Nostalgia is a powerful marketing tool in the entertainment industry, as audiences are more willing to invest in familiar IP, regardless of quality. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is embracing nostalgia with its inclusion of 16 remastered maps from the popular 2009 title, aiming to please long-time fans of the series. However, the game’s heavy reliance on nostalgia raises concerns, as it lacks original 6v6 maps at launch and features many reused assets, suggesting that a smaller-scale expansion was repurposed into a full release.
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It’s becoming increasingly clear just how powerful nostalgia can be, especially when it comes to the entertainment industry. Though new IP is often some of the most creatively interesting projects in the entertainment industry, it’s sequels and remakes that are usually the ones making the most money, with audiences being much more willing to invest their money into an IP that they already know and love, regardless of its actual quality. While this certainly isn’t a new concept, nostalgia has definitely become one of the most powerful marketing tools, and even upcoming AAA games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 are embracing that tool fully.
The Call of Duty franchise has been around for two whole decades now, and many fans jumped onto the series in their youth, making titles like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Black Ops extremely nostalgic. Activision knows this all too well, and it’s tried to leverage that nostalgia for its own benefit countless times over the last few years, whether it’s remastering old Zombies maps or bringing back fan-favorite characters in modern installments. But while Call of Duty has usually handled this nostalgia with quite a bit of care, the recently announced Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 seems to be pushing things a bit too far.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Is Weaponizing Nostalgia
Just announced officially, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 will be 2023’s entry in the long-running FPS franchise. Acting as a direct sequel to last year’s Modern Warfare 2, Sledgehammer Games’ Modern Warfare 3 seeks to fix any issues fans had with the last entry, and aims to do so using a great deal of nostalgia. One of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3’s biggest selling points right now is that it’ll come packaged with 16 remastered maps at launch, all of which come from the 2009 Modern Warfare 2.
The general fan reaction to this has been mostly very positive, and it’s easy to see why. Last year’s Modern Warfare 2 was heavily criticized for its lack of traditional 6v6 maps, and the notion that Modern Warfare 3 will have 16 from the get-go is excellent news. Similarly, many fans are incredibly nostalgic for Modern Warfare 2’s maps, and seeing them all with modern high-res textures and modern gameplay mechanics is sure to please many long-time fans of the series. But this news isn’t without one monumental caveat. In Modern Warfare 3’s official reveal, Sledgehammer confirmed that the game will have no original 6v6 maps on launch, with the 16 remastered maps being the only ones available on day one, and 12 new maps allegedly coming sometime post-launch.
On a similar train of thought, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3’s reveal spent a great deal of time showcasing the game’s new campaign mode. In the reveal, fans can see that they’ll be returning to several areas from Call of Duty: Warzone’s original Verdansk map, such as the Gulag and the Stadium. While players have been desperately pleading for Verdansk’s return, Modern Warfare 3’s campaign mode is probably not the place they were hoping to see it. Its place there ends up seeming a tad lazy as a result, making it seem like Sledgehammer didn’t want to create new locations – or much more likely, didn’t have the time to.
Just following Modern Warfare 2’s release at the end of last year, leaks started surfacing about 2023’s Call of Duty, with many claiming that it would be the first time in decades that the franchise wouldn’t receive a fully-fledged annual release. For months, leaks kept cropping up about this subject, all suggesting that the 2023 Call of Duty release would be a smaller-scale expansion to Modern Warfare 2, primarily focusing on a campaign mode. Flash forward to now, and it seems as though Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was almost certainly originally intended as a smaller-scale expansion, but Activision has probably pushed it to a “premium” release, hence the abundance of reused assets, maps, and weapons. But rather than admit this, Activision is claiming that this was always planned as a full release, feeling it is worthy of the full $70 price tag and using nostalgia to attract longtime fans.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 releases November 10 on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
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