Over the weekend thousands of gamers will be participating in the all out Call of Duty celebration that is Call of Duty XP. Among the enticements that Activision has announced for bringing fans to the event is a “free” copy of the Modern Warfare 3 Hardened Edition — the not quite top tier of COD collector’s editions.

But, you might be asking yourself, what comes in the Hardened Edition of Modern Warfare 3? Thankfully, complete details for the limited edition have leaked out, and now you can make your very hard pre-order decision.

Along with a steel book copy of the game, the Hardened Edition includes one year of Call of Duty Elite (which also nets you all DLC for MW3), Special Founder status on Call of Duty Elite (essentially a series of recognitions and XP boosts for you to show off to your friends), a 100+ page Field Journal that features diagrams and field entries inspired by the game, and either an Avatar outfit or a animated theme (dependent on whether you buy PS3 or Xbox 360).

It’s your standard limited edition fare, but the chance to get into Call of Duty Elite at the same time as purchasing Modern Warfare 3 might be the thing that pushes some gamers over the edge.

Modern Warfare 3 Hardened Edition

Also released were a handful of promo art pieces for the game that showcase many of the locations players will be exploring in the game. These are not screenshots but promo photos meant to serve as inspiration for the level designers of Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer.

Some of the locations will look familiar to anyone who has seen any of the trailers for the game. Check them out:

Among the most interesting shots are those that could potentially be inspiration for the game’s multiplayer maps. Although rumors are just now surfacing about potential map names and a max player count, gamers are still in the dark with regards to multiplayer — not even having seen a single frame of the mode in action — until this weekend’s Call of Duty XP.

Obviously there is very little to be excited about over these pieces of promo art, but sometimes its fascinating to see a development team’s inspiration before taking a look at the final product, which we will get to do on November 8th.

Now that you know what is included with the Hardened Edition of Modern Warfare 3, are you interested in picking up the limited edition? How do the promo photos compare to the final product?

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 releases November 8, 2011 for the Xbox 360, PC, and PS3.

Source: Wired, CVG