Eight years ago, when Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was released, one of the most anticipated modes featured in the game was their revamped Spec-Ops. This cooperative and tactical experience had two varied types, the Horde-esque survival mode and linear mission sets. A DLC Chaos rendition was added following the game's release and upped the ante a bit in terms of timed challenges and more difficult missions, but what made the Spec-Ops mode shine was its team-based, couch co-op survival experience, which these days tends to get ignored in game development.
Activision is pulling at the heartstrings of many previous CoD fans by using the nostalgic value of Spec-Ops to bring in a massive base of players for its forthcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Except for the famous online multiplayer, Spec-Ops was often heralded as among the most popular elements of Modern Warfare. Yet Activision has now gone and robbed an entire group of gamers of the right to enjoy one of the series' best co-op options by making Spec-Ops Survival a yearlong PlayStation exclusive, which has already led many fans to cancel their preorders.
Such is the reality in an era of gaming that stresses the importance of timed exclusivity deals and predatory loot boxes. Real fans don't make a difference anymore. It's all about making the maximum profit.
The Short Lifespan of a CoD Title
Not only Call of Duty, but most games in existence (besides maybe Grand Theft Auto V, Minecraft and, dare I say, Fortnite) garner only about a year-long attention span. That is to say that within a year of Modern Warfare's release, Activision will already have another CoD title on shelves, pretty much making Spec-Ops Survival's eventual release for non-PS4 players irrelevant. While Black Ops 4 may still get traction, due to some interesting DLC content and the well-received Blackout battle royale, most players have already moved on to more recent titles, like the Modern Warfare beta or Call of Duty Mobile, the latter getting 100 million downloads in its first week.
That's not even mentioning the slew of popular releases Modern Warfare will have to contend with in the next few months alone, from Jedi: Fallen Order and Outer Worlds to Death Stranding and Pokémon Sword and Shield, all of which are only in 2019. There's far more competition in 2020 with titles like Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, Cyberpunk 2077, The Last of Us Part II, and Watch Dogs: Legion. For PC and Xbox players, not only will Survival mode be a long-forgotten memory but so too will Modern Warfare itself. This is wrong on so many levels; The worst outcome is that those who have waited nearly a decade to replay this classic one-of-a-kind co-op phenomenon will find a nonexistent playerbase when they finally get it.
A Battlefront-Type Situation
There's nothing quite like gaining enough stars to reach that next, more excruciating level in Modern Warfare 3 Spec-Ops, especially when playing split-screen with a pal. Despite the fact that Special Operations will be available for all players come release, PlayStation gamers having the Survival mode for one year has understandably still sparked a bevy of concerns, found en masse on Reddit. Many have even claimed that the PS4 Spec-Ops exclusivity will kill the game, though that's highly doubtful given its Call of Duty banner (most gamers tend to ignore the more doody aspects of the series). Similar to Battlefront II and the online sensation that pushed that game into axing its loot box components, non-PS4 Modern Warfare fans should follow in the footsteps of these disgruntled EA gamers by voicing their concerns. EA eventually caved, Activision may well do the same if Modern Warfare's potential revenue is put at risk.
Despite little in the way of a response from Activision, besides a Reddit post by art director Joel Emslie, there's still a chance they will correct the error in their ways. Joel even voiced the fact that having an open line with the community is an important part of Activision's direction following the game's launch. It's clear that Activison is testing the limits of game mode exclusivity for the future. The publisher is obviously approaching new avenues of financial gain, even if it's clear that loot boxes and microtransactions will be prevalent in Modern Warfare. In order to curb what will become commonplace in the future, true CoD fans should use every platform possible to attack and criticize Activision's stance on exclusivity. Before long, it won't just be Spec-Ops Survival, but the entirety of Spec-Ops itself, maybe even splitting off modes, encouraging more players to buy all available platforms to fully experience games. That's a terrifying future, isn't it?
Staving Off A Dark Future
Merely looking at the way Black Ops 4 's post-launch was handled is enough to indicate that Modern Warfare spells a disastrous future for gaming fans everywhere. Not only have predatory loot boxes tarnished the industry, so too has exclusive deals that inevitably divide the fanbase. The most recent examples are showcased in the battle between Steam and Epic Games Store, alone proving that money, not creative influence or fan acclaim, is more important to publishers in this era, minus only a select few. Ubisoft's newest game, Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, is yet another perfect example of the dreadful road this industry is speeding down without recourse. These pay-to-win mechanics and monetary exclusivity schemes will only worsen if left ignored.
Take back Survival mode you Xbox One and PC gamers; don't allow Activision to choose your platform for you.