I wish I could have been at Infinity Ward for that meeting. “So, Battlefield 3 has better graphics, a top-notch pedigree and an enormous earthquake in one of its levels. How do we respond?” Silence – then a lone voice pipes up: “Err…World War 3?”
Regardless of whether the slack-jawed press that Battlefield 3 has received made an impact on the planning for Modern Warfare 3 or not, its clear that Infinity Ward and co. are going for broke on this one. After a pretty hefty info leak before the game’s official announcement, the developer’s schedule has jumped forward a little, with teaser trailers indicating that the story will encompass a global war with battles in New York, London, Paris and Berlin to name but a few. The most recent bit of material to be released is a mock-up cover of Time magazine showing a wrecked Wall Street. I do like a subtle, restrained marketing campaign.
From a narrative point of view, there’s one question I’ve got: where on earth do they go afterwards? Ever since Modern Warfare the Call of Duty series has thrived on spectacle, ramping it up with every game that comes out. I’ve no doubt that MW3 will do just fine even with the additional competition provided by Battlefield 3, but after that, where next? Is MW3 the logical end-point for a series that can go no further without becoming ridiculous? In my view, the minds behind it know exactly what they’re doing: the series has reached it’s high point and is already falling out of favour amongst the more hardcore crowd, who are increasingly being drawn to EA’s rival. MW3 will rack up the sales, then the series will be put to rest and the developers can start anew with fresh ideas on which to stamp the Call of Duty moniker – because as it is, can Modern Warfare go any further than World War III?