Last night, Activision released the first teaser trailer for Modern Warfare 2. My first thought: That's some curious timing. Judging from the number of parties thrown each night over the course of GDC, the whole event seems geared to make sure every member of the industry is sauced up from 6pm on through to the following morning. Which means the trailer was likely received by a legion of unpaid interns left to keep an eye on the offices while everyone else was off having fun. So the fact that the trailer made it up onto the Internet is some small miracle. Here's the video, followed by a few thoughts of mine:
-- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was a strange title for a sequel to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. It made almost as much sense as Modern Duty: Call of Warfare 6 or Warfare Duty 8: Modern Calling. Or, to put it another way, it made no damn sense whatsoever. So how do you remedy that? Spin the series off into something else altogether. So now it's just Modern Warfare 2... free of any Call of Duty branding. It's an interesting step when you consider how many ancillary products Activision has stuck the Guitar Hero branding on. If you're a fan of reading too deep into things--like me!--you might see this as an example of how much pull Infinity Ward has within the umbrella of Activision's studios.
-- The trailer itself is less a videogame than a radio show, so you're automatically at a disadvantage when you try to interpret what's going on here. But that's not going to stop me from doing just that. We've got what sounds like a group of Russian terrorists in an American (or British?) airport, gearing up in an elevator before staging an all-out assault on the dozens of screaming civilians scurrying to and from their flights. That's... a pretty risky setting. It's recalls the Mumbai terrorist attacks when guerilla fighters arrived by boat and opened fire on anything that moved. When you consider what a conservative take on the series World at War was, introducing your game with a vignette that recalls such a powerful incident is a brave move. But you know what? I like it. My favorite scenes in CoD4 were the moments when the game completely caught you off guard by leaving you to die in a nuclear explosion or witnessing the anticlimactic deaths of your closest buddies when safety seemed like such a foregone conclusion.
-- The brief collection of still images shows tanks, helicopters, some sort of industrial facility and what appears to be an urban slum. That doesn't immediately suggest many new locations. But pause at the 1:25 mark and you'll see a teddy bear. That's right, a teddy bear. Did I mention it's a teddy bear? [Thanks, Tina!]
-- So there's not a whole lot going on here, of course, but what little there is to over-interpret from makes me as giddy as I could be. Excitement level: high.