All-out war (games)


Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 isn’t just the biggest video game launch in history — it’s the biggest
launch across all forms of entertainment, beating out the likes of Harry Potter
The Dark Knight and the
band ‘N Sync.

But at least one other military video game has its sights
set on the popular first-person shooter, getting a bit of added traction thanks
to some controversial design decisions made in the Activision blockbuster.

For the uninitiated, Electronic Arts’ upcoming first-person
shooter Battlefield: Bad Company 2 may
sound an awful lot like
Modern Warfare 2.

Both military games are set in modern times and pride
themselves on realistic settings, weapons and combat. But where Modern
Warfare 2
‘s single player story is a
narrative that leads players through the action along a scripted plot,
Company 2
‘s developers say their game is a
more open-ended experience.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 delivers an all-out war experience unlike any other
FPS with its wide, open sand box environments, tactical destruction and of
course the full range of player controlled vehicles,” said Karl Magnus
Troedsson, the executive producer of the Battlefield Franchise at Digital
Illusions CE. “The game stands on more legs than this but these are the
key areas which elevate
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 above the rest of the pack.”

While Troedsson calls Modern Warfare 2 and Bad Company 2 direct competitors, he knew better than to launch
EA’s up-and-coming shooter at the same time as titan
Modern Warfare 2. Instead, Bad Company 2 will be hitting the PC, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360
about four months later, in early March.

“These games are direct competitors while still being
different games with different experiences,” Troedsson said. “The
gamers who like one will probably like the other, at least if they could get
into the groove of the different second-to-second experiences.

“Obviously I wouldn’t want to launch at the same time
(as Modern Warfare 2). However, we’ve
seen a huge uptake in interest for
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 even during the height of their marketing campaign.
And we’re just getting started.”

Much of that increased interest in Bad Company 2 has been driven by gamers unhappy with some of the
decisions made in the development of
Modern Warfare 2. Most contentious among gamers was developer
Infinity Ward’s decision to limit the control PC gamers have over how they play
Modern Warfare 2 online.

Shortly after news broke that Modern Warfare 2 wouldn’t support the ability for gamers to run their
own online games on dedicated servers, Digital Illusions CE announced that
Company 2
would have dedicated servers.

It may sound like a small issue, but the Infinity Ward’s
decision spurred an online petition that currently has more than 210,000
signatures. It also created a movement among some gamers to shift their game
purchase from Modern Warfare 2 to Bad
Company 2


One gamer mailed a check to Digital Illusions CE, telling
them to use the money he had earmarked for Modern Warfare 2 to improve Bad Company 2.

Troedsson wouldn’t say how big a factor dedicated servers
will be for gamers come March.

“I can’t answer since it’s up to the audience,” he
said. “What I can say is that we’ve always considered this a key factor to
deliver the best online experience available and anyone caring equally much
about this will probably get more out of the multiplayer experience in Battlefield:
Bad Company 2

And he notes that while there are plenty of vocal gamers
currently pledging support for Bad Company 2 at the cost of Modern Warfare 2, it’s still a small percentage of the entire audience.

“So far we’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback based
upon what we’ve announced regarding Battlefield: Bad Company 2,” he said. “Some of it has come in the
form of proper fan dedication from new as well as old diehard fans. We greatly
appreciate this. These are the people that are at the core of our audience, the
players we often listen to and who can help shape our games into something even

“However, comparing to the vast number of people that
will buy the game it’s still a small percentage of people that actually get in
direct contact with us. As for the fan mail, what we’ve gotten recently I can
only hope is a sign that we’re doing something right.”

And there’s always a chance that a fan base so fickle, so
easily swayed by design decisions, could decide that something about Bad
Company 2
isn’t a good fit either.

Troedsson realizes the risk of winning over such diehard
fans, gamers who could be intolerant of change.

“We can’t fulfill everyone’s wishes but we always build
games that we truly believe our players will love to play,” he said.

With Bad Company 2
that means new game modes, new weapons and a much higher level of polish —
improvements that Troedsson believes makes
Bad Company 2 the better of the two games.

“Well, obviously I believe Battlefield: Bad Company
is better, especially looking at how our
game incorporates an all-out war experience with vehicles, destruction,
etc,” he said. “But not without a large amount of respect for our
competitor, they have a great product with a huge fan base. Don’t expect us to
be intimidated by sheer volume of sales though.”

In the first 24 hours alone, Modern Warfare 2 pulled in an estimated $310 million in North America
and the United Kingdom alone, selling 4.7 million copies.

“No matter what market or what products I’m a strong
believer that there’s always space for competition,” Troedsson said.
“It helps keep people on their toes and it helps drive development.”

Brian Crecente is managing editor of, a
video-game Web site owned by Gawker Media. Join in the discussion at Via McClatchy-Tribune News Service.