Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered is in the works - and it doesn't have multiplayer.
CharlieIntel sources indicated Modern Warfare 2 Remastered is real after a listing for the game popped up on Amazon Italy for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One priced €19.99 with a 30th April release date. Eurogamer sources have backed this up.
CharlieIntel also reported Modern Warfare 2 Remastered does not include multiplayer. Eurogamer sources told us this is indeed true.
Why the sacked Infinity Ward founders want $1 billion, and how they intend to win it.
As bona fide stop-the-press moments go, the events of 1st March 2010 stack up impressively. With Modern Warfare 2 smashing sales records across the globe and cementing the Call of Duty brand's claim to 'biggest gaming franchise ever' status, Activision announced out of the blue that its creators, Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella, had been relieved of their posts with immediate effect.
Activision attempted to hack into email and phone messages belonging to Infinity Ward bosses Jason West and Vince Zampella prior to the pair's dismissal in 2010, according to documents pertaining to the forthcoming court battle between the two parties.
Date set for West/Zampella contract interference trial.
A US superior court judge has denied EA's request to throw out Activision's $400 million contract-interference suit relating to the departure of Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella last year.
BF3: Back to Karkand! Mortal Kombat! Ratchet for £49.99!
Long-delayed Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection has finally launched on the EU PlayStation Store this week. The compilation contains 2D classics Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat 2 and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 in one bundle.
The game had originally been due for an August launch alongside its Xbox Live Arcade counterpart, but continually failed to appear, something Sony blamed on a "technical issue".
Back to Karkand, the first Battlefield 3 expansion, went live earlier this week and contains four maps from previous Battlefield instalments. PlayStation 3 gamers get it a week before their PC and Xbox 360 friends.
Amid the ongoing Sony hack furore, Activision has pledged to ensure that Call of Duty: Elite, the new multiplayer-focused service set to launch alongside Modern Warfare 3 this November, will help rid the game of cheaters.
A new report suggests the story of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 - thought to be codenamed Project Collossus [sic] and due out 8th November - will be of a much grander scale than previous Modern Warfare games.
As the story unfolds, multiple countries will be drawn in to the conflict, Kotaku heard from a source - creating a potential World War III scenario.
As for a time-line, Modern Warfare 3 apparently starts where MW2 stopped. Urban warfare, where tanks rumble through streets used by cars, will be the game's bread and butter.
The editor of topical discussion show The Wright Show has defended last month's 'Do shoot 'em up games lead to real violence?' episode in which panellists linked video game violence to real world violence.
UPDATE: Activision claims the countdown timer website is a hoax. "There seems to be a great deal of speculation about the next Call of Duty project," said the publisher in a statement issued this evening. "Let me be clear that we are not revealing yet. Anything indicating otherwise is a hoax."
George "Geohot" Hotz, currently being sued by Sony for cracking the PlayStation 3's security wide open, has denied his actions have led to hacks ruining first-person shooter Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
Former Infinity Ward boss Vince Zampella deliberately conspired against his then-employer Activision by holding back the release of a Modern Warfare 2 map pack until after the release of EA's Battlefield: Bad Company 2, court documents made public today suggest.
He was the guest that no-one expected to see – and yet Keith Vaz MP, Parliament's most hostile critic of the industry, turned out last night at an event in support of gaming, claiming: "I've never been against games".
Fired Call of Duty creators Vince Zampella and Jason West have claimed the bitter legal battle between themselves and Activision is preventing their new studio Respawn Entertainment from getting going.
The increasingly bitter war between mega videogame companies Activision and Electronic Arts levelled up this week when the Call of Duty publisher attempted to drag its chief rival into its countersuit against ex-Infinity Ward stars Vince Zampella and Jason West.
The friend of an alleged videogames addict who featured in Panorama's recent documentary, Addicted To Games?, has hit out at the makers' selective editing and "exaggerated view of games addiction and its causes".
Poor sales of Bizarre's racer Blur and Raven Software's shooter Singularity between April and June were offset by the continued gargantuan success of Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, publisher Activision Blizzard has said.
"Singularity fell short of meeting what is an exceptionally high bar within the shooter genre," said chief financial officer Thomas Tippl during an investor call last night.
"Fortunately, Call of Duty was the title that raised that bar and shortfall of Singularity was offset by Call of Duty's catalogue and DLC performance.
A group of 38 current and former Infinity Ward employees have filed a lawsuit against Activision, accusing the publisher of withholding millions of dollars in bonuses related to the sale of Modern Warfare 2.
Activision COO Thomas Tippl has said that far from discouraging talent from joining Infinity Ward, the changes at the Modern Warfare studio recently have created a void into which many developers would be happy to jump.
Activision has accused former Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella of "delaying pre-production of Modern Warfare 3" in its cross-complaint against the duo, who launched a legal action against the publisher after they were sacked last month.
What's in a name? Infinity Ward's choice of title for Modern Warfare 2's first map pack is telling. It implies an injection of content designed to revitalise an ailing economy of players, stirring up dulling passions and reversing waning success. Despite what community manager Rob Bowling may say, Activision must be concerned by the speed at which rival Battlefield: Bad Company 2 has been closing the gap between the two games in recent weeks, both in terms of sales and online engagement. So is this a stimulus package to overwhelm the competition? Perhaps it wasn't originally planned that way, but today, the hope must be there.
Then, of course, there are the financial undertones: the implication that a Stimulus Package is somehow a gesture of generosity for the Modern Warfare faithful in lean times. But many players would contend that at 1200 Microsoft Points (£10.20 / €14.40) - a quarter of the price of the full game itself - this pack of five maps (only three of which are new to the series) represents anything but value for the penny-pinched.
And what of the wider context to this add-on? Infinity Ward is now a headless goliath, its two founders and studio bosses fired by parent company and arch-villain-du-jour Activision in a messy, public manner last month. What of the staff left behind to craft and polish these environments, those men and women who no doubt feel split loyalties under their new, and probably unwelcome, management? They will be unsure of their futures, made insecure by the way their leaders were taken out back and shot, and at the same time prevented from expressing discontent in public by enough legal threats to sink a Langdell.
Update #6: "The MW2 Title Update is now live! It may take a few minutes for everyone worldwide to get it - our apologies for the delay." Not our words - the words of Xbox Live's Major Nelson. "It may take a few mins for you to get the update, or for it to work properly. Once things get in order all should be fine."
You have to feel for Robert Bowling. Infinity Ward's creative strategist has over 100,000 followers on Twitter (dwarfing ours, obviously), the press hangs on and repeats his every substantive word, and he's on the phone doing rounds of interviews for the Modern Warfare 2 "Stimulus Package" map pack.
The Infinity Ward spat is a symptom of a wider power struggle between top studios and publishers.
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.
The lawsuit filed by Jason West and Vince Zampella against Activision referred to the publisher's "astonishing arrogance and unbridled greed", and claimed that the investigation leading to the duo's dismissal was more of an "inquisition".
The full 16-page filing popped up overnight on IGN and made interesting reading. "This lawsuit is solely and regrettably the result of the astonishing arrogance and unbridled greed of defendant Activision," it began.
After taking credit for "lining Activision's pockets with billions of dollars in revenue", West and Zampella's suit said that the fact they were having to sue for their pay was "not surprising, given that Activision is run by a CEO who has been publicly quoted as believing that the best way to run a videogame studio is to engender a culture of 'skepticism, pessimism, and fear,' and who prefers to pay his lawyers instead of his employees".
The Writers Guild of America has announced the nominees for the 2009 Videogame Writing awards.
As reported by Kotaku, those in the running include Assassin's Creed II (written by Corey May, Joshua Rubin and Jeffrey Yohalem) and Uncharted 2 (Amy Hennig).
Then there's Wet (Duppy Demetrius) and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Marc Guggenheim). There may not be room for all the writers on the stage if Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 wins (written by Jesse Stern; additional Writing by Steve Fukuda; story by Todd Alderman, Steve Fukuda, Mackey McCandlish, Zied Rieke, Jesse Stern, Jason West; battlechatter dialogue by Sean Slayback).
The best selling game of 2009 across North America was the Xbox 360 version of Modern Warfare 2, with a whopping 4.2 million units shifted by the end of November. The PS3 version finished eighth with 1.9m sales.
Former Major Neil Powell has said that in terms of age, gender and background, gamers are "precisely the target audience the British Army wants". However, the establishment is so timid and out-of-touch that it "would never dream" of emulating the US Army, which funds its own interest-boosting game, America's Army.
On how he came to Call of Duty and what makes it tick.
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.
Neither Assassin's Creed II nor New Super Mario Bros. Wii have managed to displace Modern Warfare 2 at the top of the UK All-Formats chart, despite Activision's champion selling 86 per cent fewer copies during its second week on sale.
Infinity Ward has denied that sales of Modern Warfare 2 on PC have been lacklustre, arguing that all the signs actually point to success.
"Yes, PC is the smallest percentage in terms of how much sold on each platform but that hardly means anything other than the PC is just the smallest market," Infinity Ward man Robert Bowling patiently informed fans on the official forum (thanks Kotaku).
"The PC version of Modern Warfare 2 has actually outsold the PC version of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in its first week. Making it the most successful PC version."
Does Modern Warfare 2's success mean that Activision's price hike was justified?
Published as part of our sister-site GamesIndustry.biz' widely-read weekly newsletter, the GamesIndustry.biz Editorial is a weekly dissection 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 GI.biz newsletter subscribers.
Extensive analysis of the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions.
The year's hottest and most successful videogame finally gets the full-on Digital Foundry Face-Off treatment. It's fair to say that Call of Duty titles in recent years have consistently favoured performance on the Xbox 360, whether they've been produced by series founder Infinity Ward or gap-year specialists Treyarch. With 2009's offering featuring an enhanced engine and brand new streaming tech, can the PS3 game match or indeed surpass the quality of the Xbox title?
First things first. While there have been plenty of attempts at comparison shots thus far across the net, something hasn't really looked quite right about any of them. The colour balance is quite patently wrong.
Basic settings don't cut it with Modern Warfare 2. You really need to spend some time setting up the game to play nicely with your screen... or indeed your capture kit. Usual form within any Digital Foundry Face-Off is simply to run the game at default settings and let the chips fall as they may - the assumption being that the default is equivalent to the colour settings within the console's framebuffer, or at the very least what the developer calibrates the output to. However, keeping the default settings is really not a particularly good idea within Modern Warfare 2 and we're also not sure how effective Infinity Ward's calibration method is for the end user is either.
Chart-Track has defended yesterday's record-breaking Modern Warfare 2 sales claim after industry analyst Michael Pachter questioned the figures.
"UK retailers have been at the forefront of electronic data capture for decades, which in turn allows us to capture daily sales from 99 per cent of retailers on our panel," Bloch told GamesIndustry.biz. "That's over 6000 retail outlets plus all the etailers - currently 25 different store fronts.
"Every retailer on our panel supplies Electronic Point of Sale data. In the specific case of pre-orders through retailers with High Street stores, we can and do pick these up sometimes months before a product actually launches and these are set up by the retailer to report as a specific retailer code. When the product goes live we begin to track sales on the actual barcode for that product, along with the actual selling price for every single transaction.
Craig Fairbrass, who voices Ghost in some cheap little shooter that came out this week we can't remember the name of, has hinted that he may be called upon to supply dialogue for new content.
Chatting with Eurogamer on the camo carpet at the Modern Warfare 2 (ah!) launch premiere in Leicester Square on Monday night, the hulking British actor, who played Gaz in the original MW, revealed how excited his kids were about his character featuring in a DC Comics series, adding: "They're talking to me about other little spin-offs. I'm just really, really pleased and happy to be a part of it."
Pressed on whether there were more game roles on the horizon, he teased: "They're talking to me about doing some other little bits for this. It's lovely being in Los Angeles being part of this. It's amazing."
Infinity Ward has issued a patch for the PS3 version of Modern Warfare 2, which should solve the problem with Trophies in single-player and Spec Ops modes.
The developer also said that a second patch would be released "by the end of the week" to sort out problems with party invitations.
However, the PS3 version of the game is still plagued by multiplayer server issues, which are down to PlayStation Network itself according to the developer's creative strategist Robert Bowling, writing on Twitter.
Labour MP Tom Watson believes a Facebook 'pressure group' he created for gamers could be "a game-changing move for Parliament" - after being "incensed" by remarks made by fellow MP Keith Vaz on the violent content of Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare 2.
Twice, Infinity Ward asks if you're absolutely sure you want to see it. The scene, the fourth you'll encounter in the most widely anticipated game of the year, could be "disturbing" or "offensive", repeats the warning. You smile and agree that, yes, you are sure you want to see it. This is a videogame. They give them 18 certificates, but only to appease people who don't really understand what's going on. Sure, the images of violence and bloodshed on Modern Warfare's battlefields can be disturbing to an onlooker, but death in a first-person shooter is a five-second setback, a micro-reincarnation designed to provide challenge and an impetus to improve, not distress.
Likewise, the crimson firework that explodes whenever bullet meets target is merely a visual cue to indicate another object removed from the shooting gallery, while the wash of blood that temporarily clouds your view when you're wounded is just a health gauge obfuscated. The orchestra-swells and military bombast? All window dressing for what is, essentially, Space Invaders evolved. You take cover behind walls and shoot aliens. In 1978, these were line-dancing pixel clusters from outer space. In 2009 they're Afghans. The metaphor's changed, but the principle remains the same: avoid missing headshot for high score. A videogame. Yes, I'm sure I want to see it.
The first three missions of Modern Warfare 2 do little to change your mind. The training level, set in a desert encampment somewhere in the Middle East, is literally a shooting gallery. You race from pillar to post, refreshing muscle memory, making split-second fire/hold-fire decisions, flitting between your rifle and pistol while racing against the clock to reach the end of the assault course. Not satisfied with your score? Have another go. Shave seconds from your time by improving your speed and accuracy. The sand particles billowing in the wind, the off-duty soldiers playing basketball in the communal yard and the throb of the noonday sun are of a fidelity not seen in games before, but the systems they dress are as old as videogame time.
Activision president Mike Griffith has said that the controversial decision to axe dedicated servers for the PC version of Modern Warfare 2 "improves that consumer experience overall by a significant margin".
Activision and Eurogamer are holding hands and offering two pairs of free tickets to the Modern Warfare 2 launch bonanza at London's Leicester Square next Monday (9th November).
Win and you could be rubbernecking on a camouflage-print carpet with "the UK's most famous faces". You'll watch a cinema presentation of Modern Warfare 2, witnessing behind-the-scenes interviews, before the celebrity host hands the game controller to you, hours before general UK release.
Furthermore, your VIP wristband doubles as a queue-jump at the London Trocadero HMV, where the official Modern Warfare 2 launch takes place.
Activision will take over Leicester Square on Monday 9th November to launch what could be the biggest game ever, Modern Warfare 2.
The ODEON cinema will host a screening of the game compered by "a celebrity fan". Could this be the return of Ian Wright, Ricky Hatton, Pat Cash and Nell McAndrew - "The Pastel Pack"?
Then, at midnight, the doors to HMV Trocadero will swing open and sales will begin. A secret VIP party in an underground bunker will also begin, starring "one of the UK's biggest male artists of 2009". Is it Dizzee Rascal? Michael Buble? Leon from last year's X-Factor?
Pleasant surprise: Modern Warfare 2 makes a pretty decent arcade racer. That's what it feels like anyway, when you're blasting through the tundra on a jouncing skidoo, driven on by the constant barrage of time extends as you zip past one checkpoint after another, with the cartoony three-tone starting buzzer still sounding in your ears. There are jumps to chain together, a racing line to unearth, and trees to dodge as you rush towards the finish flag, and when the camera shakes and the audio roars, it's all pretty exciting stuff.
Had enough of Modern Warfare 2 yet, Man From The Future? Then you want to be thinking ahead to those downloadable maps, some of which are out next spring according to an energy drink. (Is this a bit surreal?)
GAME has unveiled to Eurogamer the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Veteran Package, an exclusive for the shop.
This costs £119.99 - more than double what's asked for the regular game. But the Veteran Package has a statue. Standing 12 inches tall, this replica of Captain Soap MacTavish has interchangeable weapons and arms, and can wield dual .45 caliber pistols, dual ice pick-axes and an M14 Enhanced Battle Rifle, which straps to his back when not in, er, use. There's an environmental ice base to store the alternate bits, too.
The Veteran Package also contains the Hardened Edition of MW2, which has a steel case, artbook and code to download Call of Duty Classic on PS3 and 360.
Traditional indicators like pre-order figures or column inches aren't what tell you how big Modern Warfare 2's going to be this Christmas. It's the way other titles have quietly disappeared from its release window, giving Soap MacTavish and his bristly-chinned friends a clear run for their deadly assault on Santa's base camp. It's almost as if Infinity Ward has been staging a brutal deathmatch with its competition over the past few months, blasting triple-A titles deep into Q1 with frightening efficiency, until only a handful of other giants - like Bungie's Orbital Drop Shock Troopers - remain on the battlefield.
Activision Blizzard boss Bobby Kotick has predicted a console-less future for his games, revealed a company culture of "scepticism, pessimism, and fear", and shown mouth rendering technology he thinks will transform the medium.
Infinity Ward has said Modern Warfare 2 may still get a public beta, and reassured us that multiplayer has been in development since "day-one" and remains a "major focus" of the game.
"As I've told you many times in the past, expect no public beta unless we announce otherwise," Robert Bowling, Infinity Ward community manager, said on his blog. "That is still the case. We would never say something as definitive as 'No Beta Ever!' as that's simply not how we work. We'll do an internal beta, if we feel a public one is needed, we'll explore that route as well."
"Multiplayer has been in development since day one of working on Modern Warfare 2, and this is the essential run-up to launch when we're playing everyday, hammering away on it to make sure it's as polished as can be by launch. As always, our internal QA team has daily multiplayer tests in addition to company-wide nightly MP tests we hold from the moment MP is in a running state throughout development."
Modern Warfare 2? Modern Warfare 1 minute and 58 seconds more like. Nobody from Infinity Ward has made the trip to gamescom, the nervous Activision man demoing the biggest game of the year is under orders to refer all questions not on his script to Infinity Ward in spite of this absence, and the hands-off demonstration is a Special Ops level with a par time of 90 seconds. At least we get more than our money's worth.
Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward has confirmed to IGN that Call of Duty Classic will be released as a standalone game on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade after it's made available with the Hardened and Prestige editions of Modern Warfare 2.
(Correction: This story originally stated that Need for Speed: Shift would retail for a higher-than-usual price in the UK, but this is not the case. "There has been no change in our trade pricing policy and no change in RRP," the publisher told us on Friday. Shift is available for GBP 44.99 from GAME or can be purchased as a Collector's Edition with added extras. We sincerely regret the error.)
Infinity Ward has unveiled the Modern Warfare 2 "Prestige Edition" and revealed that it comes with a steelbook copy of the game, a download code for the original Call of Duty on Xbox Live or PSN and, er, a working set of night-vision goggles.
This preview is arriving twenty minutes late, because the rigid demo schedule for Modern Warfare 2 was thrown into chaos earlier today when Verne Troyer arrived unexpectedly and was granted an extensive private screening. In this way, at least, Modern Warfare is the Mini-Me of E3: a bona fide showstopper. Every mention of it in the aisles and display areas of the LA Convention Centre is followed by a deferential pause, and other games - even fairly important ones - are often found struggling to get out of its way. Everyone feels a little nervous in the presence of real success, and Infinity Ward's game managed to be one of the genuine stars of a Microsoft press briefing that also included appearances by The Beatles, Steven Spielberg and a hard-coded science-bending Pinocchio.
Microsoft announced during its E3 conference that the first two map packs for Modern Warfare 2 will be timed exclusives on Xbox 360.
Xbox bigwig John Schappert let fly the news after a gameplay demonstration of Modern Warfare 2, which saw the player traverse an icy cliff, stalk up to a building, strangle people and then runaway from a building amidst gunfire. It was tense and very impressive.
Epic big-shot Mark Rein, who was sat next to Ellie during the conference, whispered to her that the trailer was "insanely good".
As promised, Activision has released a two-minute gameplay trailer for Modern Warfare 2, which is due out on 10th November.
Earlier in the month Game Informer reported details on the game's story and new co-op Special Forces mode, but this is our first chance to put those details in proper context.
The trailer, which appeared on US TV over the Memorial Day weekend, jumps back and forth between various scenarios, including an airport shootout, street battles, sunny Rio and an assault on a snowy mountaintop fortress.
Modern Warfare 2 takes players to the snow-capped peaks of Russian mountains, across the deserts of Afghanistan and into the streets of Rio de Janeiro, and introduces a new co-operative Special Forces mode to back up the single-player campaign.
In a conference call with investors yesterday, Activision Blizzard laid to rest all the un-fevered non-speculation about the latest candidate for worst-kept secret in games. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is indeed real and will be out this year.