We’re now four months into the Black Ops Cold War game cycle and after one and a half seasons of post-launch content, opinions from players and fans have been polarising with some thoroughly enjoying the fifth instalment of the Black Ops series, and some making a swift return to Modern Warfare.
The single-player campaign delivered on a dark and gritty setting that reflected the first Black Ops title and as a direct sequel to the game, players expected that dark and gritty theme to transition into the multiplayer.
Based on some of the in-store cosmetic bundles, brightly-coloured camouflages and some of the maps included in multiplayer, the theme of the Cold War and the 1980s has quickly gone out of the window.
So, were we lied to about Black Ops Cold War?
Were We Lied To?
Prior to the release of the game, Studio Design Director David Vonderhaar appeared in one of the several reveal streams to discuss the game.
During the reveal, he stated that Black Ops Cold War would be “plausible, realistic, and most importantly, inspired by a gritty historical tone” which sparked plenty of hope for fans that had just experienced six seasons of Modern Warfare. The launch content failed to live up to expectations and players were quick to complain about the lack of multiplayer maps and the lack of Cold War grit that featured so heavily within the campaign.
To add more fuel to this particular fire, Twitter user @GOHGAMER created a video that showcased how far Black Ops Cold War has moved away from the period of time that it is meant to be based on.
— 🇨🇺GG RELOADED🇨🇺 (@GOHGAMER)
Throughout the video, there are mentions of the anime bundles, clown Operator skins and the return of Express and Raid that were originally set in 2025. Not exactly the Cold War game that players were expecting.
I understand why the theme of the Cold War has quickly diminished. Publisher Activision is notorious for generating as much revenue as possible through microtransactions. In its Q4 conference call, the publisher unveiled that it had made a staggering $1.2 billion in Q3 of 2019, and if Treyarch designs a cosmetics bundle that features plenty of bright colours and a clown mask that’s going to make millions rather than stick to the Cold War theme, it makes a lot of sense to stray away from the original theme in order to maximise profit.
While it’s annoying for the purists that want an element of realism from their Call of Duty experience, it’s highly unlikely that there will be a title released with the same level of realism as the 2019 reboot of Modern Warfare or 2017’s World War 2.
It's All Business
Image courtesy of Finance Watch
Call of Duty players love nothing more than to stand out from the crowd thanks to their bright pink AK-47 or an Operator skin that has no place in the Cold War era. With the demand for variety there, it’s no surprise to see Treyarch introducing a wide variety of cosmetics that adhere to the purpose of standing out.
While it’s only a small segment of the huge player base, competitive Call of Duty also has its role to play in regards to the lack of theme within Black Ops Cold War.
The release of Operator skins and camouflages for each of the 12 franchises that have bought into the Call of Duty League bear no resemblance to any kind of Cold War outfit that may have been worn during the time period. Although it further detracts from the theme of the game, the vast majority of CDL fans have purchased a CDL Operator bundle for a chance to represent their favourite franchise within the game. They certainly look cool, but in comparison to the CDL Operator skins that arrived in Modern Warfare, surely the designers could’ve added some Cold War fashion into them?
To say that we were lied to about Black Ops Cold War may be a bit of an overreaction but we as a community have certainly been misled after being told that the game would be somewhat believable and realistic. I don’t think that Call of Duty will ever change its ways when it comes to delivering cosmetic items that have no relation to the setting or theme of the game, but when World War 2 managed to excel in including a range of different uniforms from the various forces fighting in the war, surely Treyarch could’ve done a better job?