This Week In Games is a weekly column that tackles gaming’s biggest stories. This week, Jake Tucker applauds Activision for releasing its Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 campaign early, and asks why it hasn’t happened already.
happy Call Of Duty release day. You might have been under the notion that the release date is October 28 but Activision has made the bold choice to release the campaign segment of their game earlier on, letting pre-ordering players play the campaign for a week before the main course – Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s highly anticipated multiplayer mode – will release.
It’s a choice so obvious, you have to question why Activision wasn’t doing it already. Interest in the single player campaign is low, with a small percentage of players digging into the campaign and an even smaller sliver of the player base – somewhere in the high single digits – actually making it all the way to the credits.
Activision came to the same conclusion in 2018 but swung in a different direction. Knowing player numbers of their campaign were low, the company cut the single-player from Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4 and claimed it would bring the narrative into the multiplayer. It bombed, with solo players bitter they couldn’t play the campaign, and the game itself didn’t do enough to actually bring its narrative to the fore in multiplayer.
Since Activision brought the campaign back with 2019’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, the franchise’s single-player efforts have ripped, delivering some excellent set pieces. Most Call Of Duty players never see it, meaning they haven’t done the nighttime raid of a Camden townhouse in Modern Warfare, explored the replica of small-town America in Cold War or even played the opening train mission in the WW2-set Vanguard.
So, Activision had a problem: if you have to make the campaigns for your core audience, how do you make sure more people play it when most of the buzz is around multiplayer?
This year, the answer is a simple one: Call Of Duty superfans can get in and play Modern Warfare 2 right chuffin’ now, provided they’re happy to play the game’s campaign mode and slap AI opponents while they wait to get stuck into the multiplayer. Play through it and you’ll get a handful of unlocks for the multiplayer, and it’s clear that this has been positioned as an appetiser for fans eager to get their hands on anything new and COD-shaped.
I intended to come into this campaign pushing for other big-budget blockbusters with beloved multiplayer modes to do the same – unleash their campaigns early to encourage people to get involved before the main event. Sadly, I realised that they really just don’t make big AAA shooters with a single-player component anymore.
Nevertheless, despite the fact this ruins the concept of an actual launch date, I hope it leads to more people playing the campaign – which my gaming dad Whatsapp chat has suggested is really quite good. By the time you’ve read this, I’ll have played it for myself, but in the meantime I’m going to have to live vicariously by reading Andy Brown’s preview.
In other news…
- Battlefield 2042 is still, torturously, reinventing itself – an update this week has reworked the Orbital map and added persistent server hosting. EA is still waiting on the Battlefield renaissance, but it does seem to be throwing a lot of money at the problem, at least.
- Sports Interactive says the women’s database for Football Manager is making progress – We talked to Sports Interactive head Miles Jacobsen OBE last week and he said the team has made some real progress on building the women’s database, suggesting players will be able to play seamlessly between men’s and women’s football. “At the end of the day, it’s one sport – it’s just football,” said Jacobsen.
- There are four Silent Hill games coming – Silent Hill games, it turns out, are like busses. Konami has revealed four new titles for the franchise are coming, including a remake of Silent Hill 2 that several people were already whispering about furtively. All of them look good, so it’s a golden age for people with a fondness for spooky towns filled with fog. A golden age for people like NME freelancer and all-around pal Vikki Blake, the biggest Silent Hill fan on the planet, probably.