Video game corporations are prone to making asinine decisions across the board. Ubisoft is no stranger to misrepresenting titles like Assassin's Creed Unity, Watch Dogs, and I Am Alive, which respectively ended up with an unforgivable amount of glitches, vastly downgraded visuals, and lacking creativity everywhere. Likewise, EA has committed similar sins with Battlefield 4 and Sim City, but has also perpetuated harmful practices like its infamous Online Passes and intrusive microtransactions. The list could go on with Microsoft's big flub involving its early Xbox One plans, or Gearbox's disgustingly dishonest marketing for Aliens: Colonial Marines.
These kinds of controversies have increased over time because how games can be sold and advertised affords more subtle deception and manipulation. Yes, we are willing to tolerate season passes, pre-orders, or exclusivity since they can be reasonable. But most of the time we immediately detect a situation headed south, and that's what people have accurately done with Activision's announcement that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered will be exclusive to Infinite Warfare.
I've been a lifelong fan of the franchise since Treyarch's Finest Hour. Having played nearly every game for literal weeks in total time, I've watched the series rise and falter both from an economic and critical perspective. What's particularly puzzled me recently is that it will have tackled six games in a row with a near-future setting since 2012's Black Ops II. Ghosts could be excluded from this running, but it stands that we haven't been to the past since Black Ops in 2010. People have been crying to return to the bygone days of even older wars for years, which is why I was disappointed that Treyarch didn't rewind history with a sequel to World at War last year. My reaction is similar but not as surprised with Infinity Ward's direction, but at least EA is listening to pleas like mine with Battlefield 1, as strange as that sounds.
"If Activision wants to bank on the past to compete with EA, the only form it can rely on is nostalgia instead of setting with Modern Warfare Remastered"
Its reception compared to Infinite Warfare is warmer to say the least, but the latter still has a chance to shine with its Mass Effect-inspired campaign structure and promising space battles that will fill the void Star Wars Battlefront left. It could shake things up for the franchise, but if Activision wants to bank on the past to compete with EA, the only form it can rely on is nostalgia instead of setting with Modern Warfare Remastered. And until Activision releases it from the gravitational pull of Infinite Warfare, the company will continue to take on a meteor shower of disdain, suffering blows to the financial gain of its flagship come this fall.
However, it must be acknowledged that collector's editions can certainly have fair exclusive content. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain's version had clarifications to its vague ending with special, unfinished cutscenes. The Assassin's Creed franchise has included exclusive missions with some of its special releases over the years. However, making these comparisons feels feeble because I cannot identify any others that are just as or more severe. I could mention how Medal of Honor came with a free HD version of Frontline, but that came with every vanilla copy and released a year later on the PlayStation Network. Black Ops III came with an exclusive remake of Der Reise from World at War, but it was only peripheral DLC and available with the season pass to boot.
To get a better picture of how preposterous Activision's move truly is, imagine if you could've only obtained Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection with Naughty Dog's latest masterpiece. Is that too far-fetched? How about Gears of War 4 forcing Gears of War: Ultimate Edition into its Collector's Edition? What if a hypothetical Bloodborne sequel included a Demon's Souls remaster that wasn't sold separately? What would your reaction be if Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster was spellbound to Final Fantasy XV?
These postulations seem utterly ridiculous on paper in comparison, but compare them to Modern Warfare Remastered's situation and how influential its source material was for this industry compared to the aforementioned remasters. It ushered in and solidified Call of Duty's formula. It catapulted the series' popularity and sales compared to its forgotten predecessor. It arguably shaped the direction of the first-person genre and future of how the industry operated. It's still regarded as one of the most exhilarating, well-designed games in the franchise with a campaign and multiplayer that have yet to be fully eclipsed.
For a classic of this magnitude to not only be tacked onto a game that hasn't proven itself, but also only receive a digital edition is a bullet in the face to consumers. It's not just an HD touch-up, but a full-fledged remaster with the campaign and multiplayer. Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg responded to this controversy indirectly when talking about the Infinite Warfare reveal trailer's record-breaking dislikes on YouTube, saying: "There are millions of people in our community who want to have new innovative experiences in the game each year and Infinite Warfare is going to deliver that. And the good news is this year we found a way to deliver both in one package while keeping our community together." How laughably ironic since the union of these games has actually divided this community.
"For a classic of this magnitude to not only be tacked onto a game that hasn't proven itself, but also only receive a digital edition is a bullet in the face to consumers"
While Infinite Warfare's quality and sales aren't to be underestimated at all, Modern Warfare Remastered will likely maintain an upper hand since it has an established, widespread popularity. So if Activision maintains its current editions of Infinite Warfare, even if Modern Warfare Remastered only costs €20 ($20) more with the Legacy Editions, hosts of fans will skip out since their disinterest in the space outing will predictably remain. Even if they choose to give in and buy the bundle, this doesn't account for the eventual flooding of pre-owned copies on the market, effectively devaluing the game's worth on shelves and hurting the amount of copies that will be sold over time. It wouldn't be shocking since the franchise has been on a revenue decline since Ghosts, with the exception of Black Ops III.
Avoiding this could be easy, even profitable. The higher-tier editions of Infinite Warfare wouldn't have to go, but Modern Warfare Remastered should be made available digitally and physically for €15-20 more. That way, people who only want that can buy it separately, and those who also want Infinite Warfare can receive a small discount. It's similar in a roundabout way to how Destiny: The Taken King allowed people who already owned the base title to trade it in with GameStop during the expansion's launch window for a more reasonable price. Or it's like how Nintendo presented the opportunity to download Mewtwo for free by purchasing Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U and 3DS, but offered it to everyone a month later for a small fee. BioWare released the From Ashes DLC for Mass Effect 3 free with its collector's edition, but sold it separately as well.
These seemingly random examples are about providing multiple options like this that cater to consumers with different needs and wants, which earn their trust... And money. However, what if Activision makes it so that Modern Warfare Remastered can only be accessed through Infinite Warfare, thereby rendering the latter an expensive paperweight for some? Might the season pass include DLC for both games that will only be sold together? The possibilities are frighteningly possible, which would surely seal Activision's fate with public scrutiny should they be true.
Even though I'll be playing both Call of Duty games this November and have pre-ordered the Legacy Edition, I admit that I have a greater desire to jump back into the campaign and multiplayer shooter that concreted my love for this genre. I feel for those who want to get all ghillied up without having to pay for another game they don't want, so if Activision seeks to appease young and old fans alike, it will give them the opportunity to split up and follow their desires in the trenches of nostalgia or with new frontiers in space, uniting more players as armies in the spirit of combat. No strings attached.
What do you think of this whole debacle over Infinite Warfare and Modern Warfare Remastered? Do you find it a maliciously clever or stupid move on Activision's part? Will this continue to escalate in controversy and backfire in the publisher's face if it doesn't alter its plans, or will this blow over and not affect the franchise's success? Stay frosty in the comments section below and shoot us your thoughts.
Is Activision making a mistake not selling Modern Warfare Remastered separately? (111 votes)
Yes, I'm not buying Infinite Warfare to play it
Meh, I'm not really interested anyway
No, I'm happy to buy Infinite Warfare to get it
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