Modern Warfare Grows Up
by CS Griffy
June 29, 2009
When I was a young boy growing up in Virginia I was affectionately referred to and known as “Timmy”. On my thirteenth birthday my Mother decided that as a teenager and now a young man I should be referred to as Tim. On the day of my Birthday I walked into our kitchen to see the Birthday banner that read “Happy Birthday Tim” and my first comment was “Who is this Tim character and why are we celebrating his birthday?” Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has officially grown up and aims to strike out on it’s own by dropping the “Call of Duty” prefix and walking on it’s own as “Modern Warfare 2”.
As of today there are 135 days, 10 hours, 25 minutes and 5 seconds until the hotly anticipated next installment of the Call of Duty Franchise is released on November 10th, 2009. If you listen closely you can hear the sound of excited gamers everywhere blowing the dust off the first iteration of the Modern Warfare series and returning to their old stomping grounds in anticipation of the sequel. That is exactly what I have been doing lately and it’s easy to see why this game was so wildly popular and successful.
Recent numbers and research by Microsoft Xbox Live and the Playstation Network have revealed that over 14 million people have completed the F.N.G. (F#$&*ng New Guy) single player mission. How big is that number? Consider this:
- There are 156 countries with smaller populations than 14 million; including Greece, Cuba, Portugal, Hungary, Sweden, Switzerland, Israel, Ireland, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Denmark, etc. You get the idea.
- There are only 4 states in the US that have more than 14 million people (California, Texas, New York and Florida).
- More people have played COD4: Modern Warfare than were born in the US over the last 5 years.
- Twice as many people have played COD: Modern Warfare than there are Motorcycles in the United States.
- Less than 13 Million cars have been sold in the U.S. over the last three years.
What do all of these statistics mean? Nothing really other than confirming that a lot of people have played Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
COD4: Modern Warfare won many awards after its release in November of 2007, including being voted Console Game of the Year, Action Game of the Year and Overall Game of the Year by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences. Those who have played this title can easily understand why. From clean graphics to intense campaign mode action and exciting Multi-player modes, COD: Modern Warfare is the epitome of what a Next-Generation Console shooter should be. In summary, the bar has been set very high.
Treyarch felt the pressure of following in the footsteps of a legend when they released the 5th installment in the Call of Duty Franchise COD: World at War. Returning to the World War Two theater, World at War was openly criticized for releasing a “play-it-safe” sequel that used elements of Modern Warfare but added nothing “noteworthy of its own” (unless you count the Sunglasses perk - has anyone ever equipped this perk?) World at War still did remarkably well and ranked 6th on the top sellers list in 2008 which speaks to the power of the Call of Duty Brand name. It is important to note that number 10 on that list of top sellers in 2008 was COD4: Modern Warfare.
So now that Activision has tapped Infinity Ward with the responsibility of following up their 2007 blockbuster, what can the developer do to avoid the disappointment of releasing a sequel that could potentially be viewed as an expansion pack to the first Modern Warfare title? That is the challenge Infinity Ward faces, through their own success they have created a tough act to follow.
At this point, with only 135 days, 10 hours, 25 minutes and 5 seconds until MW2 hits stores there probably isn’t much that can be changed with the game itself. A lengthy list of things to consider would be as useful to them as a screen door on a submarine. Topical relevance has never stopped me before so here is a “Wish List” for your consideration:
Suggested Improvements for Modern Warfare 2
- Make Hard Core modes more “Hard Core”
The only thing more annoying than getting blasted with the M-203 grenade launcher or RPG is getting blasted by those weapons in a Hard Core mode. Why use a rocket launcher when a pistol will have the same effect? Using the “Noob Tubes” in HC mode is like swatting a fly with a hammer, its overkill. So for MW2 lets hope Hard Core truly means Hard Core. For starters, get rid of the frags, claymores, M-203’s, RPG’s, and any other rocket/grenade propelled weapons; Rifles, pistols and knives only. Let the gamers who want to “arcade” it up and use those types of weapons play in the non-Hard Core game modes. Give the Hard Core gamers a true Hard Core game mode.
There is no doubt that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was a smash hit without Clan support features. However, adding this functionality would dramatically increase the staying power of this game. Infinity Ward, knowingly or not, created a level playing field for FPS gamers to show their skills and compete against each other. The next logical step would be to provide clan support. IW created the field, the equipment and the rules of engagement but they forgot to create the teams. Outside of Deathmatch, all modes are team oriented, so why not support the team?
With Clan Support, the next evolution would be a ranking system and the ability to pit your team against another. Other games have supported this feature in the past and done so quite well. I am not a programmer and don’t profess to be one but it seems like this should be doable. This would also be another mechanism for keeping people on this game and increasing replay-ability.
- In-Game Tournaments and Ladders
Infinity Ward is interested in what the original Modern Warfare gamers want. Earlier this year IW took advantage of the Social Networking craze and utilized Twitter to solicit the Modern Warfare community for ideas on how to improve the upcoming sequel. As you can imagine when you poll an avid fan base for their suggestions you are going to get a ton of responses, some good and some not so good. I browsed some of the comments on IW’s Twitter page and thought I would highlight some of what I thought was the good, the bad and the ugly:
- Be able to choose the camouflage of our soldier (desert, snow, wood).
- No respawn in front of enemy.
- Console-Host migration so that the game doesn't quit while the host leave.
- Larger Rooms - At least 10 vs. 10 without forcing us to play war.
- Punishments for team killing rather than just penalizing respawn times.
- A complete lack of player-controlled vehicles. Leave that crap to Halo.
- A different phrase instead of "tango down in section one alpha" I've heard that a million times now.
- At 20 kill streak give the ability to call in Chuck Norris.
- A female character named Tina would be cool
- I'd like to see Godzilla as the final boss. Thanks in advance.
- The ability to choose the sex of your character for multi-player and single-player. Sexy Marine chicks’ ftw!
- Brutality greatly adds to a game, we want blood, guts, and dismemberment.
- If you're going to have customizable characters, facial hair options are a MUST!
The Ugly (yet very entertaining)
- Less Treyarch
- Oh, and an enemy called Pvt. Trey Arch to shoot in the arse.
- The ability to throw your empty pistol as a last ditch defense/attack.
- Can we have some kind of war cry during matches? It would be so awesome to see a berserk enemy doing a war cry, if it can be done.
- Also, make a headshot noise that makes them really satisfying.
- I'd like to see my feet, no joke; the character's feet would be awesome.
- Get another kick-ass guitar riff for when you rank up and complete a challenge. That thing makes my day.
- Easter eggs mocking CoD:WaW
- MORE WATERMELONS.
So there you have it, the people have spoken. It remains to be seen what suggestions Infinity Ward will follow and which they’ll throw out. We only have to wait 135 days, 10 hours, 20 minutes and 35 seconds to find out.
Confirmation on multi-player features has been non-existent from Infinity Ward. The Developer seems to be keeping information close to their chest for now. It appears we will just have to wait and see what advice or suggestions Infinity Ward chooses to follow and include in their November release.
I have to admit though, being able to call in Chuck Norris after a 20-Kill streak would be awesome!