Lock and load!
Call of Duty has returned with Activision and Infinity Ward’s upcoming first-person shooter Modern Warfare, a reimagining of the 2007 original due out Oct. 25, and Infinity Ward studio head Pat Kelly and the game’s design team have unveiled new details and provided hands-on time with the multiplayer modes of the latest entry in the long-running series.
“The first and most important thing is that gameplay is king,” Kelly on Tuesday told a small crowd of invited media at a preview event. The Infinity Ward chief went on to lay out the team’s “dogma” for Modern Warfare, which included “authentic and gritty” gameplay and aesthetics; a “unified experience” across both the single-player narrative and multiplayer experience; and, as a major point, “badass fun.”
“This game is about real soldiers, as opposed to superheroes,” Kelly said, explaining the amount of detail and great lengths the team went to to capture an authentic representation of “modern warfare,” such as importing 3D scans of actual weapons, vehicles and objects used in the game.
Also revealed was that Modern Warfare will support crossplay at launch, meaning that users can play with and compete against other players regardless of what platform they are gaming on (Modern Warfare will be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC at launch). Furthermore, all maps and content rolled out for the game will be free for all players.
While Modern Warfare is technically a remake, the 2019 version of the game adds in quite a bit of new content and gameplay options. A new night-vision multiplayer mode pits opposing teams against one another in a dark cave where they must tactically use their weapon’s lasers to coordinate attacks and strategies. The Infinity Ward team worked with former Navy SEALs to accurately represent the “laser discipline” on display in the game.
“It’s a fun cat-and-mouse game,” said Kelly.
The new mode plays out like a nocturnal ballet of criss-crossing lights and concussive sprays of bullets and shrapnel. The added bit of strategy and coordination between teammates makes for a fresh, engaging experience that shakes up the traditional Call of Duty deathmatch gameplay.
Also new to the game are increased traversal options, allowing players to climb into areas that would have been inaccessible in previous games. As multiplayer design director Geoff Smith described it, “We’ve taken grandma’s plastic wrap off the furniture.”
Introducing a newfound depth of platforming to the multiplayer stages opens up the gameplay significantly as players can perch in hard-to-reach areas and pick off their enemies or create impenetrable fortresses secured by explosive claymores or sentries.
“We want to accommodate different play styles and introduce new ways to play,” said Modern Warfare‘s other multiplayer design director Joe Cecot.
“You put some toys in the mix and build a space where players will discover things in a way you didn’t expect,” added Kelly.
For players who manage to rack up a string of kills in multiplayer without being taken down themselves, killstreaks (rewards such as drone strikes or a Juggernaut suit that aid players during competition) have returned. While there are a number of familiar perks, Kelly also promised there would be new killstreak rewards in this version of Modern Warfare.
As players familiar with the franchise have come to expect, Modern Warfare‘s multiplayer options offer a frenzied mix of fast-paced action that tests the skills and reaction speed of its combatants, but what the new game offers (particularly in its night-vision mode) is a more nuanced, tactical approach to the frenetic gunplay that stresses coordination and planning in a way the franchise hasn’t before. While there a number of elements that feel familiar, the introduction of key new details like mounting one’s weapon on a wall or ledge, breaching doors with any explosive (try lobbing a grenade across a room) and climbable surfaces makes the 2019 version of Modern Warfare‘s multiplayer feel fresh and rewarding.