New York Yankees Of First-Person Shooters Welcomes Negative Feedback

I couldn't get Robert Bowling to use the words Battlefield 3 in a sentence.

He's an Infinity Ward guy, which means he's a Call of Duty and Modern Warfare guy. And I guess that means that, in public, he's not going to try to talk about Battlefield 3, the latest taste-test challenge to the mighty CoD, to a pesky reporter.

After we played some pre-release Modern Warfare 3 together, I told him about the hate I see for his series. Every time we write about your games, we have hordes of Battlefield 3 fans attacking Modern Warfare 3 in the comments below our articles. They root for its failure. Surely, I asked Bowling, you get that too?

"Any game that has two very different audiences, you're going to see it," he told me. "Every game has its passionate userbase. We see it from everybody."

But is it annoying?

"I wouldn't say it's annoying. It's what it is. It's what games have been forever."

Call of Duty is on top. It's Goliath. It's the New York Yankees. It's LeBron James going into the NBA Finals. Bowling says the franchise has 30 million fans to please, and counting. That's the kind of popularity that spawns competition and hate. I wanted to know from Bowling what it feels like to be in that position, what it feels like to have people preparing to cheer if you fall.

It's helpful to get the hate, Bowling told me.

"We may have the number one selling game," he said. "We may have, at times, the number one most played game. So it's very easy to sit back and say. 'We've done our jobs perfectly. We have the best game ever created. Look at the numbers.' But then you can get online and have people kick dirt in your face constantly every day about anything that they may not like about the game. It allows you to have a gut check and a perspective that this is where we still need to go. This is work that we still need to do."

Where do people kick dirt on his face? Twitter. He says joining Twitter "was the best thing I've ever done from a development standpoint" for just this reason. "It allows you to not rest on acclaim alone, whether critical or commercial, and makes you realise that there are still audiences out there that want to enjoy your games that may not even play shooters, that may not be into the type of game you make. You can look at that and find ways to introduce them into the experience." He cited MW3's co-op Survival Mode as an example of the kind of franchise improvement made because of heat on Twitter. It is designed to give single-player Modern Wardare fans a way to experience the franchise's multiplayer perks by including them in a relatively safe horde mode.

But those Battlefield 3 fans... they are such a consistently fiery and vocal bunch that I wonder about them. They seem marshalled to dog Modern Warfare in ways that won't necessarily spawn a new gameplay mode for Modern Warfare 4 or whatever. Shortly before Bowling and I were chatting, news had come out that www.modernwarfare3.com was re-directing to Battlefield.com (It doesn't anymore). No reaction?

A public relations person from Activision jumped in to point out that Battlefield publisher EA was not behind that. I turned to Bowling once more. Nothing more to say about these Battlefield folks?

"They are passionate."


Comments

    I have pre-ordered both. I think the Modern Warfare 3 single player will most likely be more fun than Battlefield 3 but the multiplayer in Battlefield 3 will be much more rewarding and exciting.

    Or maybe its the fact they ground a franchise into the ground, treated everyone like shit, and turned it into 'something'.

    Sure their 'something' will succeed but it aint the COD we remember, Battlefield fills that gap now.

    Youre the guys who put all the numbers on your hud, youre the ones who didnt beta test your stuff.

    We were the ones who bought it, got sick of cheaters, your stupid idea of business and left.

    You got a nice bunch of fifteen year olds though, they sure swear up a storm and show us all new ways to aim bot.

    I will be playing both, but the BF3 boosters/MW detractors that show up in any thread related to MW can be pretty obnoxious.

    It’s LeBron James going into the NBA Finals.
    But whenever LeBron gets to the NBA finals he chokes! Bad bad choice of words there. Really looking forward to CoD getting at least part of the spotlight taken away from it with BF3

    Activision are total cash cows, howcome the call of duty games aren't platinum? I know they want more money but seriously . Bad company 2 is platinum, mw2 and blackops would have outsold it two to one. Activision should reward fans by atleast releasing a platinum. I started out playing cod on pc and switched to ps3 for modern warfare and played everyone since, however I started playing the battlefield series since Vietnam and every iteration since then except 2142 . I like to think I'm relatively unbiased although these days I seem to favour battlefield,my own personal opinion. they are both good in their own rights.

      Not really platinum, but COD has collections, last ones I saw had both MW titles and another had COD2,3 and 5

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