Activision really, really wants PC gamers to enjoy Modern Warfare 3.
PC gamers have another reason to be excited about the upcoming Modern Warfare 3, as Infinity Ward's creative strategist Robert Bowling has confirmed that the game will support LAN play, as well as other features useful for competitive play.
Posting on Twitter, Bowling said that as well as LAN support, Modern Warfare 3 would also feature "detailed class restriction control," and "default class creation option." This, when combined with the full support for player-run dedicated servers, makes MW3 a very - and perhaps unusually - PC friendly game. Activision seems to have pulled a real u-turn over the Modern Warfare games. MW2 wasn't anti-PC, per se, but Infinity Ward did not go out of its way to optimise it for the platform. But for MW3, Infinity Ward seems to be bending over backwards to stuff as many PC-specific features into the game as it can.
Perhaps I'm just being cynical here, but I can't help but feel that this is less about making Modern Warfare 3 seem more appealing, and more about making Activision seem more appealing. It's hard to see the game getting any major benefit from having LAN support - at least not from a sales point of view - but the benefit to Activision itself might be a lot more significant. Both Dan Amrich and Eric Hirshberg, Activision's social media guru and publishing CEO respectively, have both talked about ways to repair Activision's reputation among hardcore gamers, and I wouldn't be surprised if this is one of the ways the publisher intends to do it.
In my mind, there are two questions to ask. The first is whether this is a sincere effort to build bridges with the gaming community, or if the intention is just to appear more soft and fuzzy than in the past. The second is whether or not it matters if gamers are benefiting either way.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 comes out for PC, PS3, Wii, and Xbox 360 on November 8th.