Activision Blizzard developed its latest offering in the Call of Duty series, Modern Warfare III, in significantly less time than its predecessors, a factor that may be contributing to its negative reception. Bloomberg reporting notes the game, released amid Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision, has been criticized for its rushed storyline.
Developers under pressure
Typically developed over a three-year period, Modern Warfare III’s production was condensed to less than 18 months. This accelerated timeline placed immense pressure on the development team, who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. The stress of this truncated schedule is likely a contributing factor to the game’s perceived shortcomings.
The game’s reception
Despite being a key revenue generator for Activision, with over $30 billion in revenue over two decades, Modern Warfare III’s rushed development has raised concerns. Critics have panned the game’s story, noting its lack of depth and coherence. Bloomberg’s report highlighted the internal conflicts and changes during development, including a mid-course shift from a smaller-scale spinoff to a direct sequel with global reach.
Internal conflicts and changes
The game’s development, initially planned as an expansion to the previous title, evolved into a full-fledged sequel. This shift, along with a reboot of the story mid-development, compressed the production timeline even further. Developers expressed their frustration over the hurried process and the changes in direction dictated by upper management, which contributed to the game’s negative reviews.
Reception by gaming outlets
Major gaming outlets have been critical of Modern Warfare III’s storyline. GameSpot and IGN, among others, have pointed out the apparent hastiness of the game’s narrative development. This feedback focused solely on the story missions, without covering the multiplayer and zombie modes.
Impact on the franchise
Analysts suggest that while this release may not have a lasting impact on the Call of Duty franchise, a continued decline in quality could prompt Microsoft to reconsider its strategy for the series. The annual release schedule, a staple since 2005, might come under review if the trend of compromised development cycles persists.
Modern Warfare III’s rushed production highlights the challenges of balancing quality and timely release in the competitive gaming industry. As developers and studios navigate these pressures, the impact on game quality and staff well-being remains a critical concern.