Another year means another Call of Duty, but Activision and developer Infinity Ward are doing something different this year. Rather than continue with the story of Infinite Warfare or ghosts, the series will return to the setting that made it an international sensation: Modern Warfare. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is a reinvented take on the series, with the return of one of the franchise’s most beloved characters. It’s the environments, weapons, and equipment you love, but reimagined for a new generation.
Not a remake, but something greater?
Activision isn’t explicitly calling Call of Duty: Modern Warfare a remake of the previous games, or even just the 2007 original. Instead, it is an “epic re-imagining of the iconic Modern Warfare series from the ground up.”
That begins with the game’s new engine, which makes use of a “physically-based material system,” ray tracing for PC players, and world volumetric lighting, among other features. It will also make use of new audio effects and on applicable platforms, will support full Dolby ATMOS. Smaller gameplay-focused changes have also been made, including the ability to reload while still aiming down a weapon’s sights.
Infinity Ward and Activision promise that the story will be “raw, gritty, and provocative,” and will deal with how warfare is changing in the modern day. This could be where we see it deviate the most from the original game, because 12 years have passed. No longer do we send in soldiers when an unmanned drone can do the job. Of course, as much as things change, they also stay exactly the same.
The narrative won’t be limited to the single-player campaign. Activision said in a press release that it would be unified across the campaign, competitive multiplayer, and a new cooperative mode, with its story dealing with conflict in the Middle East as well as Europe. Several international special forces operators will be playable, and the iconic hero Captain Price will be making his return, as well.
Iconic moments, and new controversies
The game’s reveal trailer appears to confirm how different the story will be compared to the previous Modern Warfare games, because it features several regions we haven’t seen before. That being said, there are also iconic elements, including green night vision, tanks, and Price’s glowing cigar.
In the trailer, we also see operators breeching a building with a hammer – undoubtedly setting up a cool slow-motion shooting moment – as well as jumping out the back of a plane. This could be a reference to the epilogue in the original Modern Warfare, but it could also be a completely unrelated scene.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will not be shying away from controversy. The original game included a city destroyed by a nuclear bomb, as did the third. The second game infamously included a mission that involved slaughtering civilians, and according to gameplay played by Variety, there will also be unarmed civilians killed in the new game, including a mother holding a child. Additionally, you will be able to control a child at one moment and kill enemies with knives and guns.
The atrocities you yourself are allowed to commit will apparently be limited, with narrative director Taylor Kurosaki telling Variety that you can be punished for doing things not appropriate for a Tier 1 operator. This includes killing civilians, and after being called out by your squad-mates, your game can end.
One new character is a woman named Farrah, who you initially play as a child living in the Middle East during an attack by terrorists. You’ll briefly be asked to fight as this child during the mission, and will otherwise take a stealthier approach in order to rescue captured townspeople.
New modes, but no battle royale?
Battle royale was completely absent from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s announcement, and if previous reports were true, that is because it won’t be included in the game. Back in March, Gaming Intel reported that the mode was being dropped and instead the next Call of Duty would focus on a campaign, multiplayer, and cooperative mode. As it turns out, that is exactly what Activision shared when the game was announced.
Alongside a campaign, there will be a competitive multiplayer mode and some form of cooperative mode that isn’t being fully discussed yet. Previous reports have said the game will move away from the specialist system of Black Ops 4 and will return to more grounded gameplay.
Cross-play is in, season pass is out
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will be embracing cross-play support between consoles and PC. Activision did not, however, elaborate if this means you will be able to play with both Xbox and PlayStation players at the same time, or if the two groups will remain separate. Regardless, it’s a move we haven’t seen from the series in its entire 16-year history.
In another move that falls in line with its competition, Modern Warfare is ditching the season pass system Call of Duty has been using for over a generation. New maps and post-launch content will be free for all players. Combined with the cross-play support, this will likely keep a greater number of players together for longer.
Pre-orders and special editions
Although the Call of Duty blog post currently states pre-orders for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare are available now, it appears that they are only live on GameStop. Activision has stated one of the pre-order bonus items is a Prestige token players will be able to redeem in Black Ops 4, but only if it’s on the platform you’re pre-ordering COD:MW for.
The Precision Edition, also known as the collector’s edition, is exclusive to GameStop and comes with the game, a steelbook, KontrolFreek Modern Warfare branded performance thumbsticks and controller skin, as well as the “All Ghillied Up”, “Crew Expendable”, and “War Pig” Operator Packs. Pre-ordering at GameStop will also earn you an exclusive double-sided poster and animated C.O.D.E. calling card, which donates to the Call of Duty Endowment, a program that helps unemployed veterans find jobs.
The prestige edition is available for PlayStation 4 or Xbox One for $99.99. You can also grab the standard edition for PS4 or Xbox One at $59.99.
Release date and platforms
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on October 25. The PC release is being handled by Beenox, and is exclusive to Blizzard’s Battle.net.
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