Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in the firing line over year-long PS4 exclusivity for Spec Ops Survival mode
UPDATE: Infinity Ward dev points to "decisions that are above all of our pay grades".
UPDATE 25th Sep 2019: Infinity Ward's narrative director Taylor Kurosaki has responded to complaints over Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's PlayStation 4 timed exclusivity for the Survival mode of Spec Ops, pointing to "decisions that are above all of our pay grades".
Developer Infinity Ward has been caught in the firing line after it was revealed Survival mode is exclusive to PS4 until 1st October 2020.
Deals for content to be used as timed exclusives are usually done by publishers and platform holders, and it's Activision's deal with Sony for Modern Warfare that has sparked the current Call of Duty outcry.
Responding to angry Call of Duty fans on Twitter, Kurosaki insisted Infinity Ward was simply trying to create the best Call of Duty game it could, and downplayed the significance of Survival mode's exclusivity.
"We do our BEST every day to give our players the best experience possible," he tweeted.
"There are decisions that are above all of our pay grades that have to be considered. I understand your feelings, but this is much better than others I have seen."
Up to you, I respect your decision. We do our BEST every day to give our players the best experience possible. There are decisions that are above all of our pay grades that have to be considered. I understand your feelings, but this is much better than others I have seen.— @email@example.com (@taylorkurosaki) September 24, 2019
It’s all good. We have tried our best to have an open dialogue with our players from day one. We understand letting that trust down. These are complicated decisions that are above our pay grade. Please know we want what’s best for all our players.— @firstname.lastname@example.org (@taylorkurosaki) September 24, 2019
There is currently much debate about Survival mode, and how much content the Spec Ops portion of Modern Warfare will offer at launch. Kurosaki confirmed Survival is the only part of the game given over to timed exclusivity, and insisted it's a "sliver" of Spec Ops.
Survival is "one per cent of the game", he continued, and "the other 99 per cent is simultaneous day and date across all platforms".
"I'd rather have everyone playing 99 per cent of the content at the same time than 100 per cent of the content some time later."
Kurosaki's comments rekindle memories of Black Ops 4 and the apparent tension between developer Treyarch and Activision over its post-launch monetisation. The dialogue around Black Ops 4, which is generally considered to be a solid Call of Duty in gameplay terms with a successful battle royale, is mostly about the lack of value in its season pass, pay-to-win accusations, loot boxes and offensive microtransactions.
The situation with Black Ops 4 prompted concern about how Call of Duty: Modern Warfare would be monetised and divided up in a post-season pass, crossplay-enabled world. Now that concern is being realised, will Infinity Ward's attempt to explain the situation fall on deaf ears?
ORIGINAL STORY 24th Sep 2019: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's Spec Ops Survival Mode is a timed Playstation 4 exclusive, Activision has revealed.
The mode, teased tonight in the PlayStation version of Modern Warfare's new campaign trailer, is exclusive to PS4 until 1st October 2020. Confirmation comes in the small print of the video at the 2:17 mark.
Last week Activision said "most" Call of Duty: Modern Warfare post-launch content would release simultaneously across all platforms, but PS4 players would get "an exciting Day 1 advantage". Is this Special Ops mode it?
As you'd expect, the news PS4 owners get more Call of Duty than PC and Xbox One owners for an entire year isn't going down well. The thread on the Modern Warfare subreddit about it is packed with complaints - and the language used is not family-friendly.
Modern Warfare is the first crossplay Call of Duty game, and it also ditches the userbase-splitting season pass. Infinity Ward had said post-launch gameplay content set to release simultaneously across all platforms includes new multiplayer maps, new multiplayer modes and Spec Ops missions, among other things.
Publisher Activision's deal with Sony has in recent years secured timed-exclusivity on content for Call of Duty, much to the annoyance of PC and Xbox One players. With 2018's Black Ops 4 the timed-exclusivity was for seven days. For Modern Warfare's Spec Ops Survival mode, it's an entire year. And the exclusivity ends just as 2020's Call of Duty game, rumoured to be Black Ops 5, will likely come out and most fans will be ready to move on.