It’s not hard to take a few shots at Call of Duty these days. The most profitable, most well-known video game franchise in the world today doesn’t get to that kind of popularity without its share of critics. The confidence of the developers and publishers hasn’t waivered one bit it seems, as Activision is now claiming that the upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 will not just meet the same levels of sophistication as past releases, but will go even further, pushing the entire genre of shooters forward.

Nobody has ever accused Activision of being humble, and the publisher certainly feels its place in the industry is deserved. But when your property reigns supreme in the shooter genre as CoD does, every newcomer is almost forced to address the giant brand in one way or another.

With Modern Warfare 3 having been seen as an inevitability for some time, DICE and Electronic Arts haven’t minced words when discussing the competition to their own impending release Battlefield 3. While DICE voiced their own opinion that the competition had gotten lazy, favoring profitability over innovation, EA’s John Riccitiello is already claiming that BF3 is better than CoD in every way.

With MW3 only recently officially announced, Infinity Ward and Activision have had to remain quiet. Now the publisher has officially confirmed that Modern Warfare 3 will once again be releasing this holiday season with an announced release date of November 8, 2011. Along with the announcement comes a chance for the developers to address the criticism by describing their optimism for the newest CoD.

Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg had no shortage of kind words to say about the new game, and is already raising the collective expectations for both the singleplayer and multiplayer aspects of MW3:

“Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is by far the most epic Call of Duty experience yet.  The teams at Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games have worked tirelessly to create for the Call of Duty player a scale that is unimaginable with a level of polish and creativity that will push the genre forward…The passion and energy of our developers is reflected in everything about the title.  From the innovative gameplay, to the cinematic intensity, to the most advanced multiplayer ever, Modern Warfare 3.”

With DICE rolling out the staggeringly impressive Frostbite 2 engine and destructible environments, it’s a large claim to boast that a game still possibly using an older engine – albeit improved – is going to be driving innovation across its genre. MW3 will also include destructible environments, but while the game’s official gameplay trailer does show escalated action, fans largely know what to expect from the game at this point.

But perhaps that unique place in the minds of gamers is just what it takes to push an entire genre somewhere new. Battlefield 3 may offer entirely new takes on what the shooter genre can be, the smaller audience means that an industry-wide impact is far less likely. But if a brand as powerful as Call of Duty takes its fans into a new direction, no matter how slightly, the expectations of the entire gamer population could change.

That may not necessarily be the case, since Activision’s job at this point is to talk up the game. How a multiplayer system can possibly be defined as “the most advanced ever” is beyond us, but we won’t have long to wonder.

Do you buy Activision’s claims, and think that the next game could be the best we’ve ever seen? Or are you counting on Battlefield 3 for a dose of something new? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is officially scheduled for a November 8 release on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.