Outrageously erroneous name aside, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is shaping up to be the most revolutionary CoD title in the last decade. While that’s a line we’ve heard again and again from Activision talking heads following the announcement of the next annual installment of the series, that claim seems to ring true this time around.
One major change to the franchise’s classic multiplayer mode is that it will focus on realism and customization. Previous titles allowed players to modify their classes and load-outs to a fairly extensive degree, but this is on another level entirely.
Referred to in-game as “gunsmithing,” CoD players will be able to quite literally tear apart their weapons and build them from the ground up the way they see fit. We’ve seen things like optional weapon sights and various attachments in previous games, but the customization is so extensive here that two copies of the same rifle, shotgun, or SMG could be unrecognizable from each other.
Things like barrels, sights, stocks, magazine types, grips, and so forth can be swapped out and calibrated so that each weapon feels tailor-made. In proceeding games, if a player picked up someone else’s gun, they’d have a good idea what they were in for just by reading the name of the weapon. That absolutely won’t be the case in Modern Warfare, and it’ll be interesting to see just how wildly varied the game’s arsenal will be.
Another interesting thing to note is that the “Pick 10” system featured in just about every Call of Duty multiplayer installment since 2012’s Black Ops 2 is nowhere to be found. Instead, the more basic class system seen in games like the original Modern Warfare makes a return. Players pick one primary weapon, one sidearm, lethal and tactical grenades, three perks, and a set of killstreaks. While this may restrain more inventive players, much of the create-a-class experience now relies on specing out your primary.
What’s more, Modern Warfare players will also be thrust into more unique and various situations than ever before. Though multiplayer staples make a return, this new entry is touting an all-new realistic and nighttime mode, as well as new and innovative 2v2 and 20v20 modes. There are also rumors of a 50v50 mode, though that seems like a pipe dream at this point.
The one bummer here is that this is Activision we’re talking about, and all this talk of enhanced customization will surely come with a few caveats. Their love of microtransactions in premium games knows no bounds, and who's to say that they won’t gate certain attachments behind a paywall or restrict their use based on a timed system a la some freemium games? Plus, we all know that this title will come packed to the brim with weapon skins for which players will either have to grind extensively or shell out a few extra dollars.
Still, this is a definite breath of fresh air for a series which has remained infuriatingly stagnant for an absurd amount of time. It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen the release of a truly landmark Call of Duty title, and, while it’s certainly far too early to proclaim Modern Warfare as just that, it may, at the very least, be a worthy competitor to the other popular competitive shooters on the market right now.