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'Activision did not want Modern Warfare' - Infinity Ward

Call of Duty CCO Vince Zampella says publisher pushed for best-selling shooter franchise to remain in WWII period, PC-only.


Reporting on its April-June fiscal quarter in August, Activision said that revenues for the period surpassed $1 billion. The figure was bolstered in no small part by the unstoppable juggernaut that is Infinity Ward's acclaimed Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which the publisher said has sold 14 million units worldwide since its release in November 2007 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, DS, and PC. (A Wii edition, titled Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare: Reflex, is due next month.)

This? Risky? Nah.
This? Risky? Nah.

Considering Call of Duty 4's phenomenal success, it may come as a shock that Activision initially opposed Infinity Ward's decision to abandon World War II for a more contemporary setting. What's more, the publisher wasn't overly keen on bringing the developer's wares to consoles, either.

"Activision…did not want Modern Warfare," Infinity Ward chief creative officer Vince Zampella told Britain-based Official PlayStation Magazine in an interview, relayed by UK gaming site CVG. "They thought working on a modern game was risky and [thought], 'Oh my god you can't do that, it's crazy!' They were doing market research to show us we were wrong the whole time."

Call of Duty project lead Jason West went on to note, "We had to fight for everything. They wanted it to be World War II. Again."

In fact, Zampella said that Infinity Ward was ready to leave the WWII setting after the original Call of Duty, which received glowing reviews upon its release for the PC in 2003. Notably, Activision announced that it had acquired the Encino, California-based developer for an undisclosed sum one day after the original COD shipped in October of that year.

"With Call of Duty 2, we were dead set against it being World War II," Zampella said. "But Activision really wanted it, the compromise sort of being that we'd get some dev kits for consoles in exchange for doing a World War II game. We always wanted to be on consoles and Activision saw us as more of a PC developer."

Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will be available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on November 10, and according to Activision, as of August the game was already the most preordered title in the publisher's history. For more information, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

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