Call of Duty 4 sells 12 million, Modern Warfare 'taken on life of its own'

GDC 2009: Activision declares hit "best-selling first-person action game of all time"; Infinity Ward reps appear to confirm spin-off; Activision mum on COD series' future.

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SAN FRANCISCO--This morning, Activision confirmed what many had noticed when watching its trailer the night before: That the sequel for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare will simply be called "Modern Warfare 2." The confirmation led to speculation that the game would be the first of a whole new spin-off series--speculation that a statement from an Infinity Ward rep appears to have confirmed.

"All I can tell you (officially) at this point is that Modern Warfare has taken on such a life of its own, it has become our focus now," a rep told GameSpot. "At this point, it's too early to release additional details." This was echoed in a statement by Infinity Ward CEO Vince Zampella, who said, "Everyone on the team is laser-focused on making the most gripping experience we've ever created."

Several questions are raised by this apparent confirmation that Modern Warfare is now its own animal. The rep declined to answer the first--whether or not the new IP Infinity Ward revealed last July is a Modern Warfare series or something else entirely.

If Modern Warfare is indeed a new franchise, it will have a massive fan base from day one. Activision also announced today that Call of Duty 4 has sold 12 million units worldwide to date, according to sales figures from the NPD Group (US) and GfK (Europe). Citing these figures, Activision is now calling its critically lauded blockbuster the "best-selling first-person action game of all time."

The prospect of a stand-alone Modern Warfare series also puts the fate of the Call of Duty franchise into question. If Infinity Ward is no longer making Call of Duty games, the most likely scenario would see it being taken over by Treyarch. The similarly Activision-owned studio had been alternating COD projects with Infinity Ward, releasing the multiplatinum Call of Duty: World at War last year. As of press time, Activision reps had not commented on the status of the Call of Duty license.

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