Monday, October 5, 2009
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was definitely a step in the right direction, with an involving storyline, quite interesting (even if a bit underdeveloped) characters and some deeply emotional moments that definitely had an epic vibe.
Modern Warfare 2 might be able to beat even that. The recently released "infamy" trailer shows Washington DC under siege, surrounded by fire. Even to me, not being American (but having been to Washington several times), just watching the trailer strikes an emotional chord.
I can only imagine, for now, how it'll feel to actually play it.
Normally a desperate defense tends to be more epic than being on the attack, and FPS set in a timeframe akin to ours always show the main character being on the offensive in some remote war-torn areas. While there's still a limited sense of pressure due to the fact that one's virtual embodiment in the game might die (and respawn immediately after), what's missing is the feeling that something more important is at stake. Even having to stop some pretty abstract nuclear attack still leaves people cold. The cold war has ended, and the nightmare of nuclear holocaust is now less vivid in the minds of the young generations.
It seems that Modern Warfare 2 will challenge that feeling of comfort that often makes the conflict feel less epic.
Americans will be fighting on their (virtual) home soil. In the city that's the very symbol of their freedom and democracy. Even non-Americans will probably be affected due to having seen the same places so many times (on TV for instance) in peace time, triggering an inevitable "what if" scenario in their minds, picturing their own home city in those conditions. That's the feeling that many felt when seeing clips of the 9/11 attack.
Of course this is not reality, it's a game, but the area of the brain that generates emotions often doesn't really care that much if what is seen is from the TV News or in a videogames. Emotions are probably less strong, but they're still there, and that's what creates epic moments in a videogame.
I'm quite confident that, due to this, Modern Warfare 2 might really become the most epic first person shooter ever developed. The elements are all there, we will just have to see how they will play out.
Unfortunately, emotions probably won't come without controversy. Some people got bent the wrong way (very wrong way) by seeing similar imagery in a game that was obvious science fiction like Fallout 3. How will they react to seeing Washington ablaze in a setting that's very similar to our own?
Personally, I hope that not many will be that stupid. No matter how you spin it, such a scenario cannot be seen as a lack of respect to the ones that defended the US and their freedom. It most definitely can be seen as upholding terrorism over American soil (even if I'm, sadly, quite sure that someone will manage to spin it that way).
If any, it can strike an emotional chord in the hearts of Americans by telling them: "be careful, terrorism isn't something that can be underestimated. If we do, this is what might happen".
But that aside, I have to tell that I have high hopes for Modern Warfare 2. It might be the first FPS to create a pure, unadulterated epic feeling comparable to what, so far, can be seen only on RPGs (especially JRPGs) and a few other rare cases.
If you share the same feeling, you can preorder the game on Amazon.com for PS3 or Xbox 360 or PC (sponsored link).