Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 will be out this fall, but whether it's coming out for the Wii is a shaky proposition. The early indication, if a listing by retail giant GameStop is accurate, is that it isn't. The gaming chain's web-page for MW3 lists three versions—Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.
Wii critics may scoff, saying that Nintendo's fading console lacks the horsepower and the relevance among standard Call of Duty gamers to get a version of the new sequel. That would be a questionable conclusion. But Nintendo's system still has a user-base in the millions and has had a new Call of Duty game released each of the last three years.
A GameStop rep was unable to explain today why the company omitted a Wii listing. Activision, which has released teasers for Modern Warfare 3 in the wake of Kotaku's leak of information about the game, has technically not even confirmed that the game is expected to come to the 360, PS3 or PC. The publisher did not respond to a request for comment.
The Wii doesn't have to have Modern Warfare 3 to have a Call of Duty this fall, of course. The system got versions of Call of Duty: World at War and Call of Duty: Black Ops at the same time as the PC, PS3 and 360, in the autumns of 2008 and 2010, respectively. But in 2009, Nintendo's console merely got a port of the first Modern Warfare, a game that was released on other platforms in 2007. While the Wii was finally getting MW1, those more powerful game machines got Modern Warfare 2.
All original releases of Modern Warfare games, including the upcoming third one, have been the product of development studio Infinity Ward. All of the Wii releases over the last few years, including the MW1 remake, were made by Treyarch, the studio behind all versions of World at War and Black Ops. To put that another way, Infinity Ward has had a history of not making their games for the Wii; Treyarch has. If the pattern continued, we'd be seeing Treyarch making a Modern Warfare 2 re-make on Wii this fall, a proposition peculiar enough to be unlikely.
Wii versions of Call of Duty games have cracked the one-million sales mark before, but even Nintendo president Satoru Iwata recently noted that they don't come close to the (multi-million) magnitude they do on competing consoles: "Wii is good in some areas but not in others," he said last month, "so especially for games like Call of Duty, the Wii version sold pretty well, but the unit sales were very different from the versions of other platforms, and I assume that one of the reasons is the issue with the graphical representations which you mentioned before, and also, the consumers who like that kind of game will have other platforms at home as well, which led to this result."
The Wii CoDs do, however, rack up high playing times per player—more than almost any other Wii game—proving that those who do get them and play them online, enjoy them.
Should the Wii be left out of a console version of the new version of what has been the hottest-selling series in video games over the past few years, Nintendo fans can at least bank on the Wii's successor, expected for release before fall 2012, to be more than capable of handling whatever Call of Duty game emerges that year—likely a Treyarch CoD, to boot, if Activision's franchise pattern continue.