After a rocky road sent Call of Duty: Ghosts down into the lowest sales figures in recent history, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will attempt to reach to new extremes and avoid what analysts predict is the worst selling Call of Duty in quite a while.

While Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare hasn’t had much chance to hit the market just yet, analyst projections are slating the top-tier series to hit even lower this year than where Ghosts fell to last holiday season. Driven by a worn out player base looking for something fresh, Advanced Warfare is suffering from the shortcomings of its predecessors while trying to change the formula and build a new property within the series. Analyst projections for this years’ CoD title sit low as the title holds some of the lowest pre-order figures in recent history and is falling slightly off the radar, even as it enjoys much higher overall scores from professional reviewers than the previous “Ghosts”. With these figures in mind, Activision is optimistic about the launch and prevailing weeks for Call of Duty.

“We see purchase intent well above last year and we see engagement with the brand in social media channels all being markedly up. I’m still optimistic.

“Pre-orders are a good barometer for day one, but I don’t think they reflect the overall demand for the product. They don’t represent what they used to, because of the move to digital and all the ways people can buy the game.” – Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg

Despite this optimists’ approach, and an overwhelmingly positive approach toward the game from reviewers, the true split is in the gamer’s hands. Those who have played the series for years on end for its blockbuster story or intense multiplayer may enjoy Advanced Warfare – those who tire from the “feel” of Call of Duty might continue to look elsewhere. According to consensus, Advanced Warfare mixes up enough of the game to be interesting, but at its heart Call of Duty must be familiar. The title’s signature speed, along with their 60 FPS requirement both set the bar and hold it down. As the first title truly built with the current generation of consoles in mind, Advanced Warfare looks better than Ghosts on your PS4 or Xbox One, but aside from a few tweaks in the coming years, this is the new bar. In terms of your weapon mechanics, you know the drill, and the Call of Duty formula can’t change. This is both good and bad for the successful series, as users are familiar with the title but can’t help but compare it to the poor tastes they’ve had with Ghosts and Black Ops II before it.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare changed the landscape for the series but didn’t help it reach out into its own world. With the inclusion of the Exo suit your soldier gains new agility, but you as a gamer may feel like the Call of Duty series is reaching for Titanfall characteristics. Naturally, the direction of developer Sledgehammer Games wasn’t to clone Titanfall, but when you’re reaching into the future of Warfare you’re going to have to include an Exo suit, and the chance they took was something Call of Duty needed, as noted by Mr. Hirshberg.

“Our brief to them was: Go further than you think we want you to go. Make us nervous in a good way – and come back with new ideas and new experiences … and they did.”

Given the road Actisivion has to climb each year, selling Call of Duty titles at the scale of their best-in-franchise will only continue to be more difficult. Combating the issue with three full development teams helps the annual series feel fresh and may help destroy the recycle of buildings and story pieces we’ve seen, but only time will tell.

How do you feel about Call of Duty as a series, and will you be picking up Advanced Warfare this holiday? Sound off in the comments section below!