When popular gaming franchises run out of steam, fans always start conjuring up their own ideas for where the franchise should go—sometimes even demanding that their ideas be realized.
In the case of Call of Duty, the well of creativity ran dry quite some time ago. The gaming series has been limping for several years, relying on its cross-platform Warzone to keep players happy.
Rather than retreading the same settings and time periods, it's time for something new. It's desperately needed to inject fresh energy into a franchise that has grown stale. But, where should it go?
Call of Duty fans have their own ideas that they'd love to see happen, and some have even voiced them to Activision Blizzard. Fortunately, with the franchise now owned by Microsoft, a reboot seems inevitable.
Here are our own ideas for where the iconic war-based shooter franchise could go and why they'd all be great for the series.
The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815)
Muskets, swords, cannons. Who doesn't want to see that?
The Call of Duty franchise is heavily rooted in modern firearms and explosive combat, but that would matter little to audiences if we got something unusual but enjoyable and well-executed.
Setting the franchise in the Napoleonic Wars would be an incredible fresh start and attitude for the franchise, with players commanding one of the many soldiers in the fight against England.
It's a part of history that's under-represented in video games, so presenting it through the lens of one of gaming's biggest franchises could be a genius move by Microsoft. Of course, it's not without its challenges.
The main issue would be the prevalence of swords and how well the first-person gameplay could incorporate swordfighting mechanics. There's also the possibility of sailing, which could be hit-or-miss. However, the results could be amazing and spell a new era for the CoD franchise.
The American Civil War (1861–1865)
Imagine being knee-deep in thick mud in the Battle of Gettysburg as the Union and Confederates square off in one of the bloodiest battles in human history. A perfect setup for Call of Duty.
Seeing the franchise head into the American Civil War would be an experience like no other, with cannons and flintlock pistols dominating the battlefield. It's a world-famous war that could be legitimized by Microsoft for a worldwide audience.
But it'd have its own set of challenges. While there wouldn't be any ships or naval warfare in this one, the American Civil War setting doesn't exactly have the widest selection of weaponry. Indeed, options were notoriously limited during the conflict.
Other than that, the setting would have little difficulty in other areas. Following a Union soldier commanded by Ulysses S. Grant could be one of CoD's most unforgettable adventures—if pulled off well.
The Falklands War (1982)
The Falklands War may not have lasted long, but the naval battles waged during that quick conflict are still spoken of 40 years later.
Setting any Call of Duty game during the British-Argentinian conflict might limit the combatants, but the advantage would be the tight narrative that can be crafted. The game mechanics could be redesigned for a new era, which could spark the franchise from its slumber.
The Falklands War is certainly more niche than, say, World War II—some might even say too niche, especially for a global franchise like Call of Duty. But Argentinians still feel the loss of this war, and it'd be an opportunity to shed light on the conflict as a compelling gaming experience.
There are many reasons why the Falklands War wouldn't be the biggest money-making idea for a Call of Duty game, but it's one of the few modern wars fought with two clearly defined sides.
The Korean War (1950–1953)
Fought shortly after the end of the Second World War, the Korean War would end up splitting the two Koreas forever afterwards, with one choosing democracy and the other ruled by a dictator.
A game set during the intense fighting of this war would have all the attributes for a Call of Duty game. More than that, the conflict ended in an armistice that still hasn't officially closed the war, giving the potential game a most unique ending for players.
The American influence from one side could form the basis of Microsoft's interest in the era, with the war brought to life by the wizards who work on the Call of Duty franchise.
Truth be told, the Korean War would be the most likely new setting for a fresh entry, but if Microsoft believes there's a limited market for this potential setting, that could scupper those chances.
The Vietnam War (1955–1975)
Of all the conflicts yet explored by Call of Duty over the past two decades, the Vietnam War remains the one that players still want to experience the most. It almost happened, too!
Unfortunately, the developers canceled that game in favor of Advanced Warfare. Yeah, we can't work that out, either.
Setting a Call of Duty game in Vietnam could be seen as too risky for the franchise right now, as memories of the conflict are still well within living age. However, the fall of Saigon and the retreat of the US army could make for some of the best CoD missions ever built.
Why the studio has refrained from showing this war through their games is a slight mystery, considering the franchise has already used a place like Iraq as a battle zone on many occasions. If we could truly get a Vietnam War game, it could be CoD's finest entry since Modern Warfare 2.