Of course you're still playing. Everyone is. Since its release last November, Call of Duty 4 has soared into a position of dominance in the online FPS space, even outperforming Bungie's Halo 3 on Xbox Live.
So the release of the first major new content update due next month is, it's fair to say, already amongst the most desirable downloadable offerings we'll see on any platform in 2008. At least until the entire back catalogue of Steps appears in SingStore.
Last Friday, Activision and Infinity Ward held an event in central London to show off the new Variety Map Pack for the very first time, not just to spoiled press brats, but also a few of you lucky lot, too.
Eurogamer TV will be showing you the sights and sounds of Camp COD very soon; in the meantime, we caught up with Infinity Ward producer Mark Rubin, who told us all about the new maps, and all about how much his game is pwning Halo 3.
Eurogamer: Can you talk us through the new downloadable content - what are we getting for our money?
Mark Rubin: It's four maps in the Variety Map Pack. It all really developed out of community feedback - we paid attention to what people were asking for and tried to include as much of that as possible. So we have four maps that are not only uniquely different from each other, but are actually in some way different from any of the maps we have in the game. We're trying to introduce some new gameplay elements that weren't necessarily there before.
The first map is Creek. This map, which is definitely different, is this big, open environment, with lush forest-type areas and creek beds. What it lends is for a much larger engagement range for players - snipers will obviously have a field day on this one. At the same time we've done something really unique with this map. We've varied up the terrain elevation so much that you have some really dynamic looking as well as playing elements when you're running around. The height changes are significant and something a lot of games have stayed away from. We didn't just do a flat map with a bunch of trees and say, here's your open field map.
The second map, Broadcast, was again based on community feedback. When we shipped and people were playing the single-player, we got a lot of requests for the TV station that's in the Charlie Don't Surf level. We thought that was quite funny, as it's just a big room but everyone wants a multiplayer version of that. It was a big challenge - you can't just make a multiplayer level out of a big room. That one took a lot of work. We wanted to maintain the TV station feel, but added a whole lot of new geometry around the rooms, and it's really become one of the most fun maps to play for me. It is great CQB gameplay but on a larger scale.
The third map is Killhouse, and this came about from feedback on smaller maps. It's basically a split-screen map - it fits on all the playlists, but is definitely a much smaller environment. Its art design is based on the training level with the board walls and enemy pop-up targets. It's a really fast, fun extreme map.
The last one is one of the best-looking maps we've ever done. It's a remake of Carentan that was in Call of Duty 1 and 2. I was incredibly impressed with this one - if you're doing a remake then you have to do something new with it. What we did was send our artist out to Chinatown in San Francisco and have them photograph everything. Everything is brand new, and I think they've created this amazingly visually intense level. It's so full of stuff - you walk in to every little room and it looks like people live there. I think they really went above and beyond.
The good thing about all of these maps is they're playable across all of the playlists - they're split-screen, system link, Live, they fit in everywhere.
Eurogamer: Is there more DLC in the pipeline after this pack?
Mark Rubin: We can't say anything right now. To some extent we don't know for sure - the team is concentrating on getting this map pack out for every platform.
Eurogamer: When's it releasing?
Mark Rubin: Sometime in April.
Eurogamer: And when are you making an announcement on pricing?
Mark Rubin: It should be really soon. I don't know for sure.
Eurogamer: What are your expectations for the event today?
Mark Rubin: The event here in London is great because this is the only event for the map pack. There isn't really another press event. We based it in Europe and I hope that sends a message that we really pay attention to the European community and love it, and don't segregate them off for any reason. They are a big part of our fan-base.
Eurogamer: Has the popularity of the game exceeded your expectations?
Mark Rubin: Yeah, it was a huge surprise. When we were making the game, we had no idea how popular it would be. It was a tough time, there were a lot of big titles coming out and we were going up against the behemoths of the industry. We had no idea where we would end up, but we've been on top of the online play counts for weeks now.
Eurogamer: How many people are playing online?
Mark Rubin: Every day we get a unique user count, how many played that day. We have been consistently for the past two-to-three months been between 1.2 and 1.3 million every day [on Xbox Live]. Monday through Sunday. It's crazy. We've created a lot of heartache for a lot of companies who go up against it. I think Halo's website says they get something around 845,000 to a million. That's just 360. There's even more on the other platforms, but we just don't have the same numbering system. Overall, even without the other consoles, we are beating the competition. PS3 numbers are monstrously huge. No other game has come close, either online current, or total unique users in a day.
Eurogamer: Of the people who bought Call of Duty 4, how many are playing the game online?
Mark Rubin: I don't have an exact number for you, but it turns out to be a startling number of people. For a lot this is there first time playing a multiplayer game on console or PC. We're getting really high numbers.
Eurogamer: Finally, have you considered doing any single-player DLC?
Mark Rubin: We think of everything, but not really in that case. We feel like the single-player campaign was the perfect story, it began and ended correctly, and don't think there's anything we could do with that.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is out now on PS3, Xbox 360, PC and DS.