This year appears to be the return of video game classics, with the release of the Resident Evil 2 remake, WoW Classic and, soon, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Activision and developer Infinity Ward are bringing back the revolutionary military FPS game, giving it some new paint and new toys for players.
Modern Warfare is a reimagining of the 2007 Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare originally released for the PS3, PC and Xbox 360, but with some updates. Multiplayer will sport several new modes, including one that lets teams of two compete against one another in small maps and another that lets more than 100 players partake in an all-out war.
On Thursday, Infinity Ward revealed its plans to sell a Modern Warfare Battle Pass instead of loot boxes after the game launches.
"The new Battle Pass system will allow players to see the content that they are earning or buying," the developer said. "Battle Passes will launch timed to new, post-launch live seasons, so you can unlock cool new Modern Warfare-themed content that matches each season."
Like in other games such as Fortnite and Apex Legends, players pay for a Battle Pass to unlock additional in-game cosmetics such as outfits, weapon skins and so on. Infinity Ward said there will be free content available for players as well, and the unlocked cosmetics will not disrupt the balance of the game by giving players an advantage. No price was listed in the Battle Pass announcement.
What is the release date for Modern Warfare?
Modern Warfare comes out Oct. 25 for the PS4, Xbox One and PC with a Battle.net account. Before its release, there'll be multiple betas, depending on what platform you prefer.
The first PS4 beta ran Sept. 12 to 16 for those who preordered the game. The second beta weekend for all three platforms took place Sept. 19 to 23. Early access to the cross-platform beta started Sept. 19 for anyone who preordered on PS4, PC or Xbox One, with the open beta lasting Sept. 21 to 23.
Infinity Ward released the PC requirements for the Modern Warfare beta in mid-September. One important requirement is a graphics card compatible with DirectX 12. Here's the rest needed to run the game:
- OS: Windows 7 64-Bit (SP1) or Windows 10 64-Bit (1709 or later).
- CPU: Intel Core i5 2500k or AMD equivalent.
- Video: Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 2GB / GTX 1650 4GB or AMD Radeon HD 7950.
- RAM: 8GB RAM.
- HDD: 45GB HD space.
And here are the recommended specs for the beta:
- OS: Windows 10 64 Bit (latest Service Pack).
- CPU: Intel Core i7 4770k or AMD equivalent.
- Video: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 4GB / GTX 1660 6GB or AMD Radeon R9 390 / AMD RX 580.
- RAM: 16GB RAM.
- HDD: 45GB HD space.
Those preordering the game can purchase the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Dark Edition for $200, which will include a pair of working night vision goggles.
A modern retelling
Infinity Ward will officially reveal the details of Modern Warfare's campaign at the end of September. The first trailer shows snippets that will be familiar to fans of the series, including the appearance of SAS Captain John Price, who is a central character in the Modern Warfare games.
The official description for the game says: "Players will engage in breathtaking covert operations alongside a diverse cast of international special forces throughout iconic European cities and volatile expanses of the Middle East."
In the original CoD 4, the leader of a coup in the Middle East is secretly being supported by Russian ultranationalists who want to revert the country to the Cold War era. Players control American and British operatives who are trying to stop nuclear destruction in missions set across the globe. As this is a re-imagining of the game, Modern Warfare may offer an alternate timeline to the events that happened in the original game.
Modern multiplayer madness
Multiplayer is the bread and butter of the Call of Duty series. In Modern Warfare, the game will make some additions, big and small.
On the small side, Infinity Ward developed a new 2vs2 multiplayer called Gunfight. Duos will face off in a small arena and everyone will have the same main weapon, sidearm, lethal grenade and tactical grenade. Players' equipment will change every two rounds and the first team to win six rounds wins the match. Matches can last a few minutes to a few seconds depending on the team.
Modern Warfare will then go big with Ground War, a mode that supports more than 100 players. Early impressions show players will have a big map to play on with vehicles to drive and killstreaks going off left and right.
There will also be the traditional smaller teams of four versus four, six versus six and so on.
Modern Warfare players who already played in the beta appeared to have come across an option for loot boxes. One Twitter user tweeted a screenshot Sept. 12 showing a loot box listed as "common supply drop." It's unclear what's in the box.
Beta players also noticed that the nuke killstreak is in the game's multiplayer. This was confirmed by a Sept. 12 tweet from Ashton Williams, senior communications manager for Infinity Ward.
In 2009's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, players could call down a nuclear strike after racking up 25 kills in a row. Using a nuke would automatically end the match, and the team with the player who used the killstreak would win the match.
Infinity Ward will also add an extensive number of changes to the game's physics to add another layer of realism. Higher-caliber weapons will penetrate structures better than other weapons, guns can be mounted against surfaces to help reduce recoil and doors can now be breached with grenades. There will also be new finishing moves available for players who get in close to do a knife kill and want to show off a little.
Infinity Ward held a livestream on Sept. 17 to talk about the new Ground War mode that became available in the upcoming crossplay beta starting Sept. 19. Karst River Quarry is a large map that will have two teams of 32 players battle each other. One of the developers said spawn points are important for the development team because on a map so big they don't want players having to run long distances after respawning. In a Ground War match, players will be able to respawn near a teammate, in a vehicle driven by a teammate or at critical points on the map where all the other teammates should be.
Players who participate in the weekend beta and reach level 10 will receive a 725-shotgun blueprint. Blueprints can be customized in various ways such as changing the barrel or color by the players when they go to the gunsmith.
This beta will also be the first time a Call of Duty game will have cross-platform play. Players will need to make a CoD account and create a display name that will appear across all platforms. People can form parties with friends on any platform and can speak with each other via in-game voice chat. Each player will have an icon signifying if they're playing on the PS4, Xbox One or PC.
As this is cross-platform play, Infinity Ward also implemented parameters in its matchmaking system to put players with a mouse and keyboard with others using the same. This means those with controllers are likely to play against each other, too. In FPS games, a mouse-and-keyboard is considered to be a superior control option compared with a traditional gamepad, so keeping players separate will help reduce some frustration. However, there may be instances where the two control schemes will play in the same match, for example, if there are a limited number of players available at the time or if players' skill levels are on par with each other.
Infinity Ward also confirmed that most post-launch content will appear on all three platforms at the same time. In previous years, one console would receive content days if not weeks before the others depending on what partnership there was with publisher Activision.
Players in the crossplay beta noticed that there is cross-progression, which means a player on one platform can start playing on another and carry over their stats. Infinity Ward has yet to confirm this feature for the game.
A clip showed up on Reddit on Sept. 23 featuring the full Modern Warfare campaign video. In the trailer, Capt. John Price is seen talking about tracking down the terrorists behind some attacks. There are also a few scenes with John "Soap" MacTavish, who was the character that players used during the game.
The trailer did make its official debut during Sony's State of Play event on Sept. 24.
On the PlayStation YouTube channel, the same trailer is available to watch, but it ends with a message saying "Special Ops Survival Mode. Play first on PS4." According to the fine print on the trailer, this is a timed exclusive until Oct. 1, 2020.
Spec Ops is the cooperative multiplayer for Modern Warfare, and Survival Mode is where players team up to fend off wave after wave of enemies. Fans of the series immediately took to social media to denounce the mode's exclusivity. A Reddit user posted a thread on Modern Warfare subreddit on Sept. 23 about canceling their preorder for the game. Others also said they would do the same. PS4 owners also expressed their solidarity with Xbox One owners over this move by Infinity Ward and Activision.
Taylor Kurosaki, studio narrative director at Infinity Ward, took to Twitter on Sept. 24 to clear up confusion about the mode's exclusivity. He says Survival Mode is only a "sliver" of the entire Spec Ops and that all players would receive the same content after the launch of the game.
Other users replied to Kurosaki saying they were disappointed with the decision and one stated he would cancel his preorder.
Another controversy grew following the trailer revealed during Sony's State of Play. YouTuber The Gaming Revolution tweeted that in-game cosmetics, weapons and other content would be available only in supply drops, which are the loot boxes for the game.
According to him, his tweet was copied and pasted from a source with knowledge of the upcoming microtransactions.
Joel Emslie, studio art director for Infinity Ward, responded to the recent outrage on Reddit on Sept. 26. In a thread, he wanted to let the Modern Warfare community know that the studio is listening to its concerns about microtransactions and the PS4 exclusive Survival Mode. He also hoped that those mad at the studio will also take it easy on the developers.
"Get it out of your system but remember there's a team of human beings here at IW and we have crappy days just like you," he said. "Our interest is entirely in the game itself. My ask of all of you is to focus on information that is actually fact and not get thrown off by ill-informed people that want to make a name for themselves by spreading half baked inflammatory rumors."
On Oct. 8, Infinity Ward revealed the Spec Ops Operations mode for all platforms. Four players team-up for a campaign across several areas with a goal of infiltrating and stopping the plans of the Al-Qatala army.
Missions is another co-op mode available that lets players replay parts of the campaign and grades players on their performance.
Worries about possible microtransactions continue to thrive in the Modern Warfare community. Joel Emslie, studio art director for Infinity Ward, took to Reddit on Oct. 14 to talk about the concerns some players are having.
"There continues to be misinformed and incorrect info being pushed about Modern Warfare," he said. "What I can say right now is that we are definitely NOT working on any kind of supply drop or loot box system. Also, functional stuff is unlocked through GAMEPLAY."
This was first published on Sept. 9 and is updated as new information is revealed.