The first day of Call of Duty XP has come and gone, and there was a lot going on for a show that was based around one game. We hit it early enough to make the opening keynote, and even though traffic was quite the hassle coming in, it was certainly worth it.
The keynote, featuring Activision’s CEO Eric Hirshberg and appearances by Robert Bowling and others, was an expanded presentation based on what we had seen at media night. The multiplayer trailer was once again highlighted (and cheered for), followed by details on the Elite perks, including its $49.99 annual membership price (free if you buy the Hardened Edition of the game). From there, we did get to see some more Facebook features that Elite would use. The keynote wrapped up with an exclusive look at the Modern Warfare 3 edition 2012 Jeep, complete with displays featuring the logo and cool black tires. No price point was given, but…we’re on the review list, right, Activision?
Following the keynote, there was a small presentation involving Call of Duty Endowment, featuring men and women of the military. The entire show is supporting the cause, with every cent made from it going to that foundation. Military advisor Hank Keirsey, taking a break from being so badass, handed out shirts to these guys. From there, the floor opened up to the media, and we hit the ground running.
Burger Town dude just wants to play some Modern Warfare 3
The area is divided into three sections – the stage area, the main gameplay area, and an outside area. After running into the dude from Burger Town (and collecting some patches and stickers from him), we headed over to the gameplay area. There were hundreds of Xbox 360’s set up for play, and people took advantage, checking out all the units for competitive multiplayer and Spec Ops. Make sure to check out our latest mutliplayer preview here.
It wasn’t all about the game though. There were sections for a Sumo battle arena (where people get in large suits and fight each other playfully), a Dew charging station sponsored by Mountain Dew (where we ran into Carrie Keagan – lovely as always), a museum-like Armory featuring many of the game’s weapons, and a shop where you could buy a specialized shirt, making your own patches and even adding your GamerTag if you felt worthy of boasting.
We then moved outside where even more activities were taking place. People were lining up to take part in the 300-yard zipline set-up; the Jeep Experience got a late start but eventually garnered a big crowd that wanted to see the customized vehicle up close; the Scrapyard was faithfully recreated down to the last detail for paintball (complete with viewing area for the curious); The Pit got people in the midst of timed competition; and Burger Town sat in the middle of it all, with lines extending in each direction. Other small items were scattered around including a tent for a local radio station and a cool Joes vs. Pros truck set-up, with Black Ops ready for action.
Those better be the best damn burgers in the world for me to stand in that line
There was plenty for people to do, and being able to walk in and out of gameplay sessions with ease was really nice. Things picked up later when the crew kicked off panels, including a good one involving the Elite perks and an even better one featuring voice talent from the game. We got to run into our pal Michael Rooker again, and even chatted a bit with Captain Price voice actor Billy Murray (no, not the guy from Ghostbusters). William Fichtner, from Drive Angry, was also on hand, and even stopped to get a photo with us.
William Fichtner is the man! Mostly because he’s the only one who stopped to take a picture with us
Following these panels, they showed off the world premiere of the impressive Find Makarov: Operation Kingfish film, which the crowd loved. After roaming the floor for a little while longer, the Dropkick Murphys came out to close down the night with a rollicking set of their songs. They certainly brought the house down.
Nothing like some good old Dropkick Murphies to spice up a CoD event
The first day of Call of Duty XP was a blast, and we’re highly looking forward to the second. Not sure if we’ll stick around for the Kanye West concert…but you never know.