When Epic Games and People Can Fly decided to have a little fun at the first-person shooter genre's expense with Duty Calls
, a free downloadable parody game, they were aiming for a reaction -- and it seems they've gotten one, announcing 1.25 million downloads.
The news came via the Bulletstorm official Twitter feed
which originated the initial link to Duty Calls
less than a week ago on February 2 and let fans and the media take it from there.
quickly drew attention for its not-so-subtle potshots at the Call of Duty
brand -- from the title, logo and visual palette to its dialogue and objectives, which often elect being true to conventions of the military game genre over being especially surprising or inventive.
By contrast to the military drama tone of the Call of Duty
intentionally aims at the far end of comic exaggeration, liberally decorated with gleeful blood spray, exploding heads and genitalia jokes that mine the depths of the absurd.
doesn't release on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC until February 22, but some gamers are already speaking up to say they find that stylistic approach unpleasant. However, the developers have maintained that the game's aggressive hyperbole hopes to offer an alternative to consciously-earnest military games.
For example, while the Call of Duty
brand is well loved by its loyal fans for its gameplay, its aims to offer controversial, thought-provoking narrative arcs or deep combat realism tend to receive mixed reactions.
With Duty Calls
, it appears the Bulletstorm
team wanted to enforce among audiences that its entry to the world of shooters isn't meant to be taken especially seriously, and that the extreme violence and language is meant to be fun and funny.
When Gamasutra columnist Richard Clark wrote of his concern
's violence was distasteful and potentially harmful to the game industry's image, lead designer Adrian Chmielarz joined the comments section to address the ensuing discussion
, commenting: "I do believe this industry will only be considered mature only once it stops being ashamed of itself."