It may be disappointing, but it shouldn’t be surprising. Why MW2 won’t have multiplayer.
Ever since Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remasted was released on its own last summer fans hoped it would be followed by one of the franchise’s best selling games, Modern Warfare 2. Now Eurogamer has confirmed sources that we will get Modern Warfare 2, but with one glaring omission; no multiplayer.
A campaign only remaster will come as a disappointment to many fans, but I mean it’s an obvious decision on the part of Activision, right?
Servers are expensive to support and the more players who revert to “classic” games the fewer will be playing online in Activision’s new ones. Why does that matter you ask? Afterall, they are all Activision games at the end of the day. What it comes down to is Activision’s ability to monetise their game beyond that $90 you laid out for it in the first place.
In the beginning, this meant DLC and season passes, but it has become so much more. Microtransactions are rampant among all genres of games now and whether you like them or not they are here to stay. Game development, even game development that is “just” remastering an old game, is not cheap. Combined with the fact that the base price of games has not increased that much in the past decade while costs have, companies are relying on new methods to earn revenue. The overwhelming push towards new monetisation structures such as loot boxes is probably the motive for Activision to not bother with multiplayer in MW2.
The trouble with remasters is that older games don’t have the same facility for microtransactions as newer titles designed with them in mind. Modern Warfare featured loot boxes with cosmetic items, later expanding to offer players new weapons, but the whole system was an afterthought. Players were happy to relive the nostalgia of Modern Warfare, but the loot boxes didn’t really add anything to the experience. Afterall, if we didn’t need them in 2007, why would we spend money on them in 2017.
There is also the cost of supporting all those games. Currently, Call of Duty fans are spread across The Black Ops III, Modern Warfare Remastered, Infinite Warfare (assuming anyone is still playing it), and WWII servers. It won’t be long before the Black Ops IIII servers are live either. When crunching the numbers it makes a lot more sense to encourage players to stick with the newer games that support and even encourage these new methods of monetization.
There is no doubt multiplayer is a core strength of Call of Duty titles so a game without may seem pointless. That won’t stop Activision from picking up an easy $25 for one of the more popular games in the franchise. And it shouldn’t, even without multiplayer many players will still want a copy. I know that I am very excited to replay one of my all-time favourite shooters and I doubt I’m alone.