Last weekend, Call of Duty XP turned Los Angeles into a personal Mecca for fans of the Modern Warfare and Black Ops Franchises. The event delivered a steady stream of celebrities, attractive women, and extreme entertainment into the hands of attendees, but these were all inconsequential compared to the main event: Modern Warfare 3's multiplayer launch.
Activision and Infinity Ward dispensed a slurry of new information about Modern Warfare 3, and the internet has already starting spewing out rumors based on this knowledge. But before we start to speculate on what the future holds for MW3, let's take a step back and examine the news that came out of Call of Duty XP.
On Friday, Eric Hirshberg, the CEO of publishing at Activision, kicked things off with a keynote presentation that gave us a bit of insight into the Call of Duty phenomenon. Obviously, it's no secret that CoD is popular, but the level of that popularity is only really understood by the folks at Activision. If we could add up all of the bullets being fired in a CoD match, Hirshberg explained, the number would be larger than the number of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. Or, for the sports fans, the CEO pointed out that the number of people who play CoD online every day would fill the 80 largest sports stadiums to capacity. Both of these metaphors produce numbers that are far too large for a normal human to understand. We get it, CoD is extremely popular.
In order to maintain this popularity, Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games have been working on some major changes to MW3. For a little more detail, Hirshberg handed the stage over to Robert Bowling of Infinity Ward and Michael Condrey of Sledgehammer Games. After the pair of them jokingly bragged about their skill as gamers, they treated the audience to a rundown of MW3's multiplayer revamp.
The first few items on their list are pretty innocuous:
All of these, especially that last one, are welcome changes for the seasoned CoD player. The fact that the development teams have chosen to get rid of these perks is evidence of their commitment to gameplay. Many developers in the past have chosen to leave imbalanced features in their sequels, if only to extend the game's feature list. It's encouraging to see that Infinity Ward has no problem admitting when something doesn't work.
This commitment to gameplay is underlined by Infinity Ward's commitment to what they're calling "gunplay." In MW2 and Black Ops, many of the players would spend most of the round pursuing killstreaks and equipping the most obnoxious "easy-kill" weapons that they could find. Infinity Ward aims to reduce this behavior in MW3 by implementing a few key features. Mark Rubin, Executive Producer for the Modern Warfare franchise, expanded on this mentality in an interview on Friday night:
"Assault rifles [have] a role to fill that they can be successful at. And SMGs have a different role, and can be very successful at filling that role, but [are not] also a long-distance laser gun, which I think some of the Modern Warfare 2 weapons were." Rubin went on to explain that MW2 had several weapons that went ignored by most players, and this was something that MW3 developers aimed to fix. "We don't want people not using certain types of weapons" Rubin said. "We want them all to be functional, good, and all fit various types of play styles."