When Infinity Ward's anticipated shooter Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is released November 10, it will go on sale alongside its own co-branded Xbox 360.
During an Activision press event promoting the game, Microsoft announced a $400 bundle that will include a black Modern Warfare 2-themed console, a 250GB hard drive, two wireless controllers, and a copy of the game itself.
Immediately following the announcement, Gamasutra spoke with Xbox senior marketing director Albert Penello about how the deal got made and how Microsoft views Infinity Ward's latest title among the spectrum of Xbox 360 games.
"We actually get asked a lot to do this kind of stuff," Penello said of co-marketing deals. "This was a time when we had the idea and they had the idea."
He added: "We approached them six to eight months ago with various thoughts about what we were going to do to market the game. It was a mutual meeting of the minds."
Asked whether Microsoft and Sony attempt to be the first to the punch with initiatives like pack-in bundles for big holiday titles, the marketer said that publishers and manufacturers need to start collaborating far too early for that to practically be the case.
"We have to plan this stuff so far in advance," he said. "But by the time it's done, it ends up appearing that there's some similar thinking. We've been working with Call of Duty, and we knew it was going to be one of the biggest games of the year. We've done this with Halo in the past, so every once in a while when there's a great game, we try to do something cool."
And Penello believes the Xbox 360 team-up is particularly appropriate in this case: "Every generation has games that get associated with [certain] consoles," he added. "Because of how strong the multiplayer is, and since we're going to have downloadable content first, it's a game that I think is associated with Xbox."