With Call of Duty: Modern Warfare just under two months from release, fear is growing among fans that their realistic military shooter fun will be affected by the presence of loot boxes and microtransactions. This has led developers at Infinity Ward to respond to these concerns.
The discussion of Call of Duty and in-game purchases has really ramped up in the last year, after the most recent entry in the series, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, managed to attract the ire of players with its inclusion of what many have felt to be particularly aggressive microtransactions. Safe to say, it was the source of some microtransaction-related drama.
The matter was addressed this week when Infinity Ward developers Joe Cecot and Taylor Kurosaki were asked about it by Game Informer. While Cecot wasn’t at liberty to detail how exactly microtransactions will work in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, he stressed that Infinity Ward is working hard to ensure a "player-first or player-forward system." He went on, "It's something that's really important to us on the development side. We want, when we release new content, for players to get access to that content and have fun with it, so it's a huge focus for us. We want players enjoying our game, having fun in our game."
He says this at around 43:50 in the video.
Additionally, Cecot did offer a small tease of what Infinity Ward is working on, stating that weapon camos in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will, outside of a few promotional events, be earned through completing in-game challenges. The idea is to elevate camos to something of a "status symbol." That way when players see someone sporting one on their gun, "you know that person put in some work," as Cecot put it.
To understand why this conversation around Call of Duty and microtransactions is happening in the first place, it helps to remember that the "games as a service" model Activision is trying to push on the series works best in games like Fortnite and Apex Legends. These are games that start off free (though that’s not always a requirement, like with Destiny 2 and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege) and grow with time, allowing players to feel like they’re making progress over time in return for the money spent.
That’s not really something the Call of Duty series can pull off, with its annual new installments demanding players start their experience fresh every year. So unless Infinity Ward is really keeping the fans' concerns in mind, there may be some controversy on the horizon, and the series already has garnered plenty of controversy in 2019.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare launches on October 25 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.