Wall Street is a war zone. The skyscrapers that line the streets are burning, glass is everywhere and total collapse is imminent. But there, in the middle of sheer chaos, is you, armed and ready to defeat invading Russian forces. Adrenaline rushes, blood pumps and your finger squeezes the trigger of your military issue assault rifle for the first time. Blood spurts from the foe in your sights and he drops to the floor in an instant.
This are the opening moments of Modern Warfare 3 and, as someone who has never really enjoyed the CoD franchise, I found myself becoming surprised at how much I immediately began to have fun with the latest instalment. The guns feel weightier, enemies react and fall a lot more realistically and there is so much going on around you that it creates a great atmosphere to get lost in.[drop]Technically, however, there was nothing really exciting me. The game looks dated, plays exactly the same as previous instalments (bar those few exceptions just mentioned) and, despite a change in scenery, the level design still follows the same overly guided and linear path.
A week or so later I found myself playing Battlefield 3 and, once again, there was an instant connection. It has a lot of things in common with MW3: It kicks off in spectacular fashion, the guns are punchy, enemies attack and die in a fairly realistic fashion and the game follows a fairly linear path. However, there is one massive difference; Battlefield 3 looks stunning. The Frostbite 2 engine is working its magic and makes the whole experience of Battlefield 3 immediately unforgettable.
That’s when it hit me.
Modern Warfare 2 was the biggest selling entertainment release of all time. I’ll reiterate: The biggest selling entertainment release of all time. Why is it then that Modern Warfare 3 has seemingly made no attempt to improve upon its massively successful predecessor? It obviously can’t be a lack of money.
To me, and I realise not everyone is going to agree, this shows a complete lack of interest and/or dedication to making video games and providing fans with an ever evolving experience. Sure, you could use the old adage that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, but can you honestly say that you don’t mind paying £30-£40 (or more for certain editions) for a game that basically hasn’t changed or offered something new?
If we’re looking at this from a business perspective, which both EA and Activision are, then obviously MW3 has done the best job possible and you can’t argue with figures that run into the billions. Even with the shake up at Infinity Ward and several developers having a hand in the game’s construction it achieved record sales levels, which is to be commended. But this industry is about more than just business; it’s about the fans, the experience and the legacy.
Whilst it has created a legacy, I feel almost insulted by the fact that it appears none of the money earned has been ploughed back into the franchise to make it an experience to remember. I can safely say that, despite liking Modern Warfare 3, it is not a game that I will be talking about in a few months time, let alone years down the line.[drop2]Battlefield 3 didn’t do badly in the sales department either but, as well as creating something new for their franchise, EA have possibly set in motion the process which could see them finally equal or even out-do the success of Modern Warfare.
When the next instalment of Battlefield hits our shelves it will already have a stunning and technically brilliant engine in place and the brand, thanks to the level of advertisement Battlefield 3 received, is already in a very strong position. If there are to be any more additions to the Modern Warfare series then it has to feature a new engine and new mechanics surely, otherwise even the most ardent fan would feel cheated.
As always with Sunday Thoughts, these are purely my opinions and I’m sure that those who don’t agree will be just as vocal, but if you’re being honest with yourself do you not feel the slightest bit patronised, for want of a better word, by the lack of growth in such a massively successful and popular title?