– Gloria Mak, Howl Staff
The recent launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 has been named the biggest entertainment product launch ever, selling 6.5 million units and raising US$400 million in its first 24 hours. Keep in mind that these numbers only account for the UK and US markets. If you compare the numbers for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, they only raised US$80 million. The Call of Duty franchise is also the only entertainment franchise that set opening day records three years in a row and is ahead of the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings franchise—both considered the two most successful entertainment franchises of all time.
So what is it about Call of Duty that’s worth buying into? It’s a highly versatile first-person shooter: you can either participate in campaigns; play against your friends and other people around the world in maps where you try to kill off your opponents; or you can engage in a side-game of shooting Nazi zombies and hellhounds. It is a game where finishing a campaign does not mean the termination of game-play. Occasionally, new maps for multiplayer are also released which maintains interest in the game.
The campaigns are also extremely attractive as well. The story-lines are captivating and the characters are cued to say amusing things (perhaps not after the 50th time you’ve had to restart that part of the campaign because you failed to reach the checkpoint. But chances are, if it is your 50th time, you really need to up your game). The game allows you to use a variety of weapons, such as guns, flash-bangs and bombs; they are all quite realistic. In addition, you are able to fly planes and helicopters. Most civilians and even military personnel do not have the chance to operate most of the listed above, so the game provides them with the opportunity to work with specialized vehicles and weapons in a fantasy environment.
I really could go on for pages as to why the Modern Warfare games and the Call of Duty is so awesome; but the main take-home point is that the creators of the game have found just the right balance between offering a similar and just-as exciting game for fans while producing new features for newly-introduced players.