Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Rick Lane)

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>

Call of Duty 2 [official site] tends to get forgotten about, sandwiched as it is between the huge success of Call of Duty and the truly gargantuan success of Call of Duty 4 (we don t talk about Call of Duty 3 here in PC town). This is an unfortunate state of affairs, as it might just be the best game in the series. … [visit site to read more]

Announcement - Valve
This weekend get up to 50% off on classic Call of Duty games! Great deals on all-time favorites like Call of Duty: World at War and Call of Duty: United Offensive, plus 33% off on the Call of Duty Warchest and the Call of Duty World War II Bundle.
















Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Gathering together the best shooters is no easy task, but if you’re looking for a new PC FPS to play, look no further.

Your favourite game is at number 51.

… [visit site to read more]

Announcement - Valve
The Activision Publisher Weekend continues today with great deals on Activision titles! From now through Monday* pick up titles up to 75% off!

Additionally, play the Call of Duty: Ghosts Multiplayer for Free throughout the weekend!

Today's Daily Deal features the Call of Duty franchise** at 50% off!

*All discounts end Monday, March 17th at 10AM Pacific Time.

**Does not include Call of Duty: Ghosts



















Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Given how monumentally successful Call of Duty is, it's a surprise this hasn't happened sooner. Franchise owner Activision today announced the first official convention celebrating the first-person shooter series, Call of Duty XP 2011. It'll take place over Labor Day weekend, September 2 and 3, at "a secure 12-acre compound in the urban confines of Los Angeles" and cost $150.

The festivities will include the premiere of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3's multiplayer, hands-on time with MW3's MP and Spec Ops co-op survival modes, paintball on a recreation of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 map Scrapyard, a real-life version of MW2's Spec Ops time trial 'The Pit,' the full reveal of subscription service Call of Duty Elite's functionality, and an armory displaying weapons from the series.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and the Call of Duty Elite service

In the realm of more traditional convention attractions, there will be developer discussion panels and Q&A sessions, contests, and tournaments, crowned by a 4-player team tourney with a $1 million prize pool.

The $150 two-day passes for Call of Duty XP 2011 go on sale on July 19. Proceeds from ticket sales will go to The Call of Duty Endowment, Activision's non-profit which helps ease armed forces veterans back into civilian life.

For those who wisely refuse to brave LA's weather and traffic, Activision assures there will be "a constant stream of high-production value videos" online and on television. There's no word yet on whether this will be free to watch or if a fee will be charged, like Activision subsidiary Blizzard does for its own BlizzCon.

"From the high production values of our live, immersive events--all the way to the smallest details in every design and activity--we're pulling out all the stops to make Call of Duty XP the ultimate gathering for the global community of Call of Duty fans," said Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg in the announcement. "The celebration will immerse attendees in a Call of Duty experience unlike anything they've ever seen before."

Considering how popular BlizzCon is as a community-strengthening tool and publicity platform for Blizzard's products--selling out within minutes every year--it's no surprise to see Activision follow suit with Call of Duty. It might only be a single franchise and arguably a single game, but it's just as beloved by its fans.

Kotaku

Bring Back World War II Commenter Bipolar.Bear.Disorder is missing the good old days of World War II in today's installment of Speak-Up On Kotaku.


Am I the only one left in the gaming community that misses World War II games? With everyone's intense focus on modern and future warfare, I feel as if World War II video games, my favorite genre, have fallen a bit by the wayside. Of course, World War II games are still being released, but not on the constant scale that used to be the norm. I understood that some people had begun to feel as if the era had been overdone and cliché, but I must admit, I really miss FPS games where aim was more important than perks, and headshots didn't have to come from sniper rifles.


With this sudden influx of contemporary war games set in the present and future, I feel like we as gamers lose an important facet that was prominent in the more well-made productions. I can't really explain what I mean by it, though. To me, it just feels like games like Modern Warfare and Medal of Honor miss some important element that was in their earlier iteration. It isn't the scope of the war, or even the actual combat itself. I just don't think that war games set in a modern period have the same "magic," for lack of a better term; that games like Call of Duty 2, Brothers in Arms, and Company of Heroes had. Maybe it's a sense of righteousness, with a clear sense of who the enemy is and what our goals are. Maybe since it took place "so many years ago," it seems as if it's another time in another place.


I just don't understand why gamers and developers had begun to ignore World War II. Maybe it was being overdone, but I'm pretty sure developers hadn't used the era to its fullest potential. There are so much other stories left to tell. There's so much things developers hadn't done yet. This current batch of modern-combat games cannot match the ones that took us up Normandy Beach, fighting through once-pristine French streets, to reach the city of Berlin.


Maybe that's what's missing in these games set in modern conflicts. In this day and age, undoubtedly fueled by countless government scandals and corruption, any war taking place seems wrong and, well, stupid. Not getting into any specifics here, but the general populace had developed distaste for war and bloodshed. For patriotism and pride. That's where World War II games came in. They weren't meant to trivialize the war, neither making it bearable and "cutesy," or making in into the Hollywood-style action-paced machismo slugfest that dominate the current shooting galleries. They were a sort of remembrance, in a way, for the countless men and women who have died in such a tragic war. In World War II, that was both humanities highest point and lowest point in history. It'd be a shame to forget it in such a quickly growing medium.


About Speak-Up on Kotaku: Our readers have a lot to say, and sometimes what they have to say has nothing to do with the stories we run. That's why we have that little box on the front page of Kotaku. You know, the one with "Got something to say?" written in it? That's the place to post anecdotes, photos, game tips and hints, and anything you want to share with Kotaku at large. Just make sure to include #speakup in your comment so we can find it. Every weekday we'll pull one of the best #speakup posts we can find and highlight it here.


Kotaku

Call Of Duty And Hollywood Go Way BackCall of Duty is no stranger to Hollywood. While a couple of big time movie stars are going to do voice work in the upcoming Black Ops, this is far from a first for the series.


There have been rumblings of a possible Call of Duty movie. Those rumblings were followed up by comments from Kevin McKidd, the voice actor for Modern Warfare character Soap, in which he said "there are talks of a feature film".


The inclusion of Hollywood talent in the Call of Duty credits is nothing new to the series. Call of Duty games have been star-stubbed affairs from the getgo. The first Call of Duty game, released in 2003, featured voice work from Jason Statham (Snatch, Transporter series) and Giovanni Ribisi (Saving Private Ryan, Avatar). The game was also scored by Michael Giacchino, who would go on score Pixar films like The Incredibles and Up as well as scoring J.J. Abrams projects like Star Trek and Lost.


2004's Call of Duty: Finest Hour was penned by Michael Schiffer, who produced the late 1990s dark comedy Very Bad Things. The game had Dennis Haysbert doing voice work. Haysbert is best known for his role as President David Palmer in the TV series 24 and as Pedro Cerrano in Major League.


The following year, Call of Duty 2: Big Red One was lighter on movie stars than the first Call of Duty game, but had Mark Hamill of Star Wars fame narrate the game. Hamill starred in 1980 World War II film The Big Red One, which was based on the real war experiences of the film's director Samuel Fuller.


2006's Call of Duty 3, which was developed by Black Ops studio Treyarch, featured talented voice actors, but alas, did not feature any name movie stars. The studio's 2008 follow-up, Call of Duty: World at War, brought out the big name stars. Both Gary Oldman and Kiefer Sutherland turned in performances for the game. Oldman will be reprising his role for the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops.


One of the most memorable characters in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Captain Price, was voiced by veteran British TV and film actor Billy Murray. The 2009 sequel, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, had actors like Lance Henriksen of Alien franchise fame and Keith David of boy-he's-been-in-a-lot-of-movies fame. The game featured a soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer, one of the biggest name composers in Hollywood. It was Zimmer's first video game score.


Call of Duty hasn't gone Hollywood. It's always been Hollywood. It's just more Hollywood now. Hollywoodier, if you will.


Kotaku

Get Your World War II On With Call of Duty: The War CollectionStop! Do not buy that copy of Call of Duty: World At War! If you really need a fix of World War II era shoot 'em up action, cool your jets for this summer's Call of Duty: The War Collection.


Activision appears to be exploiting three of the Call of Duty franchise's WWII-iest first-person shooters, bundling "complete versions of Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty 3 and Call of Duty: World at War" into one Xbox 360 package. Complete, eh? There's no mention in the collection's product listing that the downloadable content released for those games would be included, so don't count on it.


Amazon.com and GameStop list Call of Duty: The War Collection for $59.99 USD with a release date in June in North America. The bundle appears to be an Xbox 360-only product, at least from listings at online retailers.


Call of Duty: The War Collection [Amazon.com - thanks, __!]


Kotaku

What Has Treyarch Done For Call of Duty? The upcoming Call of Duty title, Call of Duty: Black Ops, was developed by Santa Monica-based studio Treyarch. The studio did not create Call of Duty. Has it done anything for the franchise?


Back in 2003, the Call of Duty franchise was developed and created by Infinity Ward for the PC. Treyarch was brought on board for Call of Duty 2: Big Red One, which, unlike Infinity Ward's Call of Duty 2, focuses on a singular group of soldiers — here, the Big Red One division. The game features narration from Mark Hamill, who starred in Samuel Fuller's war epic The Big Red One, and stock World War II footage.


While Infinity Ward focused on what would become Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Treyarch developed Call of Duty 3. The nuts and bolts of the game were largely similar to Call of Duty 2, with noticeable differences in how campaigns played out in the single player campaign. One new gameplay feature was the addition of hand-to-hand combat. Another was having players drive more vehicles. Online play was reworked as well. Call of Duty 3, however, simply did not have the polish that Infinity Ward's Call of Duty 2 did. That isn't to say Call of Duty 3 is a bad game, because it's not. It's just not Call of Duty 2. Hence the problem.


While Infinity Ward moved on to modern combat for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Treyarch stayed in World War II for Call of Duty: World at War. The game was more violent and grotesque than the previously Call of Duty games. It seemed exploitative, even. Hey, war is really violent and horrible, did you know that? Granted, the Pacific theater of the war had been largely unexplored, so the setting was, for WWII, a good choice at the time.


And the addition of cooperative play was welcomed, and the Nazi Zombies mode, while gimmicky, was enjoyed by players. The rub is that Treyarch didn't exactly push the series forward like Infinity Ward did. Treyarch, instead, seemed content to tinker and tweak, but left the overhauls, like no more endlessly respawning enemies, to Infinity Ward.


Of course, it is entirely possible that Treyarch was never really given the chance to shine and was told to labor in the shadows of Infinity Ward. But now with Infinity Ward a shell of its former self, Treyarch now finds itself in the driver's seat with the Call of Duty games. Treyarch is now the lead studio for the series, having the most experience developing COD games. That isn't to say that Activision won't farm out other Call of Duty sequels to other developers, but rather, that Treyarch does now have the most know-how for making these games.


The studio's previous efforts were admirable and fun — but often seemed to rely on gimmicks than truly compelling gameplay. They just felt slightly "off". That isn't to say all hope is lost — not by a damn sight! The debut trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops is a rapid cut of images, but what it seems to hint out seems fantastic. This is the type of game we should have gotten for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, but did not.


Treyarch's most important contributions to Call of Duty could very well be still yet to come.


Kotaku

Call of Duty Series to "Broaden" Its AudienceVideo game publisher Activision released Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 last year. It made over a billion dollars. Now Activision has decide it will make the series more accessible.


Because over a billion dollars is not accessible. And not enough people read Harry Potter books. Have you ever seen Star Wars?


Thomas Tippl, Activision's chief operating officer and chief financial officer, explained which studios work on the hugely successful Call of Duty franchise: "Today, we have three studios working on Call of Duty. We have Infinity Ward, which made Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Then we have Treyarch, which will be releasing a Call of Duty game in the fall of 2010. Treyarch also developed Call of Duty: World at War and Call of Duty 3. And, most recently, we've added Sledgehammer in the Bay Area. We haven't yet announced the content of their game, but it's going to be an innovative take that will further broaden the audience for Call of Duty."


Broaden the audience? Pretty sure Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 developed by Infinity Ward would be Activision's best bet for that.


Oh wait. Right then. Well, carry on with that Call of Duty innovation!


Activision: 'We treat our developers extremely well' [LA Times] [Pic]


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