(AP) -- Ryan Norwalk has cleared his schedule. The 26-year-old California State University student plans to spend Tuesday gunning down foes in "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2," the highly anticipated first-person shooter video game developed by Infinity Ward and published by Activision Blizzard Inc.
Norwalk was among the dedicated fans lined up late Monday for the game outside the GameStop in West Hollywood, Calif.
"I want to get a head start," he said.
Thousands of gamers like Norwalk lined up at over 10,000 retail outlets across the country for the Monday midnight launch of "Modern Warfare 2." In the first week, fans worldwide are expected to spend at least half a billion dollars on the follow-up to 2007's top-selling "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare" about a well-armed Russian baddie named Makarov.
"I'll start playing as soon as I get home," said Frederick Guese, a 24-year-old fan donned in black paramilitary gear who was in line outside the Best Buy in West Los Angeles. "I think the servers will probably go down tonight because everyone will be trying to play multiplayer tonight, so I'll probably start with the single-player campaign before going online."
Many fans were miffed to learn the game was sold at several GameStop locations ahead of the official launch. A spokesman for the chain said the decision was made to sell reserved copies after other retailers unleashed the game early. A spokesman for Activision said the publisher had not given any retailer permission to sell the game before Tuesday.
The weeks leading up to the game's launch have been marred by controversies. Footage leaked last month revealed that a skippable level allows players to open fire on innocent civilians in an airport. Earlier this month, Infinity Ward pulled a viral video promoting the game which featured an acronym that is a derogatory term for gays.
"We've been trying to keep the game under wraps for maximum impact for the players," said Infinity Ward CEO Vince Zampella. "It's been stressful with little things leaking here and there. With the unveiling finally here, we don't have to worry about that stuff anymore. Now it's about what's going to screw up that we have to fix over the next week."
On the Net: http://modernwarfare2.infinityward.com
©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Explore further: Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers