Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
|Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3|
Cover art used for all territories
|Series||Call of Duty|
|Release date(s)||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (stylized as Call of Duty: MW3) is a first-person shooter video game, developed by Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games (Treyarch for the Wii version), with development assistance from Raven Software, and published by Activision. It is the third installment in the Modern Warfare saga, a direct sequel to 2009's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and the eighth Call of Duty installment. The game was released worldwide in November 2011 on Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii, with a separate version for Nintendo DS developed by n-Space. In Japan, Square Enix handled the installment with a separate subtitled and dubbed version, as they did for Call of Duty: Black Ops. It is also the last Call of Duty game for the Wii.
Using the MW3 engine, development for the game began in 2010 with more than one developer. Prior to development, Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella left the company to form Respawn Entertainment. Other members were fired and left the company following the departure of West and Zampella. Sledgehammer Games had joined the Modern Warfare 3 development force, with Raven Software also developing the game's multiplayer mode. Following a large leak containing detailed information about the game, multiple teaser trailers were released with each showcasing a location featured in the game's campaign.
The game's campaign follows Modern Warfare 2 and begins right after the events of its final mission. Similar to Modern Warfare 2, it is centered around the Task Force 141, which contains Captain Price, Soap MacTavish, and Yuri, one of the playable characters. Alongside the Delta Force and Special Air Service, they hunt Vladimir Makarov (antagonist of Modern Warfare 2), a Russian terrorist who leads the Russian Ultranationalist party. He leads several terror attacks across Europe, triggering a large-scale war between the Ultranationalists and friendly forces. For the game's multiplayer mode, new mode types and killstreak choices were brought in. Improvements were also made to the mode that solved issues that appeared in Modern Warfare 2.
Upon its release Modern Warfare 3 received generally positive reviews from critics. The game was also a commercial success. Within 24 hours of going on sale, the game sold 6.5 million copies in the U.S. and UK alone and grossed $400 million, making it the biggest entertainment launch of all time, until it was surpassed by Call of Duty: Black Ops II in November 2012.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Campaign
- 3 Development
- 4 Marketing
- 5 Release
- 6 Reception
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The player assumes the role of various characters during the single player campaign, changing perspectives throughout the progression of the story, which, like its predecessors, is divided into three sets of missions called "Acts". Each mission in an act featuring a series of objectives that are displayed on the heads up display, which marks the direction and distance between such objectives and the player. Damage to the player is shown by the visualization of blood-spatter or red-outs on the screen. The player's health regenerates over time as long as the player character avoids taking damage for a limited time. Mission objectives vary in their requirements, ranging from having the player arrive at a particular checkpoint, to eliminating enemies in a specified location, to standing their ground against enemy squadrons, directing remote-operated weapons, and planting explosive charges on enemy installations. The player is also accompanied by fellow soldiers who cannot be issued orders. Like its predecessor, the game includes an interactive scene of a terror attack against civilians, which the player is given the option of skipping due to the portrayal of graphic and potentially upsetting content, including harm to children.
Modern Warfare 3 features a new mode, called Survival. This mode allows between one and two players to fight endless waves of enemies, with each wave becoming increasingly difficult. It differs from the Nazi Zombies mode in Call of Duty: World at War, principally in that enemies no longer spawn at fixed locations like the zombies do, but instead appear at tactical positions based on the current location of the player. The mode is available on all multiplayer maps in the game. Players earn in-game cash for items such as weapons, upgrades, ammo, air/ground support and equipment. Special Ops also returns from Modern Warfare 2. These challenge missions feature up to 48 stars, unlike its previous installment, which featured 69. Some weapons in Spec Ops are exclusive to that game mode, and are not available for play in Multiplayer mode.
The entire Killstreak reward system has been altered to make it more difficult for players to get early unlocks. Killstreaks are now known as Pointstreaks, and kills are no longer the only way to increase the player's pointstreak. Completing objectives such as planting a bomb or capturing a flag in Capture The Flag awards points towards the player's Pointstreak. Pointstreak rewards are organized into three different "strike packages" called Assault, Support, and Specialist.
The Assault strike package works the same as the Killstreak reward system in Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops: the player must earn more and more points without dying. Once the player is killed, his or her points are reset to zero. Likewise, the Specialist strike package rewards players with perks after every second consecutive kill. Upon death, however, the player loses all the perks and the points are reset to zero. In contrast, the Support strike package are awarded based on the total points that the player has earned over the entire match, regardless of how often the player dies. It is important to note that if a player switches to a custom class with a different reward system (either assault or specialist) during game play, all points are automatically reset to 0. Players are allowed to choose which Pointstreak rewards they want to use when they gain it during the match, rather than choosing them between rounds.
Along with revamping the entire Killstreak reward system, Modern Warfare 3 also has a completely modified Ranking and Unlocks system, which does not use a currency system for unlocks. The player's primary weapon levels up alongside the player, and unlocks a number of "Proficiency" perks such as Attachments, (allows two attachments and is a successor to the "Bling" and "Warlord" perks), Kick (reduced recoil while aiming down the player's sight) and Focus (reduced flinching while under fire). Only one Proficiency can be put on a primary weapon. Another new addition is the ability to equip "Hybrid Scopes" on a weapon, such as a Reflex Sight a magnifier similar to an ACOG on the same weapon, and the player can switch between the scopes. Modern Warfare 3 introduces a new "Prestige Shop" which will unlock only after the player has selected the option to prestige for the first time. The "Prestige Shop" allows Prestige players to use tokens they gain from using the Prestige option to buy exclusive features such as double XP and an extra custom weapon class.
Several controversial perks in Modern Warfare 2, accused of being overpowered, have been removed in Modern Warfare 3. Diving from standing to prone, known as "dolphin diving", has been removed due to balancing issues. Modern Warfare 3 utilized Treyarch's hot fix system to fix bugs and glitches. Modern Warfare 3 features a local and online split-screen option. (Not available for the Wii version.)
New game modes were added:
- Kill Confirmed: players must collect floating dog tags from the corpse of a downed enemy before the kill can be registered. However, the opposing team can pick up the dog tag as well to deny the other team a kill. Which denies the other team a point.
- Team Defender: both teams attempt to capture a flag dropped by the first person who is killed when the match starts, the team of the person who holds the flag will get double points for their kills; while the team without the flag only gets the default amount per kill.
- Private matches also now include pre-made game modes including: "Infected" (where the infected kill enemies to recruit them to their team), "Drop Zone" (where the player must hold a drop zone for points and care packages), "Team Juggernaut" (each team plays alongside an AI Juggernaut character), "Gun Game" (be the first to get one kill with every gun in the game), "One in the Chamber" (in which players are only allowed one pistol with one bullet and three lives where they can only get more bullets by killing other players), and "Juggernaut" (free for all against a juggernaut, kill the juggernaut to become it). Along with this, players are allowed to create their own game modes with customized settings such as number of players and time limit.
The Special Ops game mode from Modern Warfare 2 is present in Modern Warfare 3, and includes new features which make it more replayable and similar to other game modes, such as Nazi Zombies from previous Call of Duty games, and Hordes from Gears of War. The two main Special Ops modes include one that is generally the same from the last Modern Warfare game, and a new wave based game, Survival, where the player is inserted into a multiplayer map alone or with a single partner and defends an area against waves of enemies. The players can buy support options unlocked with XP earned during each round.
Call of Duty: Elite
Call of Duty: Elite was an online service developed by Beachhead Studios for the multiplayer portion of Modern Warfare 3 (as well as the previous installment in the series, Black Ops). It was first showcased at E3 2011 and was released on November 8, 2011 to coincide with the release of Modern Warfare 3. The free version included features such as lifetime statistics and social-networking integration. It included monthly downloadable content. The service was shut down by Activision on February 28, 2014, and did not support Call of Duty: Ghosts.
The game sees the return of former Task Force 141 Cpt. John "Soap" MacTavish (voiced by Kevin McKidd), former S.A.S. Cpt. John Price (Billy Murray) and Russian informant "Nikolai", who are on the run after killing the rogue U.S. Army Lt. General Shepherd, the main antagonist of the previous game. However, for most of the game, the player will control Yuri (Brian Bloom), an ex-Spetsnaz, who joins Price on his hunt for Russian Ultranationalist leader Vladimir Makarov (Roman Varshavsky). Makarov returns as the game's main antagonist, and has a new contact named "Volk", a Russian bombmaker in Paris, France. Several new playable characters have been added, including: Delta Force operative Sgt. Derek "Frost" Westbrook; S.A.S. Sgt. Marcus Burns; and Andrei Harkov, a Russian federal security agent tasked with protecting the Russian President. Just like President Al-Fulani in the first game, Soap is only "playable" during the game's opening sequence; while Price becomes the player character in the game's final mission, Dust to Dust. The player also takes brief control of a civilian tourist in London, seconds before he and his family are killed by a chemical agent; as well as an AC-130 TV Operator during Team Metal's escape from Paris in the mission Iron Lady.
New non-player characters (NPCs) include: Delta Force operatives "Sandman" (William Fichtner), "Truck" (Idris Elba), and "Grinch" (Timothy Olyphant), who serve as Frost's squadmates. Captain MacMillan returns from Call of Duty 4 to provide the 141 with critical intelligence. Craig Fairbrass, who originally voiced the characters Gaz and Ghost, returns to voice SAS operative Sergeant Wallcroft, who originally had a minor role in the first Modern Warfare.
After General Shepherd's death, Price and Nikolai evacuate a critically wounded Soap to a Russian loyalist safe-house in Himachal Pradesh, but soon encounter forces sent by Makarov to kill them. Yuri, a man with a common grudge against Makarov, assists them in extracting from the region. Meanwhile, the war between Russia and the United States concludes when a four-man Delta Force team, call-signed Metal, manages to repel Russian Forces in New York City by blowing up the Russian broad spectrum jamming tower on top of the Wall Street Stock Exchange and hijacking a submarine to use its own ordnance on the Russian navy, forcing an emergency withdrawal from the East Coast.
Two months later, Makarov attacks a plane en route to Hamburg containing the Russian President, Boris Vorshevsky, to derail Vorshevsky's planned peace treaty with the United States. Members of the F.S.O. attempt to secure Vorshevsky into a helicopter, but are killed by Makarov and his men. Makarov reveals his plans to the Russian president—he intends to have Russia dominate Europe, using the country's nuclear arsenal as a show of force. When Vorshevsky refuses to give over the nuclear launch codes, Makarov targets his daughter, Alena, to force his hand. Makarov subsequently has chemical bombs transported from Sierra Leone to Europe to ensure his plan succeeds, which are planted and detonated into every major city in NATO affiliated countries on the continent, despite the efforts of an SAS team trying to prevent it from happening in London.
The attacks cripple the intelligence networks and special forces bases in Europe, allowing the Russians to invade much of the continent, which in turn prompts the U.S. to send in counter-attack forces. During this, Price's team get a lead from his former commanding officer leading them to Somalia, and learn through torturing the leader of a terrorist group the identity of the bomb maker as Volk, the CEO of Fregata Industries who transported the bombs. After Metal receives the location from Price, they manage to capture Volk in Paris with the help of GIGN and other U.S. forces, though the battle causes the Eiffel Tower to collapse.
Metal also assists Price in finding Makarov's location, leading them to Prague. With the assistance of loyalist Russian forces and Czech partisans, Price's team attempts to assassinate Makarov, but an aware Makarov thwarts the attempt, attempting to kill Price and his men, mortally wounding Soap as a result. Soap succumbs to his wounds despite efforts by Price to get him medical attention, but not before passing onto Price that Yuri is known by Makarov. An enraged Price forces Yuri, at gunpoint, to reveal how. Yuri was a former ultranationalist who worked alongside Makarov in Pripyat when they helped evacuate Imran Zakhaev after the assassination attempt on him. He thought he was following a good cause until the nuclear disaster in the Middle East sickened him. He leaked information about Makarov that caused Makarov to shoot him and leave him for dead just before the airport massacre in Moscow. Yuri's guilt-ridden vengeance barely convinces Price in maintaining their alliance.
After infiltrating Makarov's castle headquarters near Prague, and learning of the state of President Vorshevsky's captivity, Price alerts Metal that Alena has been discovered at a safehouse in Berlin. Though Alena is abducted before Metal can rescue her, the chopper she is taken in is tracked back to Vorshevsky's location. Metal leads a joint task force with Price and Yuri to a Siberian diamond mine where they manage to rescue the Vorshevsky family, but the mine then collapses. Metal operatives Sandman, Grinch, and Truck sacrifice themselves and stay behind in the collapsing mine to ensure that Price, Yuri, and the Vorshevskys can escape. With the Russian president secured, all Russian forces are ordered to withdraw from Europe, thus ending the hostility between the United States and Russia.
Three months later, Price and Yuri finally manage to track down Makarov to a hotel in the Arabian peninsula of the Middle East. Armed with heavy equipment, the pair assault the hotel and reach the top floor as Makarov awaits his helicopter extraction. When Yuri is injured, he urges Price to continue on his own, and Price manages to crash Makarov's helicopter into the hotel's atrium. Makarov prepares to execute Price with a Desert Eagle, but an intervention by Yuri, which sees him killed by Makarov, allows Price to gain the upper hand and kill Makarov by tying a steel cable around his neck and forcing him through the glass roof of the hotel, hanging the ruthless terrorist. While the local police force arrive, Price smokes a cigar in victory.
A 2010 Q3 earnings call from Activision confirmed that the eighth installment of the franchise was currently in development by Sledgehammer Games and Raven Software and due for release "during the back half of 2011". This was revealed to be Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, with the latter developers co-developing multiplayer. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was known to be in development after a legal dispute between Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella and Activision resulted in the pair being fired from the company. Several dozen Infinity Ward employees followed West and Zampella as a result of the ongoing dispute, causing Activision to enlist the services of Sledgehammer Games and Raven Software to assist development of the title. The game was said to have been in development since only two weeks after the release of their previous game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Also reported was that Sledgehammer was aiming for a "bug free" first outing in the Call of Duty franchise, and also set a goal for Metacritic review scores above 95 percent. Modern Warfare 3 utilizes the MW3 Engine, unofficially the IW 5.0 Engine. Improvements include better streaming and audio. Sledgehammer Games announced the game to be the first entry in the Modern Warfare series to have built-in support for color-blind gamers.
The Official UK PlayStation Magazine lent credence to speculation that Modern Warfare 3 would be a prequel starring fan favourite character Ghost. The magazine's sources strengthened a rumor which first reared its head online early in January 2011. On the Rumor Machine page in its issue (055), OPM points to "insider whispers" which suggest: "Infinity Ward's next Modern Warfare title will be a prequel, with Ghost in the lead role." According to PSM3, the first snippet of Modern Warfare 3 gameplay would be revealed in mid-April. According to the publication's May 2011 issue, insider rumors say "the next in Activision's megaton FPS series will be announced in mid-April".
On May 13, 2011, video game website Kotaku revealed the existence of Modern Warfare 3 following a massive leak. According to Kotaku, this leak came from multiple sources who may or may not work at Activision and Infinity Ward. The leak contained thorough information about the game, confirming that it would be a direct sequel to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, as well details regarding weapons, levels and modes found in the game. In response to the leaks, Robert Bowling tweeted "A lot of hype & a lot of leaked info on MW3, some still accurate, some not. To avoid spoiling the experience, I'd wait for the real reveal." Just hours after the leaked assets appeared on Kotaku, four teaser trailers were released on the official Call of Duty YouTube page, separately titled "America", "England", "France" and "Germany", indicating the various locales of the game.
On May 23, 2011, Activision released the first gameplay trailer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 on YouTube ahead of its official premiere during the NBA Western Conference Finals. On May 31, 2011, Activision announced Call of Duty: Elite, a new social service for the Call of Duty community to track and compare statistics, create videos and access premium content. The service is fully integrated into Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, and launched on November 8, 2011 to coincide with the game's release. On June 6, 2011, at 11:00 AM (PDT), the first live gameplay demo of Modern Warfare 3 was presented by Robert Bowling and Glen Schofield at E3 2011. On June 14, 2011, 12:35 PM (EST), the first live gameplay demo of the new Survival Mode was played by Jimmy Fallon and Simon Pegg on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. On August 9, 2011, the trailer for the new Survival Mode was released on YouTube. On September 2, 2011, the multiplayer world premiere trailer was released on YouTube. On September 3, 2011, another multiplayer trailer was released on YouTube showing off the heads-up display along with various weapons, perks, and killstreaks. On October 6, 2011, a second full-length cinematic trailer was released. On October 22, 2011, the launch trailer was released.
On July 19, 2011, UK distributor Lygo's unveiled a range of Turtle Beach Ear Force Modern Warfare 3 gaming headsets that launched in November 2011. The headsets are distinguished by custom audio presets designed by the audio teams at developers Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games "in order to provide the ultimate immersion into the cinematic world of Modern Warfare 3". On August 24, 2011, Activision revealed the official Modern Warfare 3 sunglasses. These Call of Duty-branded glasses come from technology eyewear manufacturer GUNNAR – in a licensed partnership with Activision – and join its "Advanced Gaming Eyewear" line. They come with a limited edition Modern Warfare 3 carrying case and cleaning cloth. The product is sold exclusively in North America at Best Buy retail locations and at select European retailers. Microsoft released two limited-edition Modern Warfare 3-themed accessories on October 11, 2011, a wireless controller and a wireless headset. On September 29, 2011, Munitio announced a partnership with Activision in order to make a special edition Modern Warfare 3 9 mm "billet" earphone featuring the Modern Warfare 3 logo, among other things. The earphones were available for pre-order and were released on October 23, 2011. On October 18, 2011, Logitech announced a partnership with Activision in order to make a special edition Modern Warfare 3 mouse and keyboard which feature many things, including the Modern Warfare 3 logo.
On September 2, 2011, Jeep announced a partnership with Activision for the second year in a row, to make a special edition Modern Warfare 3 Jeep based on the Wrangler Rubicon model. The Jeep comes with various features including the interior and exterior being designed with a Modern Warfare 3 theme. Jeep dealers started selling this model in November 2011.
On August 24, 2011, the PepsiCo-owned brand Mountain Dew officially announced on their Facebook page that they would be promoting the game with their "Game Fuel" soda variants, which would be cherry-citrus-flavored (the original Game Fuel that promoted Halo 3 in 2007 and brought back in 2009 to promote World of Warcraft) and Tropical-flavored (a new flavor that was tested by 500 Dew Labs members). The drinks featured codes to give the player double experience points in-game, depending on the size of the drink. Another PepsiCo-owned brand, Doritos, promoted the game with its "Cool Ranch" and "Nacho Cheese" flavors and also followed the same rules as the Mountain Dew promotion. Both promotions started on October 10, 2011 and ended on December 31, 2011. In Australia, 500 ml cans of V Energy Drink have been branded with the Modern Warfare 3 logo, along with a branded code which can be used for downloads and previews.
To promote the game, Activision held a two-day event called Call of Duty: Experience 2011 (Call of Duty: XP for short) which took place in Los Angeles from September 2–3, 2011. It featured many things including the reveal of the new multiplayer which attendees were able to play for the first time. In addition, all attendees received the Hardened Edition for free as a gift for attending. At a Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 VIP party in Amsterdam, Dutch porn star and avid fan of the series Kim Holland was originally invited to attend the event until she was suddenly uninvited when Activision discovered her profession. In her blog, she shared her opinion and feelings towards Activision's sudden decision: "People murdering people is neat, [...] but love-makers are dirty?" she wrote. Activision did not respond to any comments about the subject.
Activision had planned to set up an official website to promote the game, however the domain name "ModernWarfare3.com" had already been taken and was used for an anti-Call of Duty website and redirecting users to Electronic Arts's game Battlefield 3. Activision filed a US$2,600 complaint against the site with the National Arbitration Forum. On September 8, 2011, Activision won the complaint and acquired the rights to the domain name. In November 2011, actors Jonah Hill and Sam Worthington (who voiced the main character Alex Mason in Black Ops, the previous game to Modern Warfare 3), and NBA athlete Dwight Howard starred in commercials advertising the game.
Two weeks before the release of the game, it was reported that half of the PC version had been uploaded online after being stolen from a warehouse in Fresno, California. Investigators working on behalf of Activision have been searching torrent websites for traces of the game as well as visiting people who had downloaded a copy across the United States and requesting that they remove it or they will face a fine of US$5,000.
As early as late October, reports were already surfacing about copies being sold early to people with gameplay videos uploaded online. On November 3, 2011, it was reported that copies of the game were already being sold early in the United States. K-Mart had already started selling copies of the game before its scheduled release date with copies already appearing on eBay and Craigslist. This was due to an error made by one the shipping companies that told K-mart to sell copies of the game immediately after receiving the shipments. However, Activision contacted K-mart about this and had the issue resolved.
French site TF1 News reported that a truck suffered a collision with a car on November 6, 2011 in Créteil, south Paris, before two masked individuals emerged from the car. The criminals reportedly used tear gas to neutralise the truck drivers before hopping in and making off with the video game shipment said to be worth 400,000 Euros. A separate report said the truck contained a delivery of 6000 copies of Modern Warfare 3.
Shortly after the game's release, a man from Aurora, Colorado who did not receive a copy of the game at his local Best Buy, despite pre-ordering it, claimed to be so angry that he "could blow this place up". He was also reported as having threatened to shoot employees once they left the store. Lomon Sar, age 31, was issued a citation and court summons by police responding to the disturbance.
Modern Warfare 3 was released in two different retail versions across the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms: Standard and Hardened. The standard version consists of the game and an instructional manual, and is the only version available for the Microsoft Windows platform. Contents within the Hardened Edition include the game disc with "unique art", one year membership to Call of Duty: Elite, "special founder status" on Call of Duty: Elite which includes an exclusive in-game emblem, playercard, weapon camouflage, clan XP boost, and more exclusive benefits, premium collectible Steelbook case, exclusive animated timeline theme for PS3 only, exclusive Spec Ops Juggernaut Xbox Live avatar outfit for Xbox 360 only, and a limited edition, collectible field journal, which chronicles "the entire saga with 100+ pages of authentic military sketches, diagrams, and written entries."
Robert Bowling of Infinity Ward confirmed that there will be no Prestige Edition of Modern Warfare 3. In the past, the Prestige editions of previous Call of Duty games have included physical items such as a remote-controlled car for Black Ops, and a pair of night vision goggles and a life-sized plastic head to put them on for Modern Warfare 2.
On August 19, 2011, UK retailer Game announced an Intel Pack of Modern Warfare 3. It comes with a British special forces avatar for both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions, as well as a Brady strategy guide. On September 3, 2011, Activision and Microsoft jointly announced a special, limited Modern Warfare 3 version of the Xbox 360 with a 320GB hard disk. The unit is designed by the Call of Duty team and includes two custom wireless controllers, a copy of Modern Warfare 3 and features custom sounds when the console is turned on/off or when the disc tray is ejected. A one-month subscription to Xbox Live Gold is also included, as well as exclusive avatar items.
Sales and revenue
Activision has said that it believes Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 day-one shipments were the largest for any game ever. "The record number of pre-orders from Modern Warfare 3 drove the largest day-one shipments in our history, and in the industry's history," said Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg during an earnings call on November 8, 2011. Hirshberg said more than 1.5 million people queued at 13,000 shops at midnight on Monday to buy Modern Warfare 3, "making it the largest retail release in Activision's history and in the industry's history".
Activision reported sales figures for Modern Warfare 3 in the U.S. and UK being more than 6.5 million copies sold on launch day and grossed $400 million in the US and UK alone in its first 24 hours, making it the biggest entertainment launch of all time. It is the third year in a row that the Call Of Duty series has broken the same record. 2010's Black Ops grossed $360 million on day one; in 2009, Modern Warfare 2 brought in $310 million. Activision Blizzard president and CEO Robert Kotick stated that "the launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is the biggest entertainment launch of all time in any medium, and we [Activision] achieved this record with sales from only two territories."
The title grossed more than $775 million globally in its first five days of availability, exceeding the $650 million record set by 2010s Call of Duty: Black Ops and the $550 million one achieved by 2009's Modern Warfare 2. To be exact, it has beaten theatrical box office, book, and video game sales records for five-day worldwide sell-through in dollars.
According to NPD Group, Modern Warfare 3 was November's biggest selling game of the month in the U.S. Modern Warfare 3 sales surpassed first-month sales of 2010s Black Ops by 7 percent, and sales for November sit at around the 9 million unit mark. In November 2013, IGN confirmed that Modern Warfare 3 sold 28.5 million copies, becoming the highest selling game in the Call of Duty series.
Modern Warfare 3 topped the UK video game sales chart in its first week, becoming the biggest video game launch in history by revenue. By November 21, 2011, the game remained the bestselling title in the United Kingdom, despite sales dropping by 87%. Modern Warfare 3 held the top spot on the UK charts for four weeks running. It was replaced by The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in its fifth week on the market.
The PlayStation 3 version of Modern Warfare 3 also topped the Japanese chart in its first week on sale, shifting 180,372 copies, while the Xbox 360 version sold around 30,000.
Modern Warfare 3 received positive reviews from critics. At review aggregator site Metacritic, the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game received an average critic score of 88/100, based on 39 critics for the PS3 version and 88 critics for the 360 version. The PC version received a score of 78/100, based on 26 reviews, and the Wii version received a score of 70/100, based on 16 reviews.
The Daily Telegraph gave the game's Xbox 360 version 5 stars out of 5, stating that even as "the series has always been renowned for elements like the excellent sound design, the gloss, polish and compulsion of its gameplay," it is "a game that not only lives up to the brand hype but exceeds it. A game where the mass appeal is justified, and the expectations are met." Gaming Evolution gave the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions a 9.0 out of 10, stating "Modern Warfare 3 lives up to the hype. It is proving itself the one of the best FPS the genre has to offer." IGN gave the game's Xbox 360 version a 9.0 out of 10.0, pointing out that the game offers "great multiplayer, [a] fun campaign, tons of content, but [also] a forgettable story."
GameSpot qualifies its review, stating that "the series' signature thrills have lost some of their luster. Modern Warfare 3 iterates rather than innovates, so the fun you have is familiar", but concludes by affirming that "fortunately, [the game is] also utterly engrossing and immensely satisfying, giving fans another reason to rejoice in this busy shooter season". Eurogamer gave the game an 8/10 noting that it is a "ferocious and satisfying game that knows exactly what players expect, and delivers on that promise with bullish confidence" but with "an outmoded single-player campaign".
Reviews for the Wii version of the game have been less favorable. IGN rated it only 4.5 out of 10, blaming the lacking graphics and poor friend code system for bringing it down.
Modern Warfare 3 received the Best Shooter award at the 2011 Spike Video Game Awards. At the Interactive Achievement Awards or DICE awards, Modern Warfare 3 won the award for Action Game of the Year and was nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Online Gameplay, Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design and Outstanding Achievement in Connectivity.
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