After months of teasers, alleged leaks, outright lies, and wild speculation, we now know when we’re getting the next major installment in the Call of Duty series. It’s hitting stores on October 25th, 2019, and it’s going by the simple name of ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.’ That’s a title that we’ve heard before, and as the re-use of the old title suggests, it means the series is returning to its own past to draw fresh inspiration.
If you ask its devoted base of players – and there are millions of them – there’s no such thing as a truly ‘bad’ Call of Duty game. There are some which have broadly been perceived to be better than others, but most players have found at least something to enjoy about almost every installment in the series, even if it is only the multiplayer mode. If there has been a recurring criticism in more recent years, it’s been that the focus on ultra-realism has been lost.
Perhaps stung by criticism that some previous Call of Duty storylines have been a little too close to real-world events for comfort, Activision and Infinity Ward have chosen to base several of the more recent games in obviously fictional worlds. It started off with the inclusion of Nazi Zombies going from a fun bonus mode to an apparently integral part of almost every release. Then, we had a futuristic and obviously fictional setting for Ghosts, Advanced Warfare, and Infinite Warfare. The most recent batch of ‘Black Ops’ variants, too, have taken place in environments which are clearly not from our own world. The new Modern Warfare is putting both feet firmly back into the here and now of 2019, and so presumably the developers have steeled themselves for all the criticism that’s likely to come their way because of the decision.
Single Player Campaign Mode Is Back
One of the more curious aspects of Black Ops 4 is that it didn’t have a proper single player story mode at all. It was as if Activision had decided that players only bought their game for the multiplayer features anyway, and so they didn’t need to bother including one anymore. That drew criticism from some players, who felt it was a sign of laziness, and expressed strongly-worded opinions that the feature should return in future incarnations of the game if everyone was expected to carry on spending money on the releases. It appears those opinions have been listened to; the single-player mode is going to be the main focus of the new game.
The name of the country, Urzikstan, is still a fictional creation, but it’s intended to substitute for one of may Middle Eastern countries where civil war is rife, foreign influence is plentiful, and the local area has become a battlefield in a proxy war. To help things along, legendary Call of Duty character Captain Price has been recalled to action in command of a British special operatives team, charged with disrupting terrorist cells within the country. The game will also offer players the change to take charge of a female-led rebel group active within the war-torn nation; one which Infinity Ward has openly admitted has been based on real-world militia groups who are currently active within both Iraq and Syria. No Nazi zombies, no space-age weaponry – just a gritty simulation of what life is really like for Allied soldiers battling in remote parts of the world in the here and now.
What Else To Expect?
In the initial promotion slew of information that was released along with the announcement of the new game, Activision announced a series of changes which also hopefully indicate they’ve been listening to feedback from players. The return of classic characters from the past (we’ve been promised that Captain Price won’t be the only one) has been touted, along with a new-co-op modes, full and uninterrupted cross-platform support, a totally new gameplay engine that should make Modern Warfare stand out from anything that’s come before it, and the access to additional content and maps without the need to pay out for a season pass. All of this sounds like user-friendly content, and if it is what it appears to be at face value, we welcome it.
A Movie Tie-In?
There is a further possibility that nobody else currently seems to be considering. There’s been a Call of Duty movie in the works for years now, and as of the start of 2019, it appears to be moving closer to becoming a reality. The general belief is that pre-production on the film quietly started some time ago, with a 2020 release projected, although late 2019 is also a possibility. Given that the release dates of major video games inevitably end up slipping back, would it be out of the question to assume some kind of connection between the game and the film? It seems unlikely that there won’t be a game based on the film, and so given the apparent short space of time between one and the other, Modern Warfare might be that game. It could even be the name of the film. Activision has already stated that the new game is set in an alternate reality to the previous Modern Warfare games, so there’s no backstory or established continuity to get in the way.
The move to the big screen feels overdue for the franchise. There have been video game series that have been barely half as successful, and still received the movie treatment. Once Call of Duty makes the jump, it will complete the ‘full set’ of tie ins, which already includes a range of toys by Mattel, and an official casino game based on Modern Warfare 4, in which players can win money by dispatching enemy soldiers. There’s even a tongue-in-cheek slot game called Call of Fruity which ‘borrows’ from the themes of the games to appeal to players. The presence of Call of Duty-themed games in the world of online casinos and their sister sites is evidence of the enormous appeal of the brand name, and the willingness of fans to spend money on it. For that reason we expect the film to be a big success, and so any game based on or related to the film has the potential to be the highest-profile Call of Duty hit game to date.
Whatever the reality turns out to be, we know that we – and probably also you – will be buying the game upon release and playing it for hours. As more news develops, and full previews become available, we’ll be bringing you all the information right here.