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China's Call Of Duty Online Enters Open Beta With Changes Made Just For That Market

by Mike Futter on Jan 12, 2015 at 02:30 AM

At E3 2014, we had the opportunity to see how Activision was retooling its titanic Call of Duty franchise for the Chinese market. Today, the publisher has released the open beta of the free-to-play Call of Duty Online.

Activision is teaming up with local partner Tencent for the title, which is being developed by Raven Software. Call of Duty Online will pull from the Modern Warfare and Black Ops branches of the Call of Duty franchises, with single-player missions, multiplayer, and a survival mode.

Because of cultural taboos, the survival mode won’t feature zombies. Instead, players will face off against waves of cyborgs. 

When we spoke with Call of Duty vice president Daniel Suarez in June 2014, he told us about the challenges of bringing the franchise to China. As an example, players of China’s most popular online game, Crossfire, don’t aim down the sights.

“It’s something that’s embedded in the psyche of players,” he explains. “For us, it’s training them that this is going to give them more accuracy and that it’s going to be a better experience for them.”

For more on the nuanced development of Call of Duty Online for this new market, check out our previous coverage. For this year’s Call of Duty entry in the rest of the world, check out our review of Advanced Warfare.


Our Take
This meeting at E3 was one of my favorite, because it opened my eyes to cultural differences that impact game development. I knew about the zombie taboo, but some of the other nuances (like having to change how waypoints are displayed) were fascinating. In our previous coverage, you can also see how rudimentary the visuals are for the current king of the hill in China, Crossfire.