When it comes to football, I follow the simple instructions of my father: The Cowboys win, or I drink a lot. Having little interest in other teams, I usually have no reason to watch anyone else play. My one-game-per-week pattern, however, was interrupted by the announced Modern Warfare 2 trailer debuting during the Sunday night game (I think it was the Chargers against…someone else. As I said, little interest). My DVR took most of the punishment of recording the game, all I had to do was wait and pray to the gods of NBC that my promised trailer didn’t turn out to be a televised “punking”. After the trailer concluded, I checked into the nearest hospital for my aneurysm. It’s a tall order to fill, but it’s looks like Infinity Ward may fulfill the prophecy and lead their people to a life without Halo.
I suppose now, given Modern Warfare‘s success, Activision/Blizzard gives Infinity Ward a surplus of autonomy in regards to future titles. If what Vince Zampella says is true, then this makes even more sense. By the time Call of Duty 2 hit the shelves, it was competing in the same World War 2 vein as the Medal of Honor, Brother in Arms, Battlefield 1942, and Day of Defeat series. As I recall, most gamers claimed they already had their Normandy beach-storming fill by the time we saw the third iteration of any of these series (if they made it that far). When Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was first announced, I saw this giant exhale of relief sweep across the nation. Classmates of mine climbed the rooftops of their dorms, “it’s about fucking time!” they cheered to one another before DCS bestowed the wintery freshness of mace upon them.
I have no intention of belittling Wars that shaped the face of the world, but my perspective is this: It’s been almost seventy years since WW2. With the current state of the Middle East and the constant debacle regarding our involvement over there, it seemed to me that the gaming community was waiting for someone to do a modern-day first person-shooter. No gimmicks, no science fiction, no bullshit—just a realistic, gritty, and graphic depiction of what we were hearing about every day. I had played so many versions of World War 2 shooters that, eventually, I almost began resenting the developers that kept recycling them. I didn’t understand how playing through the same war as a different company could make the overall experience any different. To be fair, though, if it were not for the diligence of the Medal of Honor series, I wouldn’t know the importance of WW2 events like Operation: Market Garden, or the famous Battle of the Bulge, and I am glad to have learned so much about military history that still resonates today. Nevertheless, we have a war going on right now, and I’d like to look at that more deeply.
The first Modern Warfare took obvious liberties with our current situation in the Middle East, but the themes presented were not any different than the fear many people felt during those first few years. What Modern Warfare showed us—and what the sequel will drive home, literally—was the terrible reality of what might have happened if our greatest fears were realized. And that, I believe, is a real war game.
See you in the next level,