Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 just launched this week and Activision is already under fire for the game's performance. In particular, the company has had to pull several of the multiplayer maps because the functionality makes them completely useless.
The never-evolving game
For years, Activision has taken a lot of fire over the way they handle the Call of Duty franchise. In essence, it is looked upon in the same way as EA and Madden. The game engine is already created, the assets are already created, and each year a nearly identical game comes out and people are forced to purchase it because the previous game will end its public and private support.
However, because of this known mouse trap, the company will often let things slip. For example, in the 2022 release of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, helicopters could leave the map, you couldn't always play in a party, and for some, the game was unable to load at all. With time, the glitches were fixed, but it is simply a sign of the times in the franchise's development.
This year's launch day issues
For Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, there are several modes. The primary two are the Campaign and Multiplayer. Some people flock to the campaign at launch and come back for the multiplayer, while others skip the campaign entirely and are only interested in the online experience. This year, it didn't matter which you chose, you encountered issues.
If you tried to play the campaign, especially during the Early Access period, you were pretty well out of luck. Some players were unable to access the mode at all, while others noted that their progress in the game was lost if they left and came back. Infinity Ward, the studio responsible for this year's edition of the franchise, quickly reported that the issue was known and they were working on it. Activision then stated that there were issues affecting all supported Call of Duty titles and that players would not lose progress once fixed.
Upon release of the full title, however, things got weirder. Some of the maps had such issues that the company has had to pull them from play. Take, for example, Quarry. This map, when played in the Hardpoint game mode, would continuously spawn players at the same point in the map. This means that players from the other team can sit there and wait for the spawn, kill you instantly, and wait for it to happen again. It's a bit like a digital version of the movie Groundhog's Day, and you're Bill Murray with no ability to affect your outcome. Activision has pulled the map from the game, as well as Rundown and Scrapyard for the same issue.
The biggest problem with a bug like this comes from the fact that nothing has really changed about the game. MW2 and MW3 are running on the same engine, and Quarry was in the previous game. Plus, the company has play testers who play the game over and over, looking for these types of issues. How can a new bug pop up in a game which has mostly gone unchanged and has been tested before launch? There is no way to tell for sure, but it would appear that running a money printing machine can make some people (and companies) complacent in their position.