Infinity Ward is making a host of changes to this year's Call of Duty: Ghosts, but the core of the game will remain the same. The reason? Tournament play. Earlier this year, Activision ran its first Call of Duty Championship, with a total prize share of $1 million. In August, Activision and Major League Gaming entered a partnership to make Ghosts the MLG's exclusive first-person shooter. As the eSports phenomenon grows, games like Call of Duty need to operate within a certain, expected range for players. In fact, Infinity Ward executive producer Mark Rubin compared Call of Duty to the NFL in an interview with the Official Xbox Magazine.
"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," said Rubin."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," he said. "We can play a lot with the outside of how that works, and it's things like character customization, making the movement through that world better, making the world itself more interesting, adding the new modes, adding the new dynamic maps."
It's something that its more prevalent as eSports grows. Games like World of Tanks and League of Legends will remain mostly the same outside of cosmetic changes. Even when sequels do come out, those sequels will do their best to stick as close to the original formula, like the transition from Blizzard's Starcraft to Starcraft II. Competitive titles tend operate on the games-as-a-service model, adding more content to an existing game, something that doesn't necessarily fit with Activision's annual release schedule for Call of Duty.
Call of Duty: Ghosts will be released on PC, PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii U on November 5, 2013, with the PS4 and Xbox One versions coming on November 15, 2013.