2020 has been, by all accounts, an extremely tough year for all. The global pandemic has upended everyone’s way of life and almost all industries have been negatively affected. The video game industry is no exception, especially with various lockdown and stay-at-home orders being issued.
That said, with all the issues and problems that players have been having with Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War (BOCW) since launch, Activision should NOT have released the game in this state.
BOCW’s development cycle was troubled from the beginning as Raven Software and Sledgehammer Games didn’t see eye-to-eye on certain aspects of the game. The development of BOCW was reportedly a “mess,” according to Kotaku. As a result, Treyarch was put in charge of finishing the game, with the aforementioned two studios serving as support.
Typically, Call of Duty developers – Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer and Treyarch – have three years to work on their game. Because of BOCW’s production issues, Treyarch only had two. Additionally, because of the pandemic, the developers and voice actors had to find workarounds to complete the game while at home.
As such, BOCW feels rushed and, most importantly, incomplete. Of course, the studios had to release BOCW for two console generations – along with other platforms – and issues were bound to arise. However, the amount of issues that have arisen were unexpected.
For starters, the multiplayer mode is extremely hit-or-miss – no pun intended – for players. One of the main complaints is its skill-based matchmaking (SBMM.) SBMM has made it difficult for professional and casual players to find enjoyment in multiplayer and when OpTic Scump – a professional player – tweeted his confusion with the lack of ranked and casual playlists, Treyarch replied with derision.
Additionally, there are various visual and gameplay bugs strewn throughout the game’s various modes. A quick look at the BOCW subreddit shows just how many issues and bugs players are experiencing at any given time, along with memes poking fun of Treyarch’s decision to fix bugs that benefit the player instead of the ones that are a detriment.
But perhaps the most worrying issue is that the game is crashing and shutting down Xbox Ones, Xbox Series Xs, PlayStation 4s and 5s. The game has also bricked consoles too, further adding to the ire of players. PC players aren’t safe either, as some Zombies players and world-record chasers have had their games crash as well.
(Note: I have had my Xbox One crash and hard reset numerous times while playing BOCW.)
So far, Treyarch has not commented on when a possible fix for console crashing and bricking is coming, but considering that Season One of BOCW is releasing soon, it’s unlikely that that fix is coming anytime soon.
As a whole, many claim BOCW was rushed to completion. That assertion may have some merit considering Activision’s extremely strict Call of Duty release schedule. All the problems have left players feeling like they have no desire to play the game.
Though Treyarch deserves credit for actually releasing a game during a pandemic, the hard truth is that BOCW shouldn’t have been released in this state. With all the problems facing BOCW, fans would have understood if the game was delayed by a few months or even a year, especially considering the circumstances. But Activision had other plans.
Since BOCW did release, Treyarch will have to deal with whatever comes its way and salvage BOCW’s ruined reputation early on. Hopefully Treyarch can fix the game to acceptable levels. Whatever the case may be, the fact remains: BOCW should not have been released in this state.