Activision Blizzard publishing CEO Mike Griffith promised more than twice as many Activision-branded music games in 2009 in today's earnings call, while also revealing their next "James Bond" title has been moved into next year, and Blizzard declared an intention to release a game this year. Read More...

"It's been a great high for the last couple of weeks," Daniel Suarez, Activision's executive producer for "Call of Duty: World At War" told me in an interview last week. Happy is any man whose game has launched so well that it topped -- his words -- the "bajillion pound gorilla" that is "World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King" in sales in the U.K in its launch week.

Suarez and I talked about a number of things during out interview, some of which I've covered here on Multiplayer this week -- plans for upcoming DLC for the game and where the game's surprising Nazi Zombie mode came from.

The first topic of my interview, however, was how the development team at Treyarch dealt with making a game in the shadow of "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare." That was the bajillion-pound gorilla as far as I was concerned.

It's not every year that a development team puts out a game that so many critics don't expect to be better than last year's installment. How do you deal with that pressure? Read More...

We know Activision Blizzard loves sequels.

Just moments ago, the publisher revealed a slate of follow-ups coming this year at an Massive Inc. upfront attended by Stephen Totilo.

An upfront is where publishers showcase their upcoming lineup to advertisers and are a new practice for games. Upfronts occur every year for TV and movies.

This event is being held in downtown Manhattan to get advertisers pumped to buy more ads in games. Massive is a Microsoft-owned firm that did the Barack Obama ad in "Burnout Paradise."

At the meeting, Activision Blizzard showcased new games that would make sense for in-game ads, including the vaguely titled "Guitar Hero 5," which included a screen shot of gameplay with a Burger King ad to the right of the note highway.

The publisher confirmed rumors that "Tony Hawk" will be different this year. "You're not going to be playing this game with a controller in your hands," said the company. The new "Tony Hawk" arrives on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and DS in October.

Additionally, Activision Blizzard acknowledged the "Call of Duty" series will move forward yet again with "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" coming this fall. No details on the game were released.

We've also heard rumors that Bizarre Creations was working on a racing-oriented "James Bond" game, which have turned out to be true. The original Bond adventure, not tied to a movie storyline, is coming this September. The former "Project Gotham Racing" studio is also working on an original racing IP for the publisher, which they tagged as "'Mario Kart' meets 'Forza.'"

Curiously, the lineup included absolutely no Blizzard Entertainment games.

If any more news breaks from the Massive Inc. upfront, we'll let you know.

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Get ready for a twist, "Call of Duty" fans.

Even though the new "Call of Duty: World At War" is succeeding with consumers and critics by sticking to the successful adrenaline-fueled formula of its franchise predecessor, new downloadable content coming to the game in 2009 will represent a break from 2007's "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare."

How much of a break from the "Modern Warfare" DLC will it be? Read More...

"Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare" was one of the most lauded titles of last year, and as expected, the game still has a loyal playerbase.

But with the release of "Call of Duty: World at War," only one year after "Modern Warfare," will you make the switch to the new game, or will you stick with "Modern Warfare"? Or perhaps you'll juggle both?

"Call of Duty" players, let us know where your loyalties lie and what you plan to do tomorrow!

Related Posts:
What We're NOT Playing (Sorry 'Quantum of Solace' and 'Call of Duty… 4'?)
How The Japanese Enemies In 'Call of Duty: World At War' Fight
Why The 'Call of Duty' Military Advisor Said He’d Punch Me

cod4.jpgSince releasing the "Variety Map Pack" via Xbox Live on April 4, more than one million consumers have spent 800 Microsoft Points ($10) purchasing new combat arenas for "Call of Duty 4," Activision announced in a press release this morning.

Activision and Infinity Ward have a seemingly unstoppable juggernaut on their hand with "Call of Duty 4," and you'd be hard pressed to find signs of slowing down.

During that same period -- April 4 through April 12 -- gamers apparently logged 30 million matches and a cumulative total of 32 million hours of online gameplay.

"Call of Duty 4"'s closest competitor, "Halo 3," has not traditionally issued releases touting map pack sales. That hasn't occurred with "Halo 3"'s "Heroic" or "Legendary" digital map bundles.

The "Variety Map Pack" arrives on the PlayStation Network this Thursday for $9.99. Readers, how many of you are still playing "Call of Duty 4"? Do you even want to play another game?

Mark Grigsby and Sgt Griggs of COD4(Below is part of my latest GameFile column about the rap song in "Call of Duty 4." For the full thing, check out

It's a big week for "Call of Duty 4." And it's a big week for songs that play when video game credits roll.

So shouldn't it be a big week for Mark Grigsby?

Don't know him? You might be more familiar with him than you realize. Grigsby was the lead animator on "Call of Duty 4," a game that sold 7 million copies in 2007, according to publisher Activision. One of its characters, Staff Sergeant Griggs, is voiced by Grigsby. And the song that plays when the credits roll ... Grigsby rapped that.

Yes, it's a big week for "Call of Duty 4." The game was a sales blockbuster and a critical hit and is being re-released in a "Game of the Year" special edition. And this week is historic for end-of-game songs because the list of downloadable bonus tracks for MTV's music game, "Rock Band," is being fattened by the addition of the end-credits hit from last year's "Portal": Jonathan Coulton's "Still Alive." That's right: A video game song was so compelling that it's being released as a song for people to perform together with drums, guitar and mic. "Still Alive," a cultural phenomenon since it was first heard, is just that big with gamers.

Despite all this, there hasn't been much discussion about Grigsby's "Call of Duty 4" rap. Surely millions of people have heard his song. But what's the story behind it?

Check out the rest of this column at

Call Of Duty 4An option for Multiplayer readers who live in the New York City Area: The surprisingly bright, recently refurbished GameStop at 33rd and Broadway is hosting a "First To Play" party tonight for "Call of Duty 4" fans. The event will give gamers an early hands-on with the game's new map pack before it is widely avaialble for download next week.

The event runs fom 9PM-midnight and include gameplay contests that may net one fan $1000 in store credit. The game's community manager and military adviser are both expected to be on hand. Also, promised to be there: food and drink.

The event is also the kick-off for the "Call of Duty 4: Game Of The Year Edition," which ships next week. That edition won't be available for purchase, but I've been told that tokens for the map packs will be given out.

GOGOTY Mash-Up -- Apologies To Acitivision, Nintendo and 2K(UPDATE: More Outlets Added)

Are you also tired about reading other people's 2007 Game Of The Year lists?

Do you yearn to learn something of greater significance?

Well then I'd like to tell you what the Game Of The Game Of The Year is for 2007. See, in gaming, all accolades are measured as averages. So it is with Metacritic. So it is with the GOTGOTY. It matters not what any single outlet chose as the 2007 Game Of They Year winner was. It matters what, on average, they picked as GOTY.

You will find that out below. And then you will commend us on the wisdom of this new system.

So never mind that everyone isn't done naming their GOTYs. I am sorry, Game Developers Choice awards, but I can't wait until late February. I apologize, Interactive Achievement Awards. Early February is too soon as well. My best wishes to the Game Critics Game Of The Year Awards, for which even I participated. EGM, I'm sure you'll announce your winners someday.

But time's up and the law of averages is kicking in.

So, which 2007 video game was awarded GOTY status the most times? It was a close call...


Master ChiefThis is the first in a series of posts about the games I played and/or finished for fun for the first time in 2007. For comparisons' sake, see my 2006 list.

I played 21 Xbox 360 games for fun in 2007. I finished seven of them.

My 360 whirred loudly for 21 games and, thankfully, never red-ringed. None of the 21 was a sports or racing game. Ten were first-person shooters, but that's not my problem. That's an issue for humanitarian Bill Gates, whose machine is the Charlton Heston of gaming consoles.

And these were just the games I played for personal amusement. I played many more at press events, at E3, at Game Developers Conference and a few in my dreams. I also played a bunch of Xbox Live Arcade games, but let's save that for a later post.

Here's my list, and, please, tell me what you think of how I spent my Xbox 360 year. Did I micro-manage my 360 time right?

My Xbox 360 Games I Played For Fun 2007 Playlist
(Games I finished are in italics)

1) "Assassin's Creed"

I'm still playing this one. In fact it's the final Xbox 360 game in my 2007 must-play stack, which is a different plastic hill than the gotta-try-these stack that includes "Kane & Lynch," "Overlord" and "Shadowrun." Interesting (?) aside: "Assassin's" presented me with the game-reporter's occasional problem. I liked it enough to play a few hours of it on a pre-released disc, then, wanted to finish it on the version sold in stores. That required me to start the game over from scratch, re-playing the first three levels of the game. And other people think the game was repetitive for them?


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