Infinity Ward are the chefs, and they have been toiling away in Activision’s kitchen to send out a perfect dish for Christmas 2009 – Modern Warfare 2. But what is the recipe for success?
– Take a large cut of familiarity
The Call of Duty games have steadily and slowly built into a major franchise, and there is no doubt that Modern Warfare was a brilliantly conceived jump into a more modern combat arena. Gamertags reveal hours spent chasing the perks and Achievements. The returning characters and continuing storyline will also be very attractive.
– Use only the choicest ingredients
Limited editions attract more sales. The package including night goggles may seem extravagant, but it got more people talking about the game. However, the price remains an issue. The RRP (Recommended Retail Price) was a much higher £54.95 here in the UK, only to be dented by massive discounting at various supermarkets.
– Stir in some controversy
Not that the recipe needed added spice, but it got some anyway. The airport level, with players cast as a CIA operative working undercover as the bad guys attack civilians, has rightly attracted criticism. The last-minute addition of an option to skip that section of the game is almost cowardice on Infinity Ward’s part. Either they believe in what they have created, or it should not have been in there. But the critics are misguided – this is an 18 rated game, so it is up to parents and retailers to ensure children do not play it.
– Place under a source of heat
The media spotlight has been intense. Midnight shop openings and the launch event in Leicester Square got the cameras out.
– Set the timer
Timing is very important. Other games have jumped out of the way, giving Modern Warfare 2 a clear run-up to Christmas. Also, Microsoft has been banning machines capable of playing pirated copies from Xbox Live in an attempt to ensure that people buy it.
So, millions will be enjoying the feast of first-person action and multiplayer combat. But they should be careful not to bolt their food – the single player mode is brief, lasting just a few hours. And in a few months time there will be other dishes competing for attention online…