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Exclusive first look at Modern Combat 4 for Xbox Windows Phone 8

We can’t say whether there will be two Xbox Windows Phone releases this week just yet. But we can tell you – and show you – one very exciting game arriving for Windows Phone 8 on Wednesday. Originally announced back in October, Gameloft’s Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour will finally arrive this week! Not only will it be the first Xbox Windows Phone first-person shooter, but it promises even more advanced multiplayer features than we saw in Asphalt 7 earlier this year.

During my recent trip to the Game Developers Conference, I stopped by the San Francisco Gameloft office for a quick tour. Lennon Arcaro, Gameloft’s Account Director was kind enough to walk me through the opening moments of Modern Combat 4. See our world exclusive hands-on footage after the break!

Modern Combat 4 in action

As you might have guessed from the series title, Modern Combat provides a very similar experience to the popular Call of Duty console games but for mobile devices. I don’t fault Gameloft for being unoriginal. Instead, they’re giving many mobile gamers what they want: the full console-style FPS experience that Call of Duty series owner Activision refuses to give them. Yes, there are a couple of Call of Duty Zombies games for iOS, but those are severely stripped-down experiences, and they don’t do Windows Phone owners any good regardless.

Modern Combat 4 features an exciting single-player campaign as well as a robust multiplayer component. The campaign storyline revolves around a series of terrorist attacks as well as the kidnapping of the US president. A dire situation! The story comes to life through fully-voiced cinematics that you’ll only find in mobile games from Gameloft. Players will take on several different roles throughout the campaign, including not only heroic military operatives but even the lead enemy! You’ll even encounter the same battle from both sides’ perspectives – we can’t fault Gameloft for not being ambitious.

Shooting on the go

Modern Combat 4 gameplay iOS

Lots of gamers trash talk the idea of playing first-person shooters on a phone, but few of those people have actually tried it for themselves. As it turns out, controlling a soldier in Modern Combat 4 isn’t all that different from playing twin-stick shooters like Rocket Riot and Zombies on the Phone.  Touch anywhere on the left side of the screen to move, and touch anywhere on the right to aim. Shooting has its own button; that's the only key control difference. Additional functions like crouching, zooming, and throwing grenades are all accomplished via buttons at the bottom of the screen as well. Oh, and looking can be controlled by Gyroscope if the player so chooses.

After seeing the relatively low frame rates on Gameloft’s The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises Windows Phone 8 games, some players might have been concerned about how Modern Combat 4 and N.O.V.A. 3 would perform on Windows Phones. As you can see from the video, this particular game runs very well (thanks in part to the Havok Physics engine). It’s not 60 FPS smooth, but certainly in the same 30 FPS hemisphere as Asphalt 7. (We haven’t played N.O.V.A. 3 yet, but it uses the same engine as Modern Combat 4 and should perform similarly.)

Multiplayer combat

Modern Combat 4 iOS multiplayer

Modern Combat 4’s multiplayer functions weren’t available for testing during our studio visit, but we did discuss the topic and look through some of the menus. Like Asphalt 7, the multiplayer mode will work either online or via local Wi-Fi. The latter is a great way to compete against a local player with minimal latency. Either way, the game supports up to 12 players simultaneously.

Best of all, Gameloft has managed to integrate their Gameloft Live servers with actual Xbox Live functionality. Remember how Asphalt 7’s online multiplayer was completely separate from Xbox Live? That resulted from Microsoft’s lack of real-time multiplayer support for Xbox Windows Phone games.

This time, Gameloft has worked hard with Microsoft to ensure that players will be able to invite their Xbox Live friends while playing on Gameloft servers. Considering how important the online experience is to the Modern Combat series (and the FPS genre in general), that’s great news.

Achievement hunters should note that this game's Achievements are distributed between both single-player and multiplayer. Gotta join the fray if you want to unlock them all!

The battle begins soon

Modern Combat 4 Zero Hour

Modern Combat 4 arrives on Windows Phone 8 this Wednesday, April 10th. It will require devices with 1 GB of RAM, and probably a lot of free storage space too. Modern Combat 4 will cost $6.99, just like the iOS and Android versions. And stay tuned later this week for interviews with Gameloft and Havok, the physics engine that powers Modern Combat 4!

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • I may be the minority here, but if I want to play an FPS, I'll do it on my PC. This looks pretty cumbersome, but the more the merrier I suppose. Thanks for the video.
  • I definitely agree, but if there is a trial then I will at least try it.
  • There will be a trial since its xbl. This is one thing Microsoft has done right over iOS and Android. Most games on Android you have to purchase to try it out and if you miss the 15 minute window on Android you cannot get a refund.
  • This argument is valid for everything you can do on a smartphone and a pc
  • I wouldn't say that.  Some things actually feel better and more natural on a smartphone.  For instance, I love Wordament on my smartphone, but I tried the W8 version, and even on my touch enabled Surface RT, the phone version feels much better.  So there are certainly some applications that work better on a small sized touchscreen.  I agree with the OP that FPS is not one of those applications.
  • Yeah the touchscreen controls for anything like this are terrible, hopefully that BT controller will work with this in the future and Gameloft won't require you to use their own branded one.
  • Been waiting for this
    Another solid game for wp8 :)
  • Yes this is big news!
  • I might give it a go but I'm the same. Prefer my console to phone FPS.
  • After seeing that, I won't touch it. The controls suck, and you basically move through obstacles pretty easily without having to do much.
    I'll stick to Battlefield 3 on my Xbox 360, thanks.
  • What sucks about the controls? When he presses left, does he move right instead?
  • Seriously?
  • Virtual joysticks hardly provides a good experience in titles where quick and accurate responses are required.
    You will never have the same amount of control that you would with a real physical controller, and it really shouldn't be expected either. This leads to either generally poor gameplay due to the loss of accurate controls or dumbed down gameplay to compensate for this, neither of which is a very good option obviously.
    Don't get me wrong though, I think it's wonderful that this title is coming to the Windows Phone platform since a lot of people seem to enjoy these kind of games, but I still don't think it presents a very good experience on a touch-based smartphone, having tried this and other similar titles on Android. Maybe with the MOGA Pro controller, but that remains to be seen.
  • battlefield 3.. on a console .. cough. you are out
  • Yes, I think you got the idea when I said battlefield 3 on Xbox 360. Duuuhhh ;)
  • The issue is less about the console and more about the fact that Battlefield is an EA title, meaning it's no good.
  • That comment is a serious fail. While so many of us know EA pump sh*t generic clones out like no bodies business they do happen to be the publishers of some great titles like Mass Effect, Portal, Left 4 Dead, Burnout, Crysis, Dead Space, Battlefield plus quite a few more. Now Activision on the other hand.....
  • Portal and L4D are NOT EA games. They're Valve. Valve is on it's own level of awesome but doesn't really pump out games EA style. I hate EA as a company but they do make a lot of great games, I'm personally a huge Fifa fan.
  • You are indeed correct that both those titles are Valve but I did say publishers. They are infact the publishers of both titles (the console versions at least). That said I probably shouldn't have used them two as an example as they have little to no input (porbably the lather) into the game.
  • Not meant to be too blunt, but saying a game sucks just because it's published by EA is a bit juvenile, and denotes too much "social networking" and not enough "personality".
  • Are you serious? There are a lot of things I don't like about EA. But BF3 is awesome, along with a lot of their other games, like Mass Effect.
  • Correction:  Mass Effect WAS awesome until EA got ahold of it.  Then we got day-one DLC, elements of gameplay being stripped to get the games out faster and don't even get me started on the Prothean being ommited from ME3 to rape gamers for an extra $10 on the day of release and the horrendous ending that became the biggest backlash in the history of gaming...
  • I am always hesitant with touch controls but Gameloft seems to be doing a great job with them - Real Soccer for instance.  Either way, did you really expect a PC-killing FPS?
  • If you were paying attention to one of the first thing he says in the beginning of the video " this is not the completed version of the game and that it WILL support movement via gyroscope including look around corners...go to YouTube I'll have to go back and get the link and post it but the video there is longer but it shows how much more there is to this game and I for one can tell you that it is very solid for a game even for a smartphone title and this port looks, sounds and plays better than the Android and iOS versions and will look awesome on all the HD displays...if im gonna kill time out on the oilrig with one tv lots of guys sleeping in one bunk room all on their laptops bogging down the WiFi...this is the way to go...i don't have to compete for laptop and elbow room, the tv or a plug...i hop in my bunk, throw on my headphones and play, surf and download till my hearts may not be my Xbox but it's a good get me by..
  • I am one who has done my fair share of bashing FPS or any hardcore game on a phone but your reasoning makes such sense that Ive seen the light LOL
  • Look, your phone obviously isn't going to give you a console quality gaming experience you are correct sir, bur for 7 dollars or so you do get a very fun experience and you get to kill people and blow stuff up. How can you argue against that.
  • How you feel about console controls compared to phone controls is how all PC gamers feel about consoles compared to PC for FPS games.
  • This :) I have a PC for gaming.. I have a console for when my PC gets treated like shit by devs
  • I hate pc elitist attitude and despise keyboard and mouse control, console gaming is simply more fun.
  • Seriously, how is saying M&K is better than controllers any different that saying controllers are better than touch? Not to mention you can use controllers just fine on a PC, so I don't see why M&K would keep you away from PC. Ignorance is bliss I guess.
    This game will suck on a phone, controls too crampt, if this was out for my surface RT and xbox controller support then I would leap onto it
  • +1 Hey Paul, did you understand what he said about using an Xbox control?
  • I agree. I have played a few games on my surface RT with the 360 controller and ive found it very good. As for my Phone I dont really play many games on it I tend to just play for 2 or 3 mins and complex games like this I find dont work very well as you miss half the screen and some of them have bad controls. For me if I want games like this on the go ill use my 3DS and PSV.
    Glad WP is now getting the big name games though MS now need to work with the developers to get some exclusives or every a month exclusive like they do with the 360 and a lot more cross Windows devices games to.
  • Making up your mind about games without playing them must save you lots of effort... But it also prevents you from learning new things or being surprised.
  • Looks good
  • Just to reiterate what Paul said at the bottom of the article because people tend to complain faster than they read:
    Modern Combat 4 arrives on Windows Phone 8 this Wednesday, April 10th. It will require devices with 1 GB of RAM, and probably a lot of free storage space too. Modern Combat 4 will cost $6.99, just like the iOS and Android versions. And stay tuned later this week for interviews with Gameloft and Havok, the engine that powers Modern Combat 4!
    So take it easy with the "it's expensive/costly",  "where's the 7.8 support" and "the file size is too big" complaints...please.
  • Thanks man! Let's see whether that reiteration will have any effect.
  • Here here my friend! I agree!!
  • Game looks good.  May be my first $6.99 game purchase.
  • Pricing is interesting. I'm not a massive player of these types of games on touchscreens but I did pick up Nova 2 and 3 for my Playbook at 75p each. Obviously Nova 3 hasn't been priced yet but if it's similar to MW4 it seems like a lot when you compare it to the PB price which is on a tablet sized screen.
  • Were those sale prices or the regular price? Gameloft's $7 games do go on sale sometimes, but they all sell for $7 normally on other platforms - even the Kindle.
  • I can't speak for Nova 3 as it's just come out (though I don't recall seeing any 'on sale!' text in the blurb) but I'm pretty sure Nova 2 has been 75p for a while now. To be honest there are a lot of quality games including Gameloft games on the PB around the £1 mark. Some are a fiver like Dead Space but it's not a bad platform for some cheap tablet gaming, for example MW3 is £2. should give an idea of Gameloft prices for comparison. Much as I like my L820 I can't ignore 75p on the playbook.
  • Just the game I was waiting for
  • Wonder if it will work with the MOGA Pro Controller that would be even more awesome
  • It won't work with it at launch, but Gameloft said they might add support in a future update.
  • The word "might" make me iffy on buying this game and the controller... The game would be perfect with the controller but I don't want to by tue controller if it doesn't support the games I already own on my phone
  • I agree it's cause for concern. But keep in mind that the Xbox Live certification process, for both new games and updates, is a pain in the butt. The MOGA SDK has only just become available and the controller isn't even out yet, so it will definitely be a few months before we start seeing MOGA support in Xbox WP titles. Indie titles will be updated much quicker though, and I know both of the emulator developers are already planning on adding support to their emus.
  • I love fps games and will buy this without hesitation and if they add support in an update for the controller then that will be a bonus thanks for the info Paul.
  • will the game also be available for 512mb ram wp8 phones like asphalt 7 after sometime?
  • I asked Gameloft that but the people I spoke with weren't sure yet.
  • I doubt it this IS a huge graphics game and might really NEED 1GB to work correctly
  • I'll be purchasing it to get back into FPS gaming but also to support both Gameloft who is really support the platform and the Windows Phone platform itself.
    It looks to be implemented really well and certainly the Xbox Live multiplayer feature is huge. I wish it was released like Skulls of the Shogun and Galactic Reign where it was cross platform to really drive adoption.
  • Not impressed at all :-/
  • Why not?
  • He did mention that it's on a phone and it has controls. Obviously it falls short for those reasons. *rolls eyes*
  • Ok Paul, since you have taken so much time commenting on just every single persons comment here, I'll tell you my reasons as to why I don't like the controls: if you have ever held an actual control (e.g Xbox 360 or PlayStation) then you would understand that a game like this must have the use of multiple button to be used with multiple fingers at the same time. If you're unsure of what I'm talking about, ask a close friend that has played on multiplayer to allow you to experience of the pure awesomeness of playing with more then just two thumbs. (rolls eyes back at Paul :P)
  • Then don't buy the game. Honestly I didn't think these shooters would work, but after giving them a chance on an android tablet, the controls can be mastered over time. You obviously can't replicate a complex controller with a simple touch screen, but they aren't trying to either. Its a mobile version of a FPS and it is a damn good one. And I guarantee it will sell like hotcakes first day regardless of the opinions of some.
  • don't like it, don't buy it..stop trolling in the comments...there are many others who are interested in the game as it is..
  • +1 .....and if that new controller comes out soon then that will be cool to use with this
  • Uhh, this is a mobile game bud. No other smarphone comes with any different means of playing the game. The game looks impressive and I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who'd love to play it, though personally I am a PC guy. But that DOES NOT mean that this game sucks, in fact it looks like its kick-ass. BTW the actual control for FPS games is not a controller - heard of something called a mouse? that thing with buttons we use on a PC, that look like one too?
  • Do you have the same criticisms of Asphalt 7? A mobile game trying to emulate its console counterparts. Touchscreen controls aren't perfect, but the game is simplified to combat that. I personally have always preferred "realistic" games over the gimmicky Angry Birds type games, so thank you Gameloft for making that possibly.
  • I feel that many of missed my earlier comment that I'm not buying. Why is it even necessary to troll and comment on something I had already mentioned? I'm not saying and suggesting for everyone to not buy the game. I'm expressing my own belief that this game is not for me and that I'm not impressed due to.fact that I am so used to being able to control a game like this with an actual console controller and not having multifunctional buttons limits the way this game.ia played. It simply does not work for me. So before anyone goes on a rant, I'm not buying the game(read the 3rd thread)
  • LOL you and your console vs smartphone drivel, console is for posers like you while Real Gamers play on PC at higher resolutions, much better details and with precision input controllers like keyboard and mouse.
  • I'm going to have to roll my eyes with paul on this occasion, please pipe down, we heard you the first time, we just didn't comment, ok?
  • Well Quin, what you are doing is a form of trolling, and it needs to stop. Thanks.
  • Looks pretty good.  I think I'd enjoy a pick up and play FPS.
  • I'll get this to support the platform
  • While I like that they worked hard to make it Xbox live multi player. But will you be able to also play cross platform with other platforms? I have a feeling that we will not be able to. And will be at the mercy of just WP players .
  • No, it won't be cross-platform. But you can bet this will sell pretty well on WP8.
  • I dont know I cant see that. Windows Phone gamers seem to be cheaper than other platforms. Just going on par with the other $6.99 games that didnt seem to sell all that well. 99cent asphalt got purchased by every windows phone gamer it seems, and even its online is dead as a doornail. So I think this multiplayer will be dead very quickly. Boosting sessions for multiplayer achievements will be a must I presume. Especailly if the online is laggy as can be, which I presume it would be.
    I hope all multiplayer achievements can be eared in Wifi. That is if I could ever find another person in this city that actually has a WP8, and shelled out $7 for this game, and also likes achievements enough to boost them. Unlikely however!
  • Online modes in games like this become ghost towns for a variety of reasons, one of which is users usually can't communicate with each other. If people could hang out in lobbies and talk, there'd be more incentive to keep lobbies open. Also, a lot of phones' screens time out after 5 minutes or so, which makes it hard to stay on 1 screen for long. Brace yourself now: there's an Achievement for winning a 10-player game.
  • yeah i see that. looks like a horrible achievement. There are way too many multiplayer achievements for a game whose  multiplayer will die quick.
    Also 1000 headshots? Who are they kidding. I cant imagine headshots being that easy to pull of on a mobile device, let alone being able to actually hit enemies at all. that would be a shame to have to boost 1000 of them with a buddy haha
  • Someone please let Microsoft know how to make a game like this so we can finally have Halo on WP.
  • Can we just rename N.O.V.A Halo and call it a day?
  • this. i've being waited for windows phone to have console grade fps game. microsoft have marketed windows phone with xbox yet they haven't release any mobile version for Halo. If a company likes gameloft can make a decent fps on smartphone then why can't microsoft
  • I am a huge Halo fan and hope it never gets a mobile version unless its like a remake of 1 or 2. You can't ruin a franchise of Halos magnitude but making a mobile version with online multiplayer. Sure it would probably be the best selling mobile game of all time and would sell the phone, but you can't realistically expect Halo on your phone.
  • Did you not watch the video from this article? What exactly would a Halo game require over MC?
  • It would require 343i to completely change their game plan to mobile, which is not going to happen anytime soon. I'm all for FPS on phones, but Halo is console only and is going to stay that way.
  • Aren't there 2 titles on PC and some board games already? It's hardly console-only, the franchise just isn't on handheld devices.
  • Agreed. And Halo Wars, which most strategy fans agree is an awesome game, was not developed internally at 343/Bungie. Gameloft or another dev with integrity could colloaborate with 343 and produce an awesome mobile Halo game. But adapting the older Halo games (instead of creating a new one) isn't a bad idea at all.
  • PC with controller support yes. The first two had a PC version. Halo is now Xbox only. Do not consider the board games as any significance. They were likely not even made by Bungie. 343i is not going to let anyone else develop a mobile version and they are not going to themselves. There hasn't even been PC versions of any of the recent Halos so mobile is not even close to their radar.
  • That's why I think Gameloft or someone else would need to pitch a mobile version and spend a lot of effort talking them into it. So it's not very likely, but that's the only way it would happen anytime soon.
  • Agree with NaterBater, I hope (and I'm certain) we'll never see Halo on a phone. It is a franchise that needs to keep its personality, not being dumbed down to fit touch screen control scheme.
  • Gameloft is making so much money with me lol. Looking forward to this game!
  • Definitely getting it. I was waiting for this game since november
  • I will wait till what others have to say about Xbox live integration. Still cannot create a gameloft account for asphalt 7 :(
  • I managed to create one. I used the PC to do it as the in-game function never loaded properly. The webpage was hard to find and didn't even look official. Luckily it worked.
  • @Morpheus which site did you try. I tried the site and created the account but the game won't recognize it.:( After a while I just gave up.
  • I used this webpage...
  • Not really going to play an FPS on my phone. However if they ported this to Windows 8, I would definately give it a try with a controller or keyboard and mouse.
  • I think I'm more open to a fps on my phone, but they definitely need to port this to win rt. This game could be amazing with Xbox controller support!
  • I guess I know what I will be doing with my Wednesday lunch money that the wife allows me to have.
  • Looks smooth, I'm anticipating their release of Order & Chaos Online.
  • I'll probably end up getting it but I'd rather play games like this, Amazing Spider-Man, and Dark Knight Rises on Surface with an Xbox controller.
  • Its time to add some gamertags!
  • need Moga controller 
  • Read this article on my 920. In fear and in anticipation, my battery melted. :)
  • Yea needs surface support so I can walk around like I'm playing Xbox games all day
  • I'm very hesitant about this one. I'll probably grab the demo, but selling me on this will probably be tough. It's the quality of title I'd consider spending $7 on, but the other $7 titles had issues with lag, and I'm wondering if that will occur here as well.
    It's going to be a tough sell, but I applaud the work of the developers for their hard work regardless.
  • I was hoping this was going to be 99 cents. Now I will have to see how am I going to purchase this if I like it.
  • Its $6.99 everywhere.
  • Its same price on play store and ios store.
  • I just don't understand how anyone could hope this was 99 cents. Obviously I wish everything is free or less than a dollar, but any price less than $4.99 is crazy talk.
  • If we can get real racing 3 any time soon then I think we will be complete.
  • And here we go. 7€ for a smartphone game...I'll pass. I rather pay 10€ and get Call of Duty or MoH for PC
  • Its the same pricing on Android and ios as well, we are finally getting to price parity with other major app stores, so you cant complain much.
  • My "complain" is not regarding the WP price. It's regarding this kind of price for mobile games in general. If I had an Android or an iPhone may "complain" would be the same. These prices are ridiculously high for phone games. Period.
  • Thats the freedom of Choice which everyone has, like mobile games buy them , don't like them then don't buy, But don't expect everyone to sell it at $1, there are development costs, salries to be paid to software engineers who can't work for free.
  • Considering the quality and production values far outpace the GameBoy games of the 90's, which launched at 4x the price, I'd say it's a steal. Just because it's on a phone doesn't somehow devalue it to .99 cents like Angry Birds.
  • Nicely said.
  • No Spiderman/Batman lag = insta buy. Looking forward to this. More games to the people. 7 days til mooga controller is available. I wonder if I will be able to buy it on WPCentral store?
  • Can't wait for this. Wondering if it will work with the upcoming moga controller.
  • At lease it doesn't look as slow and laggy as Spiderman or batman.
  • "I don't want to die three times in a demo" lol
  • Itseems among Lumias only 920 can handle this game,820 might face storage issue despite having 1gig RAM
  • The pricing is ridiculous. Got this on my kindle hd for $2
  • That must have been on sale, its $6.99 on amazon app store, google play store and ios store.
  • Can't wait,been anticipating a good fps since wp7. Will buy this for my L920 straight away, thanks gameloft
  • people can play it free on android. I wonder why the developers dont make wp8 app first.. Will it available for L720? I dnt see a point to buy l820 500usd and then buy the game... Where 150usd android device can play it and itz free... Sorry for my bad english