It's fair to say that Modern Warfare 2 is one of the biggest games at E3 09, so it's no wonder that Microsoft showed the game early on during its press conference. This marked the first occasion in which the game had been seen live, but that wasn't the only news to take away from the briefing. Infinity Ward also said that Modern Warfare 2 map packs will debut first on Xbox Live, forcing PlayStation 3 (and maybe even PC) players to wait an unspecified amount of time to get their hands on them.
Infinity Ward's Jason West took to the stage to play the game for the first time in public. The level that they showed started out atop a snowy cliff, as you accompany "Soap" McTavish across a thin ledge. It's another bombastic Call of Duty set piece in which you use hooks to cling to the cliff and climb ridges. As planes scream overhead, McTavish slips down the wall, but he manages to cling on and make it to the top. The level of detail was incredible: The ice cracks under pressure as you plunge in your hook, and your clothing blows in the vicious mountain winds. After a jump in which it looks like you'll plunge to your death, McTavish saves you, pulls you up, and you soon start the combat that we all know and love in the COD series.
The next segment of the game showed off a new environment, a snowy naval base, as well as a spectacular new weapon. We weren't told the name of the new rifle, but it had a radar device on the side that tracked enemy movement. This was vital, considering that visibility in the snowy setting was minimal, but you also had the support of McTavish in taking down the base. He tells you to plant C4 on the objective, and with the base blown up, you make a run for it and get chased out of the base by men on snowmobiles. We watched as Jason West continued to play the game, rolling down a hill and taking out the enemies as they made their escape. There was a great moment in which McTavish knifed one of them in the neck, took his snowmobile, and headed down the hill.
This vehicle-based segment looked particularly cool. You use a semiautomatic pistol to shoot at enemies who are giving chase, while also steering around the trees and making your escape. This brief demo was all that we saw of the game at this stage, but we'll hopefully find out more about it in Activision's booth during the rest of the show. The full game is out on November 10 in the US, but check back throughout this week for more info as we receive it.