One criticism that's often been levied against the Call of Duty franchise is that it lacks any innovation. This criticism is not entirely unfounded, as many will cite the plethora of other annually released titles that only improve incrementally over their predecessor with their multiplayer offerings virtually remaining the same. However, Glen Schofield, general manager of Modern Warfare 3 co-developer Slegdehammer Games, believes that the latest Call of Duty game is still able to innovate despite its same base game engine.
In Modern Warfare 3, everything appears to be bigger and better. The game itself introduces new gadgets and weapons, including the XM25 grenade launcher. Unlike in previous games, this weapon is known as a "S.M.A.R.T" grenade launcher, which allows players to target a rock and "aim a meter above it and it blows everything up below." Modern Warfare 3 will also bring a few other commonly used military weapons, including nine bangs to replace flash bangs and the addition of dual scopes, allowing players to switch between short range and long range optics should the situation warrant it.
In terms of the multiplayer, Sledgehammer also believes the new game modes - including Kill Confirmed - and the new killstreak reward system known as Strike Packages (which allow for players to set killstreaks according to their playstyle) will also help to keep the franchise from feeling stale. While much of this information and more was showcased at Call of Duty XP, these seemingly minor changes can mean a world of difference to Call of Duty fanatics, and it seems there's more information to come:
"There's also stuff I can't talk about. There's so much. The big moments are bigger than they ever were."
Schofield also reiterated the new changes they have brought to the Spec Ops portion of the game. Players can now play Spec Ops survival, a Horde-style game mode where to players face off against endless waves of enemies. This time around there will also be leaderboards and a leveling system specifically for Spec Ops, which should add a whole new layer to the mode.
- Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer impressions
- Modern Warfare 3 single player preview
- Modern Warfare 3 Spec Ops preview
For those out there who enjoy the single player portion of Call of Duty, Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer have not forgotten about you. There is a bigger emphasis on storytelling this time around. While the Modern Warfare franchise has always had enjoyable campaigns and lovable characters, Modern Warfare 2 received a lot of flak for its convoluted and nonsensical plot, something Sledgehammer is hoping to rectify.
"Let's start with the single player campaign, the story itself. We spent a lot of time on it, there's some great stuff in there, the character development, some great dialogue. That's not innovative in itself but I think it's new for the series. We go to these huge urban environments now, we have different types of battles going on. We're in cities, we're fighting with other people and with different groups, we're changing the pace of things."
There have also been some changes on the technical side of things, as Modern Warfare 3 now sports an upgraded audio engine.
"We've got a new audio engine. We've upgraded the audio engine. You're hearing whizzes, bangs, which way they're coming from, how far they are. The sound is all around you, we really, really upgraded that."
The actual game engine itself has been called outdated by many Call of Duty critics, but considering MW3 will run at a smooth sixty frames per second on consoles, I think many gamers are willing to sacrifice some graphical prowess for the butter smooth gameplay.
While some may feel that annual Call of Duty releases are just a way of milking the franchise, the games have been consistently been solid so far, and it doesn't look like things will change for Modern Warfare 3. The single-player promises to be the franchise's best yet and all of the new additions to Spec Ops and Multiplayer should be more than enough to keep fans happy. While the core game mechanics may not have changed, the oft-quoted and quite possibly cliche phrase "if it ain't broke don't fix it" certainly applies here, as those interested in Modern Warfare 3 would probably be heart broken to see drastic changes made to the shooting mechanics.
Modern Warfare 3 releases November 8th, 2011 for the PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii and DS.
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