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Newest ‘Call of Duty’ Game Shoots to Break Entertainment Records

Modern Warfare 3 Screen Shot - H 2011

Modern Warfare 3 is expected to sell over 20 million copies this year alone

NEW YORK CITY – Activision has been building up the hype for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, since its lavish, multi-million dollar fan festival in Playa Vista, CA this past September, Call of Duty XP. Come midnight tonight, the wait is finally over for gamers. And analysts expect the newest Call of Duty game to break Harry Potter’s record for the biggest entertainment launch ever, as well as eclipse the game records Activision established last year with Call of Duty: Black Ops.

“I think every serious gamer will probably buy Modern Warfare 3,” said John Taylor, video game analyst for Arcadia Research.

Although Activision is shipping its first-person shooter two weeks after Electronic Arts’ Battlefield 3, sales for Modern Warfare 3 are expected to double EA’s critically praised shooter. EA shipped 10 million copies of Battlefield 3 and sold through 5 million copies in its first week at retail worldwide.

“Activision should sell 20 million copies of Modern Warfare 3 globally this year alone,” said Taylor, who believes the Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games title could sell another 5 million or more copies worldwide in 2012. 

Activision has once again taken advantage of its close proximity to Hollywood with its newest Call of Duty game. Modern Warfare 3 features the voice talent of some very recognizable actors.

“The line-up of guys that are in Modern Warfare 3Timothy Olyphant, Bruce Greenwood, Billy Murray…it’s pretty amazing,” said William Fichtner (Phantom), who plays the Sandman in the new game. “And you know what, the game’s worthy of it. You should go for who you think might be the best person to play these characters because the bottom line is these games are successful.”

While Fichtner has gone virtual in the past with Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Greenwood (Flight) was new to gaming.

“I was only familiar with video games in the most peripheral way because I don’t play them and they just didn’t penetrate my world,” said Greenwood, who plays the Overlord in the new game. “I didn’t know jack about games and as soon as I got introduced to them, I realized, ‘No wonder it’s so intoxicating.’”

Activision enlisted Hollywood composer Brian Tyler (The Expendables 2) to score the new game. Part of his job required playing the game over and over again, which was just fine for the lifelong gamer.

“There’s so much action going on in Modern Warfare 3 like the sequence in the London underground and the helicopter chase in New York City and the boats,” said Tyler. “Some of the battles almost remind me, because there are so many things going on at once, of the end of Return of the Jedi. You’re looking at these shots and there’s stuff going on everywhere. You’re just part of this huge melee and it feels big. It just feels like you’re really dropped into this incredible apocalyptic battle.”

It’s that type of Hollywood escapism that analysts believe will propel Modern Warfare 3 to new highs. The past few Call of Duty games have each topped global sales of $1 billion. And despite the poor economy, gamers have been saving up for this latest shooter.

“I don't believe the state of the economy has had much of an impact on video games,” said Jesse Divnich, video game analyst, EEDAR. “During the first recession in the late 2000's, our industry consistently grew. And Modern Warfare 3 offers over 30 hours of gameplay for $60, which is a much better entertainment deal than a Hollywood movie.”

Expect the new game to impact more than just box office records. With a large portion of the world engaging in online Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer, more gamers might put off going to the movie theater for a few weekends in favor of staying home to play.