Modern Warfare 2, the most anticipated multi-platform videogame of 2009, is being released internationally on November 10 in a variety of software and hardware bundles, ranging from $29.99 / €39.99 right through to $399.99 / €329.99.
In terms of video game releases, the week beginning November 9 may as well be known as Modern Warfare 2 week. Perhaps the most anticipated cross-platform game of 2009, the follow-up to 2007's Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare. That game sold over 13 million copies, picked up multiple industry awards, and has been in such demand that few retailers have needed to drop its price by more than a few dollars or euros in order to maintain interest in the two years since.
While at times the narrative of the first Modern Warfare seemed to question the player's motivation and the morality of armed conflict, Modern Warfare 2 has already stirred controversy with the leaked video of a level from the game in which the main character, usually a member of the American forces, actively takes part in terrorist activities whilst operating undercover. It was also the most wanted game amongst 11 to 17-year-old males in a recent survey by US videogame retailer Game Crazy, though the game itself is rated 'Mature' in the US, making it appropriate for distribution only to those 17 and over (the European rating is generally over 18s only).
There has been some upset amongst PC gamers over the announcement that the online component of the game will be hosted using a more console-style of automatic matchmaking, whereas one of the usual distinctions between PC and console games is that PC users have access to deeper customization options, even including which specific game host or 'server' they want to use. Typically, PC gamers are able to select their favorite server, and communities focused around those servers grow as friendships are made, so removing the server selection option has been unpopular.
However, due to the outstanding success of Call of Duty 4 and the devoted following it now has, game sales of Modern Warfare 2 are practically guaranteed over the next few months and even years, and so the choice most fans will face comes down to which retail version to purchase.
Modern Warfare 2 arrives on nearly all major gaming platforms in some form or another. The Standard Edition is the game and manual only, for Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation 3. Other improved editions are for the 360 and PS3. The Hardened Edition is the Standard Edition in a special tin case, with an artbook and a voucher enabling the complimentary download of 2003's Call Of Duty, the first in the franchise. The Veteran Edition is exclusive to EBGames in the US and GAME in Europe, and includes the Hardened Edition and a 12" / 30cm statue of the games main character. Finally, the Prestige Edition comprises the Hardened Edition and, somewhat unusually, a working pair of night vision goggles. Microsoft are also using the release of Modern Warfare 2 to coincide with the launch of the new 250GB hard drive Xbox 360 in a bundle with the game and two controllers.
To round off Modern Warfare 2's utter domination of the week's releases, there is also a companion game for the Nintendo DS called Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Mobilized ($29.99 / €39.99), and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Reflex on the Wii ($49.99 / €49.99), which is a Wii-specific conversion of 2007's Modern Warfare.
Release date: November 10, worldwide.
Game only: $59.99 / €59.99
Hardened Edition: $79.99 / €89.99
Veteran Edition: $139.99 / €120 (exclusive to EBGames / GAME)
Prestige Edition: $149.99 / €149.99
Xbox 360 bundle: $399 / €329.99