It's difficult to look Modern Warfare in the eye without glancing at the long shadow that trails behind it. The small library of gradually worsening sequels and annual follow-ups, the abysmal Medal of Honor games and all the other middling to poor efforts at competition that defined the next half-decade of first-person shooters ( Terrorist Takedown anyone?).
"Is this a joke?"
GamesIndustry.biz, the trade arm of the Eurogamer Network, recently completed the next step in its evolution toward greater support for the videogames business with the implementation of a full registration system.
Modern Warfare 2 writer Jesse Stern made headlines earlier this month when he spoke about the background to the infamous "No Russian" level in Infinity Ward's latest blockbusting first-person shooter. But who is Jesse Stern, and how did he get involved in Call of Duty in the first place? Friend-of-Eurogamer John Gaudiosi tracked him down.
Published as part of our sister-site GamesIndustry.biz' widely-read weekly newsletter, the GamesIndustry.biz Editorial offers analysis of one of the issues weighing on the minds of the people at the top of the games business. It appears on Eurogamer after it goes out to GamesIndustry.biz newsletter subscribers.
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.
Stop clowning around; it really is bastardly cold out there. Still, it's good for one thing: keeping my PC from overheating. All I have to do is wrap up warm and open my window, then pop in one of these festively fantastic frolics and laugh away merrily - probably with a vat of mulled wine close-by to ensure I am well and truly smashed. I'm only giving it serious consideration because there are some games worth seriously considering.
Another good thing about Christmas is that you can kiss people by holding a twig with leaves above their heads, made all the more likely by the enormous vat of incredibly pungent mulled wine stewing in the kitchen. Similarly smile-worthy is that yes there are games on PS3 to buy this year, despite what James with his rival console says in the comments section while picking his nose and flicking it at his equally spotty friend.
It is now dark when we walk home and birds are either dropping out of trees in frozen lumps or going somewhere much nicer for their holidays. And, as always happens, the shops are hoisting their Christmas decorations up and getting us all worried about buying presents because we never know what they want is it socks or aftershave. So, we thought we would join in.
You can't help but experience universally positive feelings of pure gaming joy the first time you boot up the Call of Duty 4 multiplayer beta, currently playing out across Xbox Live. Within those first precious moments of gameplay, all doubts you may have had about the game's innovations - not least its shift in time away from World War II - quickly dissipate. The Call of Duty DNA is self-evident, and certainly in my opinion, it's clear that the game offers a substantial leap over anything we've seen before on a console first person shooter.
Of all PlayStation 3's forthcoming releases, the most interesting and significant is neither a game nor for sale. Home, Sony's more structured, sanitised and solid attempt at a Second Life world might seem innocuous enough but with the screenshots of its cinema space and the implied possibility of fully downloadable movies, there's the chance it might eventually outgrow even its host platform in significance.
A Most Wanted list you say? Cripes, whatever next: a Tips and Cheats pamphlet to go with Eurogamer's promotional Pacman Beach Ball cover mount? Still, it's the summer, there are precious few games around and, with an awful lot of new titles coming up towards the end of the year you might quite reasonably want to know which ones to keep an eye on.
"When you see a guy running around in his urban camo with a camo weapon, you're gonna know that guy is a real badass." These are the words of Grant Collier, Infinity Ward president and the man in charge of ditching the successful WWII setting of the Call of Duty series and leading the fourth game into a terrifying near-future setting, already occupied by Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon. There are no antique firearms here, just high-tech assault rifles, thermal goggles and enough pocket-size explosives to kill a planet. The custom camo that Grant talks about is an unlockable extra, which along with the custom gamertags, will let you know that you're dealing with a professional killer and one who's likely to snipe you from 200ft without breaking a sweat.