Regarding Payton's question as to whether or not a mainly story-driven narrative game with little or no combat could succeed on the level of Call of Duty, I think it's possible. You'd just have to sell it to a totally different audience.
COD and most action games like it really appeal to the "Bro" demographic which much of the time is still the main target audience for video games in North America. It's the same demographic that makes action movies and action TV shows successful.
If you were making a game that shared more in common with drama, soap opera, comedy, etc., you would have to sell it to people who are more into that thing. You would have to convince those people that a videogame can do those things well. For starters you'd probably have to have at least a professional TV-level writer deeply involved (if not one of the main designers). You'd also probably have to advertise the game outside of the normal gaming channels.
For a while now I've been wondering if adventure games and other narrative-driven games could prove to be a gateway to casual gamers who maybe don't like action and space marines.