Infinity Ward’s most recent game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019), is an undeniably huge success. Filling the gap that gamers have been craving for years (a Call of Duty game that’s actually…good), there’s no wonder the game has done as well as it has.
Its battle-royale standalone counterpart Warzone (2020) has done just as fantastically, amassing a fan-base millions strong in the space of a few months.
One of the key reasons why these games have done so well is the care and attention Infinity Ward and its parent company Activision are providing. They’ve dished out countless updates, giving us new map rotations and other content. This means that players constantly find themselves with new stuff to play with.
However, there is a downside to all this bonus content: the size of the game. With an initial download of over 80 GB, Modern Warfare was never the daintiest of fellows, but all of the updates have taken a real toll.
Combining the base game with the map rotations, the battle passes, Warzone and the rest, the game now clocks in at well over 190 GB – and counting. Bear in mind, this is for a linear FPS; even Red Dead Redemption 2, with its expansive world and living, breathing NPCs only barely breaks 150 GB. You could install that and Skyrim (yet another enormously extensive free-roamer) and still have over 20 GB remaining before you reached Modern Warfare’s size.
These continuous updates have also earned the game a very special title: the largest PC game of all time. A feat big enough for an AAA RPG, but another thing altogether for what is, in essence, a basic shooter.
The question is, why? What reason could a game with no open world, skill-trees, quests, or even a real soundtrack have for being that hefty?
The short answer: no one really knows. The developers have addressed the issue, but it seems that a lot of what they’re saying is bluster.
The most recent update bought along some new customisation and a new map rotation. “2 GB worth of content, maybe?” I hear you ponder. Nope – according to Infinity Ward, the update is in need of 15 gigs of your precious, precious space. Better get clearing.
As well as doing a number on your hard drive, the constant installations have been driving even the most dedicated fans to distraction. Pessimistic at even the best of times, the Modern Warfare subreddit has become a veritable swamp of pure hatred. The posts are generally too explicit to include, but rest assured they convey the same message – Infinity Ward needs to sort itself out. Everyone likes new content, but no one likes their SSD spontaneously combusting.
Maybe, just maybe, if the content justified the size increases we’d be okay with it. Sure, there’d be complaints, but on the whole if there was an equivalent exchange of storage for content, no one would protest too strongly.
But the content isn’t even good. Map changes which give us the chance to play the worst maps ever (looking at you, Piccadilly), and of course, as Activision so boldly claim, updates that ‘fix long waits in matchmaking’. (Spoiler alert; they didn’t.)
Of course it’s easy to disparage the devs for this, but in truth the game they’ve made is genuinely good, even if a little rough around the edges. And maybe the updates are good; after all, Warzone was snuck in bit by bit via a series of small updates. Maybe that’s what’s happening again, we’re getting a big reveal – slice by slice. (*Cough* #CODZombies2020 *Cough*)
If it does turn out that this massive size is for nought though – if it comes to pass that Activision has “accidentally” made the largest game ever, there will be some explaining to do. Because, honestly, the updates don’t seem to be ending. Over the course of writing this, I just had to download another 200 MB worth. It’s ridiculous and, unless they get it sorted, one of two things will happen; fans will run out of storage, or they’ll run out of patience.
Words by Henry Elvidge.