Even though the Call of Duty franchise is routinely the highest-selling video game franchise each year, it's not without its critics. Many have criticized the Call of Duty series for feeling stale and failing to innovate, largely thanks to its annual release schedule and its aversion to taking risks. Every year, Internet forums and the like are swarmed with people bemoaning yet another Call of Duty, but the narrative surrounding this year's entry is different. There is actually quite a bit of hype behind Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and it's because the game is making all of the right moves.
One announcement after another for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare seems to be met with near-unanimous praise from the community, as many see the game as a true return to form. Developers that worked on beloved entries like Call of Duty 4 and Modern Warfare have returned to Infinity Ward, giving fans hope that the new game will return the Call of Duty franchise to its former glory. While it's too early to say if it will succeed in doing that, every decision made for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare seems to be pointing in the right direction and making fans increasingly optimistic that the game will live up to the hype.
Here's how Infinity Ward is making all the right moves for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and successfully building genuine hype for the game in the process.
No Season Pass, Free DLC Maps, and No Timed-Exclusivity
Call of Duty's bread and butter is its multiplayer, and for years, Activision has been gating new multiplayer maps behind expensive DLC packs that have effectively split up each game's online community. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is doing away with paid DLC maps and the typical Call of Duty season pass that usually costs $50 or more. Instead all Call of Duty: Modern Warfare DLC maps will be released for free, which should go a long way in ensuring that the game's online multiplayer community stays together.
Another way that Activision and Infinity Ward will avoid splitting up the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare online community is by doing away with timed-exclusive DLC maps. For about a decade now, each Call of Duty game would have DLC maps release on either Xbox 360 or PS4 first, with users on other platforms unable to access them for 30 days. Now everyone will get the DLC maps at the same time, which is a huge step in the right direction. PS4 owners are still getting a "day 1 advantage" of some kind, though details on what that is have yet to be revealed at the time of this writing.
Cross-Play and Possibly Cross-Saves
One of the reasons why Activision is doing away with timed-exclusive DLC maps is the fact that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has cross-play between PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Players have the option to filter their matchmaking to avoid playing against people using mouse and keyboards and the like, so cross-play in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare should only be a positive. It will let players play with their friends regardless of platform, and those who don't want to play against those that arguably have an advantage using mouse and keyboard won't have to do so.
Something else that may be of interest to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare fans is that the game may even introduce cross-saves. It's been discovered that the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare open beta supports cross-saves, which seems like a pretty good indication that such a feature will be included in the final game as well. We must stress that it hasn't been confirmed just yet, but it would be surprising if it doesn't make it to the game come its launch on October 25.
As players have already learned by playing the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare open beta, this year's entry in the Call of Duty series is really looking to add variety to the multiplayer experience. The tried-and-true Call of Duty multiplayer modes are returning for Modern Warfare, but some decidedly different experiences are joining the mix as well. This includes the 2v2 Gunfight mode, which features smaller maps and more strategic gameplay, as well as the large scale 32 vs 32 Ground War mode, which features some of the biggest maps in Call of Duty history.
By offering more variety in the multiplayer, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's multiplayer should theoretically put off stagnation longer than other entries in the series. As long as the maps hold up and the multiplayer progression doesn't get too bogged down by microtransactions, it seems like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has a legitimate shot at having some of the best multiplayer the series has seen to date.
Spec Ops is Back
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 introduced co-op missions called Spec Ops that gave that game a little bit more for players to conquer. Spec Ops proved to be quite popular, and now it's returning in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare with new bells and whistles to keep it fresh. The revamped Spec Ops in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is still mostly being kept underwraps, but rumors have suggested that it will feature an open world-style area for players to explore. A full-blown Spec Ops reveal is coming on October 5, but in the meantime, we do know that there are plans to support it with new missions post-launch, which, like the multiplayer maps, will be added to the game for free.
A Brutal Campaign
So far, there have been mixed reactions to the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare campaign. Some people have spoken out against the high level of violence and disturbing imagery, while others seem enthusiastic about the game's grim and realistic portrayal of modern warfare. The Call of Duty series has never shied away from controversy, and the decision to ramp things up for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's campaign has already seen it become one of the most talked-about Call of Duty campaigns since Modern Warfare 2 and the infamous No Russian mission.
When asked which scene or mission would be the equivalent of No Russian in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Infinity Ward devs replied by saying that the whole game is on that level. We already know about a child soldier mission that will show gas attacks on civilians (including children), another that will force players to quickly decide who is a threat and who is not at the risk of killing innocent people, and a waterboarding torture scene, just to name a few of the shocking things players will encounter in the campaign. The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare campaign sounds like it won't be for everyone, but there's at least buzz around it, which is more than we can say for most Call of Duty campaigns in recent years.
Fan Favorite Characters Are Back
The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare campaign is exciting for longtime fans of the franchise for more reasons than just its brutality. Since Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is a reboot, it's pressing the reset button on the Modern Warfare story, which allows it to bring back fan favorite characters. We already know Captain Price and John "Soap" MacTavish are coming back, and we wouldn't be surprised to see some other familiar faces throughout the course of the campaign.
Killstreaks Instead of Scorestreaks
Killstreak rewards were popularized in Call of Duty 4, but later entries ditched them in favor of scorestreaks that rewarded players for more than just getting kills. However, some players will no doubt appreciate the nostalgia of reverting back to a killstreak system, especially since some fan-favorite killstreaks are returning, like the nuke killstreak from Modern Warfare 2. Even so, it is worth pointing out that some killstreaks, like the white phosphorous, have also drummed up some controversy for Modern Warfare, with the community seemingly split on whether or not it should be included in the game at all.
No Trend-Chasing Battle Royale Mode at Launch
When Call of Duty: Modern Warfare launches on October 25 - barring some surprise announcement between now and then from Activision - it will be doing so without a battle royale mode. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare isn't chasing the battle royale trend, instead focusing resources on delivering a compelling campaign, multiplayer, and Spec Ops. However, there is some evidence to suggest that battle royale is coming to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare eventually, but the likelihood that it will be pushed back means that it may actually get the time it needs to be something interesting instead of just yet another battle royale.
Rumors point to the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare battle royale mode launching at some point in 2020, as a free-to-play, standalone release. Hopefully this extra time in the oven should ensure that it provides a high quality battle royale experience, and it also means Call of Duty purists have less to complain about come the game's launch next month.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare launches on October 25 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.