Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (stylized as Call of Duty: MW3) is a 2011 first-person shooter video game, developed by Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games (Treyarch for the Wii version), with Raven Software having assisted in development and published by Activision. It is the third installment in the Modern Warfare saga, a direct sequel to 2009's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and the eighth Call of Duty installment.
The game was released on November 8, 2011 in North America on Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii, with a separate version for Nintendo DS developed by n-Space. In Australia, the Wii version was released on November 23, 2011. In Japan, Square Enix handled the installment with a separate subtitled and dubbed version, as they did for Call of Duty: Black Ops, released November 17, 2011 and December 22, 2011 respectively. Within 24 hours of going on sale, the game sold 6.5 million copies in the U.S. and UK alone and grossed $400 million, making it the biggest entertainment launch of all time, until it was surpassed by the next Call of Duty title, Call of Duty: Black Ops II in November 2012 with $500 million. As of November 5, 2013, Modern Warfare 3 has sold 26.5 million copies.
It was the last Call of Duty game to be released on Wii. It was also the last Call of Duty PC game to support Windows XP.
Modern Warfare 3 is a first-person shooter video game much like its predecessors. Modern Warfare 3 for Microsoft Windows has dedicated servers support.
The player assumes the role of various characters during the single player campaign, changing perspectives throughout the progression of the story, which, like its predecessors, is divided into three sets of missions called "Acts". Each mission in an act featuring a series of objectives that are displayed on the heads up display, which marks the direction and distance between such objectives and the player. Damage to the player is shown by the percentage of health HUD shown on the screen. The player's health regenerates over time with shields also helping with regeneration. Mission objectives vary in their requirements, ranging from having the player arrive at a particular checkpoint, to eliminating enemies in a specified location, to standing their ground against enemy squadrons, manning robot mechanoids and other weapons, and planting explosive charges on an enemy installation. The player is also accompanied by fellow soldiers who cannot be issued orders. Like its predecessor, the game includes an interactive scene of a terror attack against civilians, which the player is given the option of skipping due to the portrayal of graphic and potentially upsetting content, including harm to children.
Modern Warfare 3 features a new mode, called Survival. This mode allows between one and two players to fight endless waves of enemies, with each wave becoming increasingly difficult. It differs from the Nazi Zombies mode in Call of Duty: World at War, principally in that enemies no longer spawn at fixed locations like the zombies do, but instead appear at tactical positions based on the current location of the player. The mode is available on all multiplayer maps in the game. Players earn in-game cash for items such as weapons, upgrades, ammo, air/ground support and equipment. Special Ops also returns from Modern Warfare 2. These challenge missions feature up to 48 stars, unlike its previous installment, which featured 69. Some weapons in Spec Ops are exclusive to that game mode, and are not available for play in Multiplayer mode.
The entire Killstreak reward system has been altered to make it more difficult for players to get early unlocks. Killstreaks are now known as Pointstreaks, and kills are no longer the only way to increase the player's pointstreak. Completing objectives such as planting a bomb or capturing a flag in Capture The Flag awards points towards the player's Pointstreak. Pointstreak rewards are organized into three different "strike packages" called Assault, Support, and Specialist.
The Assault strike package works the same as the Killstreak reward system in Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops: the player must earn more and more points without dying. Once the player is killed, his or her points are reset to zero. Likewise, the Specialist strike package rewards players with perks after every second consecutive kill. Upon death, however, the player loses all the perks and the points are reset to zero. In contrast, the Support strike package are awarded based on the total points that the player has earned over the entire match, regardless of how often the player dies. It is important to note that if a player switches to a custom class with a different reward system (either assault or specialist) during game play, all points are automatically reset to 0. Players are allowed to choose which Pointstreak rewards they want to use when they gain it during the match, rather than choosing them between rounds.
Along with revamping the entire Killstreak reward system, Modern Warfare 3 also has a completely modified Ranking and Unlocks system, which does not use a currency system for unlocks. The player's primary weapon levels up alongside the player, and unlocks a number of "Proficiency" perks such as Attachments, (allows two attachments and is a successor to the "Bling" and "Warlord" perks), Kick (reduced recoil while aiming down the player's sight) and Focus (reduced flinching while under fire). Only one Proficiency can be put on a primary weapon. Another new addition is the ability to equip "Hybrid Scopes" on a weapon, such as a Reflex Sight a magnifier similar to an ACOG on the same weapon, and the player can switch between the scopes. Modern Warfare 3 introduces a new "Prestige Shop" which will unlock only after the player has selected the option to prestige for the first time. The "Prestige Shop" allows Prestige players to use tokens they gain from using the Prestige option to buy exclusive features such as double XP and an extra custom weapon class.
Several controversial perks in Modern Warfare 2, accused of being overpowered, have been removed in Modern Warfare 3. Diving from standing to prone, known as "dolphin diving", has been removed due to balancing issues. Modern Warfare 3 will utilize Treyarch's hot fix system to fix bugs and glitches. Modern Warfare 3 features a local and online split-screen option.
Several new game modes have also been added:
Kill Confirmed: players must collect floating dog tags from the corpse of a downed enemy before the kill can be registered. However, the opposing team can pick up the dog tag as well to deny the other team a kill. Which denies the other team a point.
Team Defender: both teams attempt to capture a flag dropped by the first person who is killed when the match starts, the team of the person who holds the flag will get double points for their kills; while the team without the flag only gets the default amount per kill. Note that for picking up the flag you will gain one point for your pointstreak, you will also gain extra experience points for your kills as well as your team's.
Private matches also now include pre-made game modes including: "Infected" (where the infected kill enemies to recruit them to their team), "Drop Zone" (where the player must hold a drop zone for points and care packages), "Team Juggernaut" (each team plays alongside an AI Juggernaut character), "Gun Game" (be the first to get one kill with every gun in the game), "One in the Chamber" (in which players are only allowed one pistol with one bullet and three lives where they can only get more bullets by killing other players), and "Juggernaut" (free for all against a juggernaut, kill the juggernaut to become it). Along with this, players are allowed to create their own game modes with customized settings such as number of players and time limit.
The Special Ops game mode from Modern Warfare 2 is present in Modern Warfare 3, and includes new features which make it more replayable and similar to other game modes, such as Nazi Zombies from previous Call of Duty games, and Hordes from Gears of War. The two main Special Ops modes include one that is generally the same from the last Modern Warfare game, and a new wave based game, Survival, where the player is inserted into a multiplayer map alone or with a single partner and defends an area against waves of enemies. The players can buy support options unlocked with XP earned during each round.
Main article: List of Modern Warfare 3 characters
The game sees the return of former Task Force 141 Cpt. John "Soap" MacTavish (voiced by Kevin McKidd), former S.A.S. Cpt. John Price (Billy Murray) and Russian informant "Nikolai", who are on the run after killing the rogue U.S. Army Lt. General Shepherd, the main antagonist of the previous game. However, for most of the game, the player will control Yuri (Brian Bloom), an ex-Spetsnaz who joins Price on his hunt for Russian Ultranationalist leader Vladimir Makarov (Roman Varshavsky). Makarov returns as the game's primary antagonist, and has a new contact named "Volk", a Russian bombmaker in Paris, France. Several new playable characters have been added, including: Delta Force operative Sgt. Derek "Frost" Westbrook; S.A.S. Sgt. Marcus Burns; and Andrei Harkov, a Russian federal security agent tasked with protecting the Russian President. Just like President Al-Fulani in the first game, Soap is only "playable" during the game's opening sequence; while Price becomes the player character in the game's final mission, Dust to Dust. The player also takes brief control of a civilian tourist in London, seconds before he and his family are killed by a chemical agent; as well as an AC-130 TV Operator during Team Metal's escape from Paris in the mission Iron Lady.
New non-player characters (NPCs) include: Delta Force operatives "Sandman" (William Fichtner), "Truck" (Idris Elba), and "Grinch" (Timothy Olyphant), who serve as Frost's squadmates. Captain MacMillan returns from Call of Duty 4 to provide the 141 with critical intelligence. Craig Fairbrass, who originally voiced the characters Gaz and Ghost, returns to voice SAS operative Sergeant Wallcroft, who originally had a minor role in the first Modern Warfare.
Several hours after killing General Shepherd, Price and Nikolai evacuate a critically wounded Soap to a Russian loyalist safe-house in Himachal Pradesh, Northern India, but Makarov sends forces out to their position to kill them. Yuri, a man with a common grudge against Makarov, assists in providing a safe extraction from the region. Meanwhile, the war between Russia and the United States concludes when the actions of a Delta Force team call-signed Metal, successfully repels Russian Forces in New York City, and secures their withdrawal from the East Coast.
Two months later, Makarov attacks a plane en route to Hamburg containing Russian President, Boris Vorshevsky, to derail Vorshevsky's plans of making peace with the United States. In the midst of the plane crashing, members of the F.S.O. attempt to secure Vorshevsky, but are killed by Makarov and his men when they attempt extraction by helicopter. Makarov reveals his plans to the president for Russia's future - he intends to have Russia control the whole of Europe and to further ensure it, he plans to use the country's nuclear arsenal. Vorshevsky refuses to give over the launch codes, leaving Makarov no choice but to locate his weakness; Vorshevsky's daughter, Alena. To ensure his plan succeeds, Makarov has chemical bombs transported from Sierra Leone into Europe, and every major city in the continent, detonating them, despite the efforts of an SAS team trying to prevent this from happening in London. The attacks cripple the intelligence networks and special forces bases in Europe, allowing the Russians to invade much of the continent, prompting the US to send in forces to counter-attack the invasion. Price's team get a lead from his former commanding officer leading them to Somalia, and learn the identity of the bomb maker as Volk, the CEO of Fregata Industries, who transported the bombs. Metal receives his location from Price afterwards, and manage to capture and extract him from Paris with the help of GIGN and other U.S. forces.
Volk gives up the location of Makarov after extraction and Price's team receives it, heading to Prague to carry out an assassination attempt on him. However, Makarov knows of this and thwarts the attempt, attempting to kill Price and his men. Soap is gravely injured as a result, but not before he hears him mention that Yuri knows him well. Despite efforts by Price to get him medical attention, Soap passes on what Makarov told him before succumbing to his wounds, and an enraged Price forces Yuri at gunpoint, to reveal what Makarov meant. Yuri reveals that he was a former ultranationalist who worked alongside Makarov, during the arms deal in Pripyat when they helped evacuate Imran Zakhaev after the assassination attempt on him. Although Yuri thought he was following a good cause, the detonation of a nuclear device in the Middle East sickened him, leading him into an attempt at stopping the massacre at the Zakhaev International Airport in Moscow, but Makarov, aware of his actions, shot him and left him for dead. Yuri's guilt-ridden vengeance barely convinces Price in maintaining their alliance.
After infiltrating Makarov's castle headquarters near Prague, and learning of the state of President Vorshevsky's captivity, Price alerts Metal that Alena Vorshevsky's location at a safehouse in Berlin has been discovered by Makarov. Despite launching a rescue operation to recover her, Alena is abducted before Metal can reach her, but learn where she was taken to. Metal leads a joint task force with Price and Yuri to a Siberian diamond mine where they manage to secure and rescue the Vorshevsky family; however, during extraction, Metal are killed when the mine collapses. With the Russian president secured, he has all Russian forces withdraw from Europe, thus ending the hostility between the United States and Russia.
Three months after the war ends, Price and Yuri finally manage to track down Makarov to a hotel in the Arabian peninsula of the Middle East. Armed with heavy equipment, the pair assault the hotel, and reach the top of the building as Makarov awaits an incoming helicopter to extract him. When Yuri is injured, Price continues on his own, and prevents their target from leaving by crashing his helicopter into the atrium of the hotel. Makarov survives, and kills Yuri. Price manages to gain the upper hand and kill Makarov.
A 2010 Q3 earnings call from Activision confirmed that the eighth installment of the franchise was currently in development by Sledgehammer Games and Raven Software and due for release "during the back half of 2011". This was revealed to be Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, with the latter developers co-developing multiplayer. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was known to be in development after a legal dispute between Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella and Activision resulted in the pair being fired from the company. Several dozen Infinity Ward employees followed West and Zampella as a result of the ongoing dispute, causing Activision to enlist the services of Sledgehammer Games and Raven Software to assist development of the title. The game was said to have been in development since only two weeks after the release of their previous game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Also reported was that Sledgehammer was aiming for a "bug free" first outing in the Call of Duty franchise, and also set a goal for Metacritic review scores above 95 percent. Modern Warfare 3 utilizes the MW3 Engine, unofficially the IW 5.0 Engine. Improvements include better streaming and audio. Sledgehammer Games announced the game to be the first entry in the Modern Warfare series to have built-in support for color-blind gamers.
The Official UK PlayStation Magazine lent credence to speculation that Modern Warfare 3 would be a prequel starring fan favourite character Ghost. The magazine's sources strengthened a rumor which first reared its head online early in January 2011. On the Rumor Machine page in its issue (055), OPM points to "insider whispers" which suggest: "Infinity Ward's next Modern Warfare title will be a prequel, with Ghost in the lead role." According to PSM3, the first snippet of Modern Warfare 3 gameplay would be revealed in mid-April. According to the publication's May 2011 issue, insider rumors say "the next in Activision's megaton FPS series will be announced in mid-April".
On May 13, 2011, video game website Kotaku revealed the existence of Modern Warfare 3 following a massive leak. According to Kotaku, this leak came from multiple sources who may or may not work at Activision and Infinity Ward. The leak contained thorough information about the game, confirming that it would be a direct sequel to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, as well details regarding weapons, levels and modes found in the game. In response to the leaks, Robert Bowling tweeted "A lot of hype & a lot of leaked info on MW3, some still accurate, some not. To avoid spoiling the experience, I'd wait for the real reveal." Just hours after the leaked assets appeared on Kotaku, four teaser trailers were released on the official Call of Duty YouTube page, separately titled "America", "England", "France" and "Germany", indicating the various locales of the game.
Two weeks before the release of the game, it was reported that half of the PC version had been uploaded online after being stolen from a warehouse in Fresno, California. Investigators working on behalf of Activision have been searching torrent websites for traces of the game as well as visiting people who had downloaded a copy across the United States and requesting that they remove it or they will face a fine of US$5000.
As early as late October, reports were already surfacing about copies being sold early to people with gameplay videos uploaded online. On November 3, 2011, it was reported that copies of the game were already being sold early in the United States. K-Mart had already started selling copies of the game before its scheduled release date with copies already appearing on eBay and Craigslist. This was due to an error made by one the shipping companies that told K-mart to sell copies of the game immediately after receiving the shipments. However, Activision contacted K-mart about this and had the issue resolved.
French site TF1 News reported that a truck suffered a collision with a car on November 6, 2011 in Créteil, south Paris, before two masked individuals emerged from the car. The criminals reportedly used tear gas to neutralise the truck drivers before hopping in and making off with the video game shipment said to be worth 400,000 Euros. A separate report said the truck contained a delivery of 6000 copies of Modern Warfare 3.
Shortly after the game's release, a man from Aurora, Colorado who did not receive a copy of the game at his local Best Buy, despite pre-ordering it, claimed to be so angry that he "could blow this place up". He was also reported as having threatened to shoot employees once they left the store. Lomon Sar, age 31, was issued a citation and court summons by police responding to the disturbance.
The contents of the Hardened Edition for Xbox 360
Modern Warfare 3 was released in two different retail versions across the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms: Standard and Hardened. The standard version consists of the game and an instructional manual, and is the only version available for the Microsoft Windows platform. Contents within the Hardened Edition include the game disc with "unique art", one year membership to Call of Duty: Elite, "special founder status" on Call of Duty: Elite which includes an exclusive in-game emblem, playercard, weapon camouflage, clan XP boost, and more exclusive benefits, premium collectible Steelbook case, exclusive animated timeline theme for PS3 only, exclusive Spec Ops Juggernaut Xbox Live avatar outfit for Xbox 360 only, and a limited edition, collectible field journal, which chronicles "the entire saga with 100+ pages of authentic military sketches, diagrams, and written entries."
Robert Bowling of Infinity Ward confirmed that there will be no Prestige Edition of Modern Warfare 3. In the past, the Prestige editions of previous Call of Duty games have included physical items such as a remote-controlled car for Black Ops, and a pair of night vision goggles and a life-sized plastic head to put them on for Modern Warfare 2.
On August 19, 2011, UK retailer Game announced an Intel Pack of Modern Warfare 3. It comes with a British special forces avatar for both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions, as well as a Brady strategy guide. On September 3, 2011, Activision and Microsoft jointly announced a special, limited Modern Warfare 3 version of the Xbox 360 with a 320GB hard disk. The unit is designed by the Call of Duty team and includes two custom wireless controllers, a copy of Modern Warfare 3 and features custom sounds when the console is turned on/off or when the disc tray is ejected. A one month subscription to Xbox Live Gold is also included, as well as exclusive avatar items.
Sales and revenue
Activision has said that it believes Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 day-one shipments were the largest for any game ever. "The record number of pre-orders from Modern Warfare 3 drove the largest day-one shipments in our history, and in the industry's history," said Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg during an earnings call on November 8, 2011. Hirshberg said more than 1.5 million people queued at 13,000 shops at midnight on Monday to buy Modern Warfare 3, "making it the largest retail release in Activision's history and in the industry's history".
Activision reported sales figures for Modern Warfare 3 in the U.S. and UK being more than 6.5 million copies sold on launch day and grossed $400 million in the US and UK alone in its first 24 hours, making it the biggest entertainment launch of all time. It is the third year in a row that the Call Of Duty series has broken the same record. 2010's Black Ops grossed $360 million on day one; in 2009, Modern Warfare 2 brought in $310 million. Activision Blizzard president and CEO Robert Kotick stated that "the launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is the biggest entertainment launch of all time in any medium, and we [Activision] achieved this record with sales from only two territories."
The title grossed more than $775 million globally in its first five days of availability, exceeding the $650 million record set by 2010s Call of Duty: Black Ops and the $550 million one achieved by 2009's Modern Warfare 2. To be exact, it has beaten theatrical box office, book, and video game sales records for five-day worldwide sell-through in dollars.
Modern Warfare 3 went on to gross $1 billion throughout the world in 16 days of availability, beating Avatar's record of 19 days, according to Activision.
According to NPD Group, Modern Warfare 3 was November's biggest selling game of the month in the U.S. Modern Warfare 3 sales surpassed first-month sales of 2010′s Black Ops by 7 percent, and sales for November sit at around the 9 million unit mark.
Modern Warfare 3 topped the UK video game sales chart in its first week, becoming the biggest video game launch in history by revenue. By November 21, 2011, the game remained the bestselling title in the United Kingdom, despite sales dropping by 87%. Modern Warfare 3 held the top spot on the UK charts for four weeks running. It was replaced by The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in its fifth week on the market.
The PlayStation 3 version of Modern Warfare 3 also topped the Japanese chart in its first week on sale, shifting 180,372 copies, while the Xbox 360 version sold around 30,000.
Modern Warfare 3 has received mostly positive reviews from critics. The Daily Telegraph gave the game's Xbox 360 version 5 stars out of 5, stating that even as "the series has always been renowned for elements like the excellent sound design, the gloss, polish and compulsion of its gameplay," it is "a game that not only lives up to the brand hype but exceeds it. A game where the mass appeal is justified, and the expectations are met." Gaming Evolution gave the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions a 9.0 out of 10, stating "Modern Warfare 3 lives up to the hype. It is proving itself the one of the best FPS the genre has to offer." IGN gave the game's Xbox 360 version a 9.0 out of 10.0, pointing out that the game offers "great multiplayer, [a] fun campaign, tons of content, but [also] a forgettable story."
GameSpot qualifies its review, stating that "the series' signature thrills have lost some of their luster. Modern Warfare 3 iterates rather than innovates, so the fun you have is familiar", but concludes by affirming that "fortunately, [the game is] also utterly engrossing and immensely satisfying, giving fans another reason to rejoice in this busy shooter season". Eurogamer gave the game an 8/10 noting that it is a "ferocious and satisfying game that knows exactly what players expect, and delivers on that promise with bullish confidence" but with "an outmoded single-player campaign".
Reviews for the Wii version of the game have been less favorable. IGN rated it only 4.5 out of 10, blaming the lacking graphics and poor friend code system for bringing it down. Modern Warfare 3 received the Best Shooter award at the 2011 Spike Video Game Awards. At the Interactive Achievement Awards or DICE awards, Modern Warfare 3 won the award for Action Game of the Year and was nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Online Gameplay, Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design and Outstanding Achievement in Connectivity.
September 7, 2014