What Makes Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare so Special?

Over the past week, rumors have begun to circulate about the next Call of Duty game. At the epicenter of these rumors was a leaked pre-order card for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. The ridiculous name isn’t even the biggest part of the leak though. In addition to the cover art and title of this year’s Call of Duty, the pre-order card also contains text stating that Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered is included as a full game download.

Armed with the anticipation of a return to Call of Duty 4 on current generation consoles, I decided to take a trip down memory lane.

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Nintendo NX Update, Zelda Delay, and a Real Life Uncharted Heist

So I woke up this morning to a text from a friend who had already seen Nintendo’s big news that broke overnight. Knowing that I typically write at night and publish the following morning, all he said was “I think I know what tonight’s topic will be.”

I loaded up Twitter to see what had happened overnight, but it wasn’t immediately apparent which story he was referring to. Nintendo had announced on an investor’s call with little to no fanfare that the NX, its next console, will be launching in March of next year. Alongside that news, they also told us that Zelda Wii U has been delayed to 2017 and will officially launch simultaneously on Wii U and NX. Oh, and contrary to traditional gaming media cycles, NX won’t be shown off at E3…and Zelda will be the ONLY game playable on the show floor by Nintendo.

There was also a crazy post from Shuhei Yoshida on the PlayStation Blog telling us that all of the Uncharted 4 copies popping up on ebay in the UK yesterday were actually stolen from the company during the shipping process.

Since there was so much to unpack, I asked him if he would be interested in doing a running dialogue with me today to go through some of the news and offer our individual perspectives. He agreed! So without further ado, here are Brendon’s and my thoughts on all of today’s craziness…

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Going for Par with 100ft Robot Golf

A match of 100ft Robot Golf starts out like any other golf game. Your character is positioned over the ball, club in hand, aiming for the fairway. You start your swing with a traditional power gauge like you would in many golf games that have come before it. Except this time, your character is a ten story tall robot the ball isn’t all you’ll be swinging your clubs at…

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Abzû: Journey into the Deep

Giant Squid was founded by Matt Nava who left thatgamecompany following their completion of Journey. After serving as the art director for the studio’s last two projects, Nava’s goal was to found a new studio, taking the idea of an emotional exploration game to a more lush and colorful setting. From that line of thought, Abzû was born. Putting you in the flippers of a lone scuba diver, Nava plans to take players on a voyage through a living, breathing ocean environment. It’s certainly a gorgeous game, but can Abzû live up to the legacy Journey has built within the genre?

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The Tail that Wags the Dog: Video Game Pre-Orders

Video game marketing is often pretty cringe-inducing. So much so that a google search of “worst video game marketing” brings up about two million results…the first few pages of which are packed with countdown and “worst-of” articles. That having been said, most traditional marketing can be ignored by those with a general awareness of the PR process. Much like advertisements for pretty much anything else, those of us who play a variety of games know that video game commercials and ads play to the lowest common denominator, casting a wide net to catch as much attention as possible. For the market savvy who seek out games criticism and watch gameplay clips on YouTube and Twitch, video game marketing is essentially a net neutral.

But what about the part of games marketing that isn’t about widening the appeal of the product? The ugly side of pre-release marketing focused on driving up pre-order numbers at all costs? Sure, pre-order bonuses are annoying, especially when varied by retailer or region, but this ever-growing business practice has a much larger implication than free cosmetic DLC.

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XBOX 360: A Look in the Rearview

In the fall of 2005, I was just two months into college. As a full-time student without a job, large gaming expenses weren’t in the cards for me. So, when the XBOX 360 came out that November, I watched from the sidelines through sites like IGN and GameSpot. Over the next year, more 360s started to make their way into the dorms and my envy continued to grow.

My first memory of the XBOX 360 was in a friend’s dorm room at the start of my sophomore year, just a little under a year after the console launched. I remember being absolutely blown away as he played the Normandy beach level in the hyped up sequel to Call of Duty (not the Big Red One). From that point on, I had to have one. That Christmas, I was lucky enough to get my 360, Call of Duty 2, and a spare controller from my parents. For the rest of my time in college, the 360 played a critical role.

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Is Open World the New Multiplayer?

Earlier today, 2K released an incredible trailer for its upcoming Fall 2016 game, Mafia 3. In just two minutes the trailer manages to set a strong tone with it’s incredible camera work and voice acting. Through gameplay previews, we learn that the game will follow Lincoln Clay through a tale of personal revenge set in an open world 1960’s New Orleans…and therein lies the rub. Another open world game.

Don’t get me wrong, open world games are often fantastic, and Mafia 3 is shaping up to be just that. The level of immersion you can get from a dense open world, like the hugely successful Grand Theft Auto 5, can easily take a game from good to great. However, as gaming hardware gets more powerful and open worlds get larger, the resources required to populate an open world game seem to increase exponentially. Despite these increased cost and time requirements, this console generation has seen a huge push from publishers towards open world games and, with Grand Theft Auto 5‘s lifetime sales recently passing 60 million units, who could blame them? But is it always the right creative choice for developers?

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GameTrust: Preparing for the Death of Physical Games

About three months ago, Insomniac Games revealed it’s newest game: Song of the Deep. A smaller, lower budget project than some of Insomniac’s other offerings, the most interesting thing about Song of the Deep wasn’t it’s beautiful aesthetic or it’s reveal trailer. What surprised people most about the titled was that it is to be published by GameStop. The retail chain.

Today, GameStop doubled down on this initiative by announcing GameTrust, a division of the company focused on publishing 5-10 independent games in the next year. In addition to Insomniac, GameTrust has announced it will fund upcoming projects from Ready at Dawn, Tequila Works, and Frozenbyte. As it is currently outlined, GameTrust’s strategy will be focused on the funding and distribution of these games rather than on the creative side of the development process. What does it mean, then, when a games retail giant like GameStop is looking towards the other side of the industry for growth?

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Most Anticipated Games of 2016

A few days ago I was scrolling through GameInformer’s list of upcoming releases to help plan out the games (and hardware) that I’ll be buying throughout the rest of the year. The first thing I was shocked to find was just how many titles were on the list. Starting with tomorrow’s releases, there are 418 more releases confirmed for 2016. Here are some of my most anticipated games on that list and why I’m excited for them.

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