Sony’s State of Play yesterday revealed that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare‘s Spec Ops Survival mode is a timed PlayStation 4 exclusive. “Play first on PS4,” read the image in the new Modern Warfare trailer. It’s not unusual for content to release first on consoles before becoming available elsewhere. However, the fine print hid a particular surprise: Spec Ops Survival mode will stay exclusive on the PS4 for almost an entire year. This means Xbox and PC owners won’t be able to experience the mode until Oct. 1, 2020. The internet has not responded well.
To be clear, it’s only the Survival mode that will be withheld on other platforms. All owners of Modern Warfare will have access to the campaign, as well as Spec Ops and multiplayer, a representative told GameSpot. Activision called it an “exciting Day 1 advantage.” I imagine players are feeling some emotion to this latest news, but I don’t think I’d label it “excited.”
Spec Ops mode is not new to the franchise. Call of Duty games including Modern Warfare 2 and Modern Warfare 3 have included it. Spec Ops is a co-op mode where players of all skills could work together to finish missions. Missions in the mode are at times influenced by a particular game’s campaign or could be a completely separate story. In the new Modern Warfare, Spec Ops missions will have some sort of tie-in with the game’s campaign. Spec Ops Survival, in prior games, usually tasks players with surviving (oh, really) during insurmountable odds. Think Horde Mode in Gears of War.
The one-year Modern Warfare Survival mode exclusivity deal hasn’t sat well with many players. Content getting barred from games for a period of time has slowly become more common — of course, that doesn’t make it okay. But this is a long stretch of time for an exclusivity deal; waiting for a year is ridiculous. Many players on the internet have voiced their concerns. Reddit users have been particularly vocal on the exclusivity agreement.
Infinity Ward studio narrative director Taylor Kurosaki has been tackling concerns about Survival mode on Twitter. In a reply to one Twitter reply, he wrote, “There are decisions made above all of our pay grades that have to be considered. I understand your feelings, but this is much better than others I have seen.”
Up to you, I respect your decision. We do our BEST every day to give our players the best experience possible. There are decisions that are above all of our pay grades that have to be considered. I understand your feelings, but this is much better than others I have seen.
— Taylor Kurosaki (@taylorkurosaki) September 24, 2019
“We have tried our best to have an open dialogue with our players from day one,” Kurosaki continued in a later reply. “We understand letting that trust down. These are complicated decisions that are above our pay grade. Please know we want what’s best for all our players.”
No doubt the debate will continue even after Call of Duty: Modern Warfare launches on Oct. 1. Time will tell if Infinity Ward will listen to concerns regarding Spec Ops Survival mode, but history has proven otherwise.