I won’t be playing Call of Duty: Black Ops III, but not because I don’t want to. In fact I so wanted to play the game that over the last two and a half months I’ve been downloading and installing it on my Xbox One — so far spending about 60 gigabytes of my internet usage quota. Despite buying the game in physical form, and expecting it to be able to be play once I got it home, (and downloaded what has become an expected 10-20 gigabyte day one patch or similar update), I thought I would be ready to go. Instead it has been a constant dribble of updates and installing without end.
If it was not my internet allocation, and the fact that I really want to play the game, it would be funny, indeed in Brian Provinciano’s latest game, Shakedown Hawaii, a game that broadly satirizes almost all aspects of modern life, there is a mission where a character buys a much anticipated game, eagerly sits down to play it and has to wait for it to update. An update that is so long that the real game interrupts the installation and has you go back to other missions and check back days later (where the game is still installing and updating). In the video below the second part of the commentary touches on predatory in-game purchases (a joke that I wish the developer took all the way by including them in the game itself).
On top of the ridiculous install time and size of the Call of Duty: Black Ops III update, even worse for the small minority of Call of Duty players that only play the campaign, is that the campaign is the very last component of the game to download. The final straw came this morning when the download of the campaign was paused so that the game could download a 23 megabyte update for the online multiplayer! I’m not prone to anger, but seeing that, and that I still had 40 gigabytes yet to download of the campaign, prompted me to eject the game disc and throw it across the room. It got off lightly given that I once shot a copy of Too Human with a shotgun, then lit it on fire and finally drove over it with a tractor.
Activision’s ambivalence for their campaign mode in Call of Duty was made fully evident in the next annual installment after Call of Duty: Black Ops III where the multiplayer mode was dropped altogether (apparently due to a multi-path campaign becoming too much for the development team to handle in the allocated time).
Campaign mode has now returned to the series, but after this experience with Call of Duty: Black Ops III I’m reluctant to risk the purchase, which is a shame, given the enjoyment the series has provided over the years.