Activision has revealed the next edition of Call of Duty to be Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. This is not to be confused as Modern Warfare 4 the natural successor to the globally loved Modern Warfare 3. Instead, this game will be a reimagining of 2007’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The game that started the Call of Duty hype train. Something that many players feel in recent years has lost its sense of direction. However, the studio has made it abundantly clear that this is not a remake and will not be set in the same universe as the previous trilogy. Although, previously seen characters will be returning (Captain Price is the only one confirmed so far)
This announcement was also accompanied by a trailer to set the scene and give fans a taste of what’s to come.
Controversial Story Mode
Unlike last year’s instalment Call of Duty (Black Ops 4), Modern Warfare is confirmed to have a single-player campaign. It will be based around Russian interactions with the Middle East. We have been promised a more mature, authentic, down to earth Call of Duty. They’re really trying to depict the realities of being a soldier. It’s much more than a game where the only aim is to mindlessly shoot enemies as they pop out of cover.
Unlike the traditional Call of Duty games that only sees players controlling Tier 1 Special Forces soldiers. This time you will also fight alongside freedom fighters in the fictional middle eastern country Urzikstan. These freedom fighters won’t be equipped with the same high-tech equipment or utilise the same tactics as the special forces soldiers. They will instead be in greater numbers, utilising improvised weapons and guerilla warfare tactics. Putting their knowledge of local surroundings to good use.
A journalist from GameSpot sat down with the studio narrative director Taylor Kurosaki and single player director Jacob Minkoff to get an early look at the title. Kurosaki spoke about how the times have changed since 2007’s Call of Duty 4 and being modern warfare, the game must mirror our current world situations. But as was the case with Call of Duty 4, the events depicted in Call of Duty: Modern warfare will not be carbon copies of the real-life events seen in the news. However, the events depicted will definitely be characterised by the themes and situations in our real world.
The Cold Reality of Modern Warfare
Kurosaki has pointed out that in 2007 the main conflict was the Iraqi conflict, which was fought with conventional warfare. Opposing sides wearing different uniforms fighting in tanks, jeeps etc. As opposed to today the war isn’t just in one place. “It’s in places that can suddenly become a battlefield at a moment’s notice.” The enemies no longer wear uniforms and civilian collateral damage is rife. Modern warfare is a lot closer to home than it was 12 years ago. Busy city centres are attacked, families are hit by airstrikes and people have to raise arms and fight for their independence.
He said they will definitely not be shying away from these realities of modern warfare. If they didn’t include this graphic, controversial material the game wouldn’t be doing justice to the name “Modern Warfare”. According to one YouTuber who was shown the game early Call of Duty: Modern Warfare makes “No Russian” look like a Pixar film”. The game is so dark and realistic that multiple playtesters have cried playing the game. Kurosaki also stated that the characters in the game will have to question the morality of their actions. How far are they willing to go for the greater good? Do the ends justify the means?
They took inspiration from modern-day war movies such as “Lone Survivor or The Hurt Locker or American Sniper or even Sicario.” Films that have been released since Modern Warfare 3. Mainly movies about protagonists and their struggle with morality whilst trying to achieve their definition of the greater good in a world where “there is no black and white, only the grey in between.” And for each character, the answer to this question will be as different as there vastly contrasting perspectives.
One of the interesting things Kurosaki said about this is that not only will the character have to ask themselves how far they are willing to go, but so will the player. He mentioned there being consequences for the player “going rogue”. “If you try to just be a bad apple, the game is going to smack you down for that.”
We’re not exactly sure what is meant by this. But it sounds like the game becomes more difficult to play if you don’t follow orders. While developing the game they had consultants that served in the Navy Seals to offer guidance on how to create the most realistic warfighting gameplay possible. This gave them the ability to simulate what would happen in certain situations when certain choices are made.
He also said the game doesn’t have a zero-tolerance policy when making mistakes or if you make a judgement call in the heat of the moment. But such choices may turn out to be a mistake upon further review. There are some choices that do slightly affect the narrative but at the same time, it’s not a “choose your own adventure” type game. The story has a beginning, middle and end.
Mainly the choices taken will affect the gameplay itself. “Do you use night vision goggles? Use suppressed weapons? or do you go loud? Do you creep into rooms cautiously? or do you kick the door down? or do you shotgun the door and put a hole in it and throw a flashbang in? These are all of the kind of strategic choices that our players make at all times, tactically, in this really complex battlefield.”
A New Engine
The ushering in of a new cod-era wouldn’t be complete without a tech upgrade. As you can probably tell by looking at the trailer the COD engine has undergone a dramatic change. This will be the first game in the series to run on a brand-new engine since Call of Duty 2. The engine has yet to be officially named but it’s not like anything we’ve seen before. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare expresses a level of uncanny realism as can be seen in the screenshot above.
This new engine aims to deliver both realism and consistency. Aesthetically, everything in this game is treated with the same respect. From the striking realism of the characters faces to the tiny the little paint marks on the walls. Every element in the game has been held under a microscope and expertly sculpted. A task accomplished by a rendering system built for scanning objects directly and replicating their material properties (reflectivity, toughness etc.)
These are changes that require a big boost in the geometry output. Changes that are delivered via the integration of an advanced culling algorithm. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is equipped with the technology to support five times the geometry that the previous Call of Duty games have been able to furnish. All of the content seen in the trailer is running in real time, with no tricks or CGI doping. The new engine also cuts down the time in which it takes to create these structures.
Ready For The Next Gen
All light sources within the game are volumetric in nature. They shine through the environment behaving like real light. The engine uses a process known as spectral rendering. This is a technique in which the light’s trajectory is modelled with real light wavelengths. This accurate depiction of light means that in some lighting conditions make the use of IR goggles vital to the player’s ability to see. Spectral rendering also ensures that night-vision and thermal imaging will be more realistic.
The new COD engine will allocate a grid of tiles around the player’s current position loading the data as and when it’s needed. Rendering will be prioritised relative to where the player is looking and the direction in which they are moving. This allows for vast multiplayer levels, expanded to a magnitude that has never been seen before.
One of the key objectives of this new engine is to set precedence for the Call of Duty games to come. It will give players the ability to play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in 4K with HDR and will also be capable of raytracing (only on PC). Raytracing being a feature that was previously announced for the next generation Sony Console.
Finally, We Get Multiplayer Crossplay!
No Call of Duty game is complete without the beloved online multiplayer. A mode that some fans play exclusively without even playing story mode. But that is definitely not something I would recommend with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. As this time around your progression in the campaign will carry over into the multiplayer and vice versa. In fact, the game will feature “continuity and consistency” across all game modes. Its currently unclear what the specifics are but all unlocked items will be usable in any mode.
One of the most exciting new features of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare multiplayer mode is the long-awaited inclusion of multiplayer cross-play. Meaning players from PS4, Xbox One, and PC will all have the ability to jump into matches with each other. They are also axing the season pass. So post-launch multiplayer map packs and events will be available for free to all players. It seems Infinity Ward has made an effort to break down the barriers previously preventing players from connecting.
If there’s one constant throughout the history of Call of Duty its the fact that Sony console players always get the DLC first. In this case, the PS4 will have access to DLC 7 days before the other platforms. This is a lot shorter than the previous 30-day window Sony gamers had over players.
When you mention Call of Duty to someone, they’re likely to think of one of two things, online multiplayer or zombies. Ever since the release of Call of Duty: World at War, zombies mode has been one of the most captivating parts of the Call of Duty experience. What began its life as a fun mini-game set within 3 rooms has now become a full-fledged game with its own lore and continuity.
Originally zombies mode was only included in the games made by Treyarch. But due to its ever-increasing popularity, it became an expectation for all Call of Duty games to have zombies mode. However, this year that will not be the case. The original modern warfare games never featured a zombies mode and neither will this one. Gameplay director, Jacob Minkoff said they felt it would compromise the realism of the game.
Call of Duty has been given an October 25 release date and will be made available on PS4, Xbox One and PC.
What are you most excited for? Let us know in the comment section below…