The only way gamers can play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered is by buying special editions of Infinite Warfare, which one writer thinks is a mistake.
In the current landscape of video gaming, there is not exactly a shortage on remasters. Numerous games from the previous generation have gotten facelifts so companies can attempt to resell them to new-gen console owners, with varying degrees of success. I could argue that only a handful of video game remasters can even justify their existence, but there are some games with enough fanfare that actually makes it a worthwhile version. One game that fits that bill, in my view, is Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, and so I was initially very excited when Activision announced Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered.
To me, it doesn't seem like releasing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered should be too complicated. Give the game better graphics, allow players to play on servers free of the hackers that plagued the game on last-gen consoles, and release it to the masses. For one reason or another, Activision has instead decided to make Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered a headache for franchise fans, and while it's obvious what the company's strategy is, I think that its plan could backfire.
For the unaware, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered is releasing on November 4th, but with a catch. The only way to get the game is by buying Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare's Legacy, Legacy Pro, or Digital Deluxe editions. What this means is that players have to spend, at minimum, $80 just to get their hands on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered. Essentially, Activision is trying to force Call of Duty 4 enthusiasts to buy the new Call of Duty game as well just to get the product that they're actually interested in.
This is virtually unprecedented in the industry, and is move that has been met with mixed reception. Some people are fine with the decision, as they were planning on getting the special edition of Infinite Warfare anyway, and so Modern Warfare Remastered comes as a nice bonus. Others are outraged, as there are many veteran Call of Duty players that have no interest in Infinite Warfare's futuristic setting and heavy use of science-fiction elements.
Maybe if Infinite Warfare and Modern Warfare Remastered appealed to the same audience, I wouldn't see it as such a questionable move on the part of Activision, but I'm not convinced that they do. Infinite Warfare features massive spaceships, multiplayer maps in outer space, and scenes that wouldn't look out of place in a Mass Effect game. The fact that Infinite Warfare has no alien species is really the only thing that it seems to have in common with Modern Warfare from a story standpoint.
So, we have one group of gamers that is sick of recent entries in the Call of Duty franchise pushing "futuristic warfare" over the historic settings that the games built their reputation on, and we have another that welcomes the idea of Call of Duty in space. I'm not saying that one mindset is right and the other is wrong, but I am saying that I think there exists a large group of people that would really love to play Modern Warfare Remastered, but have zero interest in Infinite Warfare.
I suspect that Activision has realized this, and that is what has led to the decision to make Modern Warfare Remastered a package deal with the special editions of Infinite Warfare, as opposed to selling it on its own. Perhaps Activision thinks that if it releases Modern Warfare Remastered, not as many people would buy Infinite Warfare, and for the first time in years, a Call of Duty game won't be at the top of the sales charts.
A solution to this conundrum would be to space out the releases of Modern Warfare Remastered and Infinite Warfare instead of releasing the games on the same day. And on that note, I think that Activision releasing Modern Warfare Remastered on the same day as Infinite Warfare is going to prove disastrous for the franchise's community of players.
Allow me to explain. Unless PS4 and Xbox One cross-play becomes a reality, Infinite Warfare's community is already split between three different platforms (the third being PC). Modern Warfare Remastered's potential community is going to be split already since Activision has decided to make it difficult to obtain the game in the first place, meaning that its potential number of players is diluted even further. Not to mention the people that decide to play Infinite Warfare over Modern Warfare Remastered and vice versa. I think this creates an obvious problem that will be detrimental to both games when they launch this November.
Another issue I see with forcing players to buy special editions of Infinite Warfare just to play Modern Warfare Remastered is that it has potential to upset Call of Duty fans. There are already those that are voicing their disapproval, but there are many more casual Call of Duty enthusiasts that probably aren't even aware of this situation yet. Seeing how Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered looks so great, and then finding out that they didn't pick up the right, more expensive version of Infinite Warfare to actually play it could tick off consumers – becoming a PR nightmare in the process.
Ultimately, I think a lot of people simply won't bother with Modern Warfare Remastered – not because they don't want it, but because they can't get it without also paying an extra $60 for a game they may have no interest in. And since Modern Warfare Remastered has only 10 maps, people may be better off putting up with the hackers and playing Call of Duty 4 on seventh gen hardware, since it is a more complete Modern Warfare experience anyway.
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Activision's plan will work as the company hopes, and Infinite Warfare's special editions will smash sales records because of Modern Warfare Remastered. However, I am unconvinced, and I think that Activision's choice to make Modern Warfare Remastered only accessible through the purchase of Infinite Warfare's special editions is a terrible move for the company's image.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered will be available on November 4th, for those that buy the Legacy, Legacy Pro, or Digital Deluxe editions of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.