Call of Duty. These days, it’s a title that the vast majority of gamers associate with repetition, cash-grabs, and – let’s face it – children. The once-mighty first-person shooter series that dominated the gaming market has suffered a dramatic fall from grace in recent years, as both aggregate scores and sales figures dropped almost exponentially with each release. The all-time best selling Call of Duty – Modern Warfare 3 (2011) shipped around 31 million copies. The only recent iteration of Call of Duty to come close to that figure was Black Ops 3, launching in 2015 and selling around 28 million copies to-date.
The franchise seemed to have a desire to pander to the younger generation (despite often coming 18-rated), and lobbies would more often than not be populated with underage gamers screaming obscenities about everyone’s mothers. Battle Royale became popular, and Activision decided to slip into that area of the market as well, with Black Ops 4 featuring the “Blackout” mode. This can arguably be seen as a desperate bid to stay in-leagues with recent successes like Apex, Fortnite or PUBG.
That’s a bold however, too.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (the 2019 one, not the 2007 one) is due to hit the shelves on the 25th October this year and – touch wood – it looks absolutely superb. Since 2011, fans have been crying out for a continuation of the all-time favourite Modern Warfare series, satiated only temporarily by a remaster of the inaugural game in the series: Call of Duty 4: Modern Wafare. Activision and Infinity Ward have gone one better, and they’ve decided to reboot the franchise altogether.
At this point, it’s worth noting that I haven’t seriously played a Call of Duty title since Modern Warfare 3 (2011), and that series was undoubtedly my favourite FPS series of all time. Therefore, it stands to reason that I’m a bias advocate of the announcement, but that’s fine!
So, why should Call of Duty: Modern Warfare be on your to-play list for 2019? I’ve rounded up some of the most exciting, astounding, and quirkiest facts that have come out of Activision and Infinity Ward, and laid them out here for you to see.
Now, that’s not immediately a game-changer, but it is very seldom-seen in the world of gaming. The crew at Infinity Ward are working hard on true crossplay, bridging the divide between PC, PS4 and Xbox One gamers. If your buddy has a PS4, and you have an Xbox One, then you’ll now be able to link up and play together. Further, there’s no need to worry about the PC gamers having the unbalanced edge, as the game will adopt input matchmaking, determining who will play with who, based on whether they’re using a KB+M, or a controller.
2. Completely Original Gameplay.
Yes, it shares the exact title as the 2007 release. Yes, a main character shares the exact same name as a main character from the 2007 release. Yes, Infinity Ward are almost certainly going to remaster maps from the 2007 release…
But it’s all completely original otherwise! The developers have openly boasted that Modern Warfare will have an original, and relevant single player story (with some good length, finally) that will feature their traditional ‘multiple perspective’ style. The player will experience the same story from a number of angles that change gameplay dramatically, from taking a role as a Tier One Special Forces Operator, to the role of insurgents or rebels, employing guerilla tactics and sabotage.
As they move away from the – somewhat ridiculous – ‘near-future’ gameplay that we’re used to, featuring jetpacks, exoskeletons and cyborgs, players will be treated to a more contemporary military epic, complete with weapons and equipment that is evermore recognisable and familiar.
3. Spec Ops Returns.
In my opinion, Spec Ops is part of what made Modern Warfare great. Players could go solo or team up with friends to tackle an assortment of missions laid out among the games various locales, in a range of scenarios from sabotage, to simple ‘kill them all’ game modes. Spec Ops is reported to be better, and broader than ever, with 4-player capabilities, and an ever-increasing roster of game modes and missions to carry out as time goes on.
4. New And Classic Multiplayer Modes.
Along with the traditional team deathmatch, capture the flag, and domination (among others), Infinity Ward have introduced some interesting new game modes for multiplayer. One of the quirkiest is ‘Gunfight’, a 2v2 mode that will pit two tiny teams against each other in miniscule maps, with randomised weaponry and perks. The idea is that if no kills are scored within 40 seconds, the rules of the game change, and players must adapt on the fly. What starts as a deathmatch can become a domination, or a capture the flag.
5. Killstreaks Are Back and Better Than Ever.
Killstreaks – what started off as simply a UAV, airstrike, and a helicopter quickly evolved to feature a dizzying arsenal of rewards for your kill streaks in multiplayer. These could be anything from a care package, to a suit of juggernaut armour, and from a stealth bomber airstrike to a literal death ray. The killstreaks in Modern Warfare (in keeping with the contemporary theme) are more of what we know and love, with a few twists. Infinity Ward have announced that pilotable ground vehicles will appear in multiplayer for the first time ever, as a player now has the ability to call in an infantry assault vehicle, complete with a devastating .50 machine gun. There have also been plenty of leaks suggesting that the tactical nukes are making a glorious return, which is good news for all those uber-super-crazy-good killstreak hunters.
6. It’s Pretty. Like, Really Pretty.
Infinity Ward have taken the photorealism approach for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. The game uses a state of the engine – it’s actually the first Call of Duty since 2005 to use a new engine, as opposed to the standard “IW Engine” of previous iterations. This will enable players to enjoy Modern Warfare in glorious 4K, with HDR. Further, the engine supports DirectX12 and DXR on PC. Raytracing will be a prominent feature used for the audio just as much as the visuals, as sound effects will evolve based on the local geometry.
The game is set to feature an awesome “night mode”, in which the regular maps are plunged into darkness, leaving players to utilise torchlight, night vision and thermal imaging to find their enemies. Advanced volumetric lighting means beams such as sunlight and torches are more accurate and realistic, and the finer details of the environment are infinitely more present than they ever were. Quite simply, this will be the most graphically stunning Call of Duty to-date, and should easily rival or beat the more realism-focused Battlefield franchise.
7. You Have A Pet!
Okay, so this one isn’t really something you should know, but I’m sure it’s important to someone, somewhere.
Who remembers Tamagotchi?
Well, Infinity Ward have included a quirky little feature in Modern Warfare that gives the player the option to equip a ‘Tamagunchi’, a wrist-mounted digital pet that ‘feeds’ off of your kills! It’s a little morbid, but it’s a cute-morbid, right?
8. More Players Than Ever Before.
Call of Duty has featured a mode called ‘Ground War’ for many years. It has always been a fan favourite owing to the fact that it features more players than standard game modes, making for a more frantic, frag-laden battleground than traditional player count modes. Now, Infinity Ward have decided to expand this massively and feature a Ground War with 64-player capability, an all-time record for the franchise. They have openly boasted that their new engine could handle 100 players if they so decided, but let’s not go overboard, here.
Ground War will take place in a specially-designed map (the biggest in the game’s standard multiplayer history) and will follow the same pattern as the age-old ‘Conquest’ mode from the Battlefield franchise. In this mode, players will fight for the control of several strategic chokepoints around the map, while retaining the ability to equip loadouts and utilise killstreaks at will. Hectic.
9. If It Ain’t Broke.
Thankfully, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will feature traditional bullet weapons, as well as standard lethal, non-lethal and technical gadgets. Gone are the laser rifles, gauss guns and energy shields, and returned are the assault rifles, SMGs and sniper rifles that we all know and love. Customisation has been expanded massively, meaning these familiar weapons can be upgraded and tweaked to your exact preference, and the majority of the traditional perks have made a comeback. The loadouts will once again feel familiar, as the re-introduction of licensed, real-world weaponry brings back a taste of what we’ve enjoyed in previous iterations.
10. No Season Pass, No Microtransactions (yet).
So, Activision and Infinity Ward have announced – quite publicly – that there will be no season pass. The game will be expanded as times goes on, yes, but there won’t be a one-time payment to unlock all future expansions, or to give certain players the edge with exclusive weapons or bonuses. However, the team are artfully dodging any questions on microtransactions, and haven’t given a definitive yes or no as to the questions of their potential existence. I’m going to assume they are in the game, but as I’ve voiced previously: they don’t bother me at all.
So, that’s it… Nine things you needed to know about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and one little fact about a digital pet.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare launches October 25th on PS4, Xbox One and PC. The beta starts mid September, find out more about that here.