Call of Duty XP, the first ever Activision public event just for the franchise, is only a week away, but there’s still a stream of incoming news about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, the 8th installment in the long-running annual franchise.

The latest news from the highly anticipated shooter from Infinity Ward and Activision focuses in on some of the new weapon abilities and mechanics that Modern Warfare 3 will feature and while one of them may seem simple in theory, it’s far from common in video games, yet extremely handy.

What sort of soldier do you play in Call of Duty? Do you run and gun up close like a ninja or do you pick off unsuspecting enemies from afar? For me in most shooters, sniping with long-range weapons is always a treat but it becomes a problem when traversing the maps and finding myself trapped in close quarters because those weapons simply don’t handle well in those situations. Modern Warfare 3 has a solution with scopes that can fold down.

Robert Bowling, Infinity Ward’s creative strategist, spoke with OXM about two specific new additions that will appear in this year’s Call of Duty:

“Say you’re picking guys in windows out long range in Manhattan, but then kick through a door and start clearing a building… You can now fold down your magnifying scope and already have a close-range optic on your gun – so now you’re engaging guys close-target without having to change weapon.”

The other new weapon feature may not put a smile on the face of critics of Modern Warfare 1’s “noob tube” extravaganza, since there will now be a smart grenade launcher that can track hidden enemies. Known as the “Punisher” (official name: XM-25 air burst grenade launcher), this weapon is one you want on your team.

“It’s great for when you’re fighting in an urban environment. If a guy is behind a concrete barrier, you can laser-tag that cover point, fire over it and it will then programme the round to explode one metre past it. Anyone hiding behind it will be showered down.”

If you wish to see the real life tech specs for the XM-25, go here.

We love the scope idea – more gun functionality the better – but can we change fire from rapid to single shot on regular weapons? Still waiting on that. The Punisher we’ll have to wait on to see if it balances well in multiplayer. If it does what we think it does, it may even be a killstreak weapon. That being said, Bowling previously went on record to explain that explosions in MW3 have been nerfed to help keep focus on gunplay.

We’ll find out more at the Call of Duty XP event in early September so follow us for our live coverage of the event – we’ll be there, and so will Kanye West and Dropkick Murphys! In the meantime, enjoy the entertainment that is the EA vs. Activision bashfest.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 releases November 8, 2011 for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.

Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: OXM