of the PS5 and Series X‘s solid-state drive, the removal of load screens could mean that players could seamlessly transition from base to match.
With both MW 2019 and Cold War having intro animations of characters arriving at the locations, perhaps players could watch their characters get into a vehicle when the match is about to begin and see them arrive on the map before it starts. As well as the reintroduction of Daily challenges that can be picked. However, one thing that should stay in the past is the loot boxes of WWII, which haven’t made an appearance since Black Ops 4.
Although this might be wishful thinking, the option to be rewarded with Call of Duty Points for specific challenges would be a great incentive for players to continue to play multiplayer as well. It would allow players to want to purchase the battle pass if given a chance to double their rewards on daily challenges.
Give Players a 50v50 War Mode and Bring Back Party Modes
As for modes, a return to the War mode from WWII is due, especially since the Fireteam modes from Cold War and Warzone have shown that large-scale battles are possible on the platform. Providing some incentive, a 50v50 war mode in which multiple major objectives would be extremely fun, with players battling it out in tanks and planes.
Call of Duty 2021 could deliver on the prospect of large-scale war maps that make the game extremely fun. Party modes should also be considered, as Cold War is starting to work them into their title with the return of sticks and stones. Some modes are missing, such as One in the Chamber and Infection, which could be extremely fun like previous titles.
Even Prop Hunt has refused to make a comeback in newer Call of Duty titles. It was present in Black Ops 4. Why not bring it back yet again for Call of Duty 2021? Perhaps even give gunfight another try. While not as prevalent in Cold War, Gunfight was something I played regularly in Modern Warfare 2019. The inclusion of all of these modes would have Call of Duty 2021 set to be the most content-rich game in the series.
Please Remove SSBM Already
Lastly, the reintroduction of a properly ranked play should be included in Cold War, not League Play. Players are placed on random teams and worked into matches, but a ranked play is included in Overwatch and other titles produced by Activision Blizzard.
A lot of players have been asking for the removal of skill-based matchmaking or SBMM for short. Many players who play Call of Duty play it for causal play; many expect a casual experience of running around and shooting guys for fun. While that is possible in current Call of Duty titles, if a player wins too many games, they’ll be matched with the same skill level players. This, in turn, forces the player to work harder to win games, and while it sounds good on paper, it hurts casual players by turning the game from a casual night of playing Call of Duty to a night of esports level play to have a small amount of fun.
While it sounds silly, many players want to remove it in regular matches and wouldn’t mind its inclusion in a proper ranked setting. Hopefully, Call of Duty 2021 will finally listen to players’ cries for a return to the good old days of “pwning noobs” on Call of Duty before it’s time to hit the hay.
A Change up to Zombies
With a return to WWII and Sledgehammer behind the wheel, it’s a good assumption that if Zombies is included in the new Call of Duty, it will be a return to the story that was left unfinished in WWII. With our four protagonists now having to take on worldwide domination of the undead, no place is going to be safe from the clutches of whatever horde of Zombies might be making their way to our friends in the game.
However, many players who found themselves playing WWII Zombies back on its release were disappointed by its complex yet unintuitive design. It appeared that wherever something went right, there was always something wrong right behind it. However, WWII made strides in the Zombies community, including a proper horror story set in WWII and casual and hardcore Easter eggs. In addition to the inclusion of the notebook that helped players discover the Easter egg steps without having to look up a guide from someone who already found it. Although there was always something holding it back for the quality of life improvements, be it the convoluted upgrade system, the spawning of enemy types, or the haphazard level design.
More Maps, Less Wait
What Call of Duty 2021 needs to do for their Zombies mode to stand up to the test of time is have more maps. More maps need to be included to keep the content fresh enough throughout the season. One of the biggest gripes in Cold War’s Zombie mode is that there are only two maps, with November only six months out from release.
Treyarch seems to be leaning more into Outbreak for players to get their Zombies fill. The problem lies within the content of Outbreak itself; it’s too simple. There are too few objectives. By playing the maps one time each, players are getting bored even to attempt high rounds, especially since all the maps are reused from multiplayer Fireteam maps. It doesn’t feel original, nor does it feel like Treyarch cares at all about Zombies.
Call of Duty 2021 can fix this by putting out a map every season if they decide to go with the battle pass model Call of Duty has been going with for the past two games. There is no shortage of locations for maps in the new Call of Duty, granted they decide to continue the story left off by WWII, as Zombies overtake the whole world. This would allow our players to go anywhere in Europe or even travel to America. A map taking place in a suburb would be not only a fantastic choice but an idea that hasn’t been fully realized yet.
Bring the Horror Back
Another thing Call of Duty 2021 needs to do to fulfill the community’s desires is to be properly scary. WWII Zombies knocked it out of the park with their first map, The Final Reich. However, the problem lies within some of the mechanics of the map itself. Some players mentioned that being locked into a jump scare happened too frequently for players liking, making them stale.
Call of Duty 2021 needs to rely on enemy design, atmosphere, and character reactions to fully immerse the player in this horror world that they would have to create. The simple rule of “show, don’t tell” applies heavily in this situation, as the player characters should be a vessel for the player itself. Although realistic dialogue can be included, attempting to finish the player’s sentences before the player can even say them, allowing for a real connection from the player to the world.
Build Upon the Mechanics of Cold War
Another thing that could be added to spice up the gameplay is to build upon the mechanics set out by Treyarch’s Cold War Zombies. With the general philosophy of Cold War’s mode being the constant increase in arsenal power, players should keep upgrading their weapons. This is done by improving the tier of weapons that players pick up.
With a blue weapon upgraded three times being weaker than a purple weapon upgraded once. Players will want to keep playing to get the best arsenal possible, and with some of the killstreaks, like the minigun and war machine, players have an option to get out of any sticky situation. Combining that underpowered weaponry with the world mentioned earlier can invoke a sense of helplessness and dread, perfect for the horror aspect that WWII went for.
A Proper Cast Makes All the Difference
Another thing that can help set the game apart from previous titles is the inclusion of actual characters. Cold War flopped with this, in my opinion, as the playable characters were just filled in by whatever multiplayer operator was chosen to play when starting the game.
WWII Zombies may not have been the best Zombies in the series, but I remember the characters that players could be when playing the maps. I think that WWII did this perfectly by introducing special characters used during gameplay if the player completed challenges while in a match. Even if those special characters were chosen, the main cast would still appear during the cutscenes.
However, the only thing that players who chose the special characters were missing out on was the dialogue played during the main quest of each map. Using that same mechanic from WWII could give players the best of both worlds, with customizable characters and the main cast, with the reward of hearing lore dialogue by playing the map as the main cast for the first time.
8 Players, 8 Times the Fun
The final thing I want to bring up for the Zombies mode is introducing new modes and new ways to play. I think it would be very interesting If the Zombies mode wasn’t limited to only four players; how about a map that includes eight players? That’s if the game continues from where WWII left off. The idea of a new main cast and the reintroduction of the previous cast in a later map would have the eight characters working together on a massive scale map with the main quest that needs both teams to be there. I think that not only bringing back some of the fan-favorite modes from Black Ops 2 like Grief would be a great step in the right direction to add that little bit of competitiveness to Zombies that it needs.
New modes like Grief, or even a special mode of Turned, where players would come back as Zombies to attempt to kill the surviving players, would be an awesome idea that would add replayability to the game and a reason to try out the zombie mode in the game.
Although nothing is known about the next entry in the Call of Duty series, many are certain that no matter what, a new entry will be available by the end of the year. Nothing is entirely confirmed. This article is going off the suspicion that the rumors of the next game being a WWII shooter developed by Sledgehammer are true (according to many sources, it appears that they are).
Hopefully, Activision will deliver this year with Call of Duty. However, it seems that Warzone is taking up most of the limelight between Modern Warfare and Cold War, with both of the titles feeling blurred between each other’s releases. Call of Duty 2021 has some massive competition this year. With the introduction of the new Call of Duty “cinematic universe” combining the stories from Modern Warfare and Warzone, only time will tell when exactly we’ll be seeing the next title in the series.