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.
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.