Amid growing speculation within the Call of Duty community about Modern Warfare's monetisation plan, one of the game's chief developers has stepped in to insist Infinity Ward is not working on loot boxes.
Joel Emslie, studio art director at Infinity Ward, took to the Modern Warfare subreddit to issue a statement under the thread title "Current events", which is clearly designed to calm the rampant speculation. In the statement, Emslie said Infinity Ward is "definitely NOT working on any kind of supply drop or loot box system". Also, Emslie said "functional stuff is unlocked through GAMEPLAY".
Here's the statement:
"Sigh. There continues to be misinformed and incorrect info being pushed about Modern Warfare. What I can say right now is that we are definitely NOT working on any kind of supply drop or loot box system. Also, functional stuff is unlocked through GAMEPLAY. Stay tuned, we're planning to release info this week."
Emslie's statement is unequivocal as it relates to Infinity Ward - the studio is not working on supply drops or loot boxes. So, it makes sense to assume Modern Warfare will not launch with loot boxes or supply drops. Emslie's line, "functional stuff is unlocked through GAMEPLAY," suggests Modern Warfare won't have a pay-to-win element, either. This is of course good news.
However, fans are pointing to Activision's track record when it comes to the monetisation of past Call of Duty games. Previous entries have seen the addition of loot boxes post-release - Black Ops 4 got loot boxes four months after launch - and some have included gameplay-affecting weapons. Adding fuel to the fire, fans spotted reference to loot boxes in the recent Modern Warfare beta.
Emslie's statement is currently top of the Modern Warfare subreddit. The top reply, from redditor Loud_County, sums up the sentiment:
"Please let this be true for the entire life cycle of the game."
Activision has for the first time ditched the player base-splitting annual pass for Modern Warfare. Spec Ops Survival mode going to PlayStation 4 for a year is the only platform exclusivity deal. So, where will the post-launch money be made?
Fans expect a Fortnite-style battle pass of some description. This is something Activision added to Treyarch's Black Ops 4, although it was free to participate in. Will Activision charge for a battle pass added to a full-price game?
Perhaps a battle pass, if it is in Modern Warfare, will be tied to the seemingly inevitable battle royale. Current speculation pegs the battle royale to launch early 2020 for free. A paid-for battle pass may be a better fit for that.