Call of Duty: Black Ops Rezurrection came out on Friday. The pack adds five new arenas to Call of Duty: Black Ops' zombie survival mode, except four of them aren't new at all. Nacht der Untoten, Verruckt, Shi No Numa and Der Riese are all "remastered" versions of zombie maps from Call of Duty: World at War, released in 2008.
That means 80% of the map pack is made up of recycled, three year old content. What's more, those who bought the Hardened and Prestige editions of Call of Duty: Black Ops received the new maps as part of the deal last year. The asking price? £11.50 / $14.99. This has to stop.
Most of the advertising for Rezurrection so far has understandably concentrated on the new lunar map. Moon is good. It's funny, spooky, tremendously gory thanks to the new wave gun, and generally a blast with friends, but as the only fresh piece of content in the whole pack, it can't possibly justify the price tag. To put it in perspective, for just a few bucks more you can pick up the superb Left 4 Dead 2, which comes with five core campaigns, each of which are four or five times larger than a Call of Duty zombie arena.
The success of First Strike, Escalation and Annihilation prove that a certain percentage of Call of Duty's enormous fan base will shell out for a slim collection of virtual architecture, and no doubt just as many will buy Rezurrection, even though four fifths of it is made up of used goods.
Re-using old maps is nothing new, of course, and it's not a practice that's exclusive to the Call of Duty series either. Battlefield 3's Back to Karkand pack consists entirely of re-engineered maps and weapons from Battlefield 2, but there's a difference between putting a new spin on a classic map, and reheating stale content. When ported into a new engine, with updated Battlefield 3 classes and mechanics, old architecture can be made to feel fresh and worthwhile. Rezurrection doesn't. The updates consist of some upgraded lighting tech, and some weapon spawn tweaks. It feels like artificial padding designed to meet a ludicrous price point, and is only the very latest in a stream of overpriced DLC packs. Call of Duty fans deserve better.
Modern Warfare 3 is out in November, with a new DLC strategy. Subscribers to the Call of Duty: Elite network will receive smaller collections of new maps on a month by month basis. It will be interesting to see if we get many remastered Modern Warfare 2 maps appearing as part of the deal, or maybe a few from the original Modern Warfare.
It's a lot quicker to take an old map and spruce it up than to make something entirely new, but we're not talking about a small studio putting out their first release. This is Call of Duty. The biggest shooter in the world. Surely we can do better than Rezurrection.