Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II preview — it is leisure, not gritty realism

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When Infinity Ward talked in regards to the marketing campaign for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in 2019, it stated the story was so gritty and real looking that it felt prefer it was “ripped from the headlines.” But this time, as studio head Patrick Kelly unveiled the sequel Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II earlier than a press group final week in Los Angeles, he stated it was about an “entertainment adventure.”

This was an fascinating technique to see our preview of the sport from Activision Blizzard’s military of Call of Duty builders who’re toiling to ship the sport on October 28.

Indeed, Modern Warfare touched on some very uncomfortable topics, like capturing civilians who seemed like terrorists, little one warriors, chemical warfare, and torture. But whereas this sport will nonetheless put gamers into the footwear of troopers with tough missions, it would dwell on army fight, Kelly stated.

“We want the game to be an entertainment adventure,” he stated. “I am proud of what we did in 2019. But there was a lot of stuff that was at times provocative or uncomfortable. We’re trying to focus a bit more on entertainment and having fun.”

Kelly didn’t step into the controversy about gun violence within the U.S. Nor did he handle the tough time the corporate had as Activision Blizzard was hit with a serious sexual harassment lawsuit final yr. But he did reply after I requested him in regards to the distinction between the civilian deaths within the 2019 sport and the emphasis on military-versus-military motion on this sport. I puzzled if that’s what he meant in regards to the distinction between leisure and “uncomfortable” content material.

He stated that was right. And he famous that the studio has a really large workplace in Krakow, Poland, a really quick distance from the border the place Ukrainians are preventing for his or her lives in opposition to the Russian invasion.

“It is fiction, but it’s inspired by real-world events that shape the world we live in,” Kelly stated. “We have a team in Krakow, Poland, who are easy driving distance from Ukraine. We have people who worked on this game who are in war-torn parts of Ukraine. It has been particularly sensitive for us as a team. You would never want to see a person on the team uncomfortable with something you’re doing — especially if it is something we are living through. We endeavor to treat sensitive material the best way we can. But we are also trying to make a game that is reflective of the world we live in.”

With that in thoughts, the crew needed to make a sport the place the participant is heroic and likewise human. The participant can get a way of being a hero able to doing nice issues. But the troopers in Modern Warfare will not be superheroes, Kelly stated.

What’s completely different versus Modern Warfare

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Captain Price leads the way in which within the “Townhouse” scene.

That tells you that the sport is completely different when it comes to its material and the way painful it’s to play for avid gamers and the way mature the viewers must be. I feel it means Infinity Ward is conscious that in the event that they make their viewers really feel too uncomfortable, they’ll lose their standing as a franchise for the mainstream avid gamers. And that may very well be fairly expensive.

But each Kelly and head author Brian Bloom each stated that doesn’t imply the story is all pleasantries. It will present troopers who face moral dilemmas and query themselves about how far they need to go to defeat the enemy.

Based on Infinity Ward’s core pillars for the title, a Call of Duty sport shouldn’t require any directions and it needs to be enjoyable for everyone, not simply the toughest core gamers (amen to that).

The crew didn’t attempt to make the sport extra advanced, or to alter issues that weren’t damaged, stated Kelly and senior animation director Mark Grigsby. But it did deal with challenges in making the sport higher.

“Is the game cool? Is it realistic? Hopefully, yes. But not over-the-top overly sensationalized,” Kelly stated. “We’ve really endeavored to find the balance.”

Kelly talked about this sport makes use of a common engine throughout all of Call of Duty now, relatively than separate engines for every main studio. That makes it simpler for 9 completely different studios to work on the sport (in comparison with 5 for the 2019 sport). And that was vital as a result of the crew needed to make the sport from their properties through the pandemic. The builders at the moment are unfold out from Mexico City to Los Angeles to Poland. The studio additionally began operations in Austin, Texas.

“We’re out to make the best shit we’ve ever made,” stated Jeff Negus, narrative director at Infinity Ward.

The story up to now

Farah Ahmed Karim is the leader of rebel forces in Urzikstan in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
Farah Ahmed Karim was the chief of insurgent forces in Urzikstan in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in 2019.

The first sport ends with a defeat of each the rogue Russian basic and the terrorist group Al-Qatala (a attainable proxy for Al-Qaeda). CIA Station Chief Kate Laswell and SAS Captain John Price started to assemble Task Force 141, an anti-terrorist strike crew.

Since the tip of the primary sport, Task Force 141 has been working world wide with intelligence from Laswell and Price within the lead position together with Sergeant Kyle “Gaz” Garrick, John “Soap” McTavish and Simon “Ghost” Riley . While Ghost is a loner veteran, Soap is a younger however hard-charging rookie.

Laswell was simply an intelligence officer in a mission management position, however this time she’s going to get extra concerned in precise missions, Bloom stated. A brand new character is Colonel Alejandro Vargas of the Mexican Special Forces, who is predicated on actual troopers in Mexico who have been interviewed by the crew’s technical advisers. Another new character is commander Phillip Graves, the operator of a non-public army contractor agency. His agency can go into locations that Task Force 141 or the official army can’t deploy.

One of the issues that carried over from the earlier sport was a dialog between Gaz and Price, the place Gaz requested the place they might draw the road on what they might do. Price stated, “You draw the line wherever you need it. We get dirty and the world stays clean.”

Negus stated they’re working with that and asking if they should grow to be the factor you’re attempting to defeat so as to destroy it. You might need to make unholy alliances. And Bloom stated the hot button is ensuring that you’ve the precise crew.

The sport will cowl territories in Europe, the Middle East, and Mexico. Bloom instructed me that Mexico’s expertise with the drug battle is related, however the missions that happen there aren’t solely about eradicating drug lords. Rather, there’s a massive objective in unraveling a world risk.

The preview ranges

Get ready for a big night battle in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II.
Get prepared for a giant night time battle in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II.

We noticed the primary degree of the sport performed by Infinity Ward builders. In the Night War degree, Laswell has intelligence on a captive being held by the Al-Qatala terrorists. They are a skilled preventing pressure and higher armed, because of a nasty man named Major Hassan. The Task Force lands at night time to take three buildings the place Hassan could also be.

Soap goes in with particular operations marine troopers in helicopters at night time. They flip on their night time imaginative and prescient goggles. But one helicopter will get shot out of the sky with rockets and the troopers need to storm the buildings. You tackle the well-armed terrorists and battle room to room, door to door. You take out the rocket launcher and discover that a large enemy pressure is beginning to converge on the homes. The demo stopped there.

John O’Hara, sport director, stated that the mission was impressed by footage from the primary Gulf War that confirmed what night time preventing was like with Apache helicopters. So the concept was the create a giant battle with the night time imaginative and prescient tools.

The second mission we noticed continues to be below embargo, however we’ll simply say it was knives as an alternative of weapons. Another mission we briefly noticed befell in downtown Chicago, with Task Force 141 on the lookout for Hassan. In this mission, the operators repel down a glass skyscraper to search out the goal. You can descend toe-down or toe-up. You can stroll down the tower, along with your face towards the bottom, or descend along with your again towards the bottom. It could be disorienting, however it’s important to select which technique to go down, who to have interaction first, after which discover the goal. It’s form of like a sandbox mission in that approach, O’Hara stated.

The setting presents actual selection. The concept was to take among the particular missions from the final sport, like sniping at a really lengthy vary, and turning that into one thing else. This time, the sniping takes place in a grassy space. There’s a mission with Ghost, who has to maneuver in stealth whereas evading plenty of of enemies. That’s harking back to the mission with the embassy employee Stacy attempting to flee the Al-Qatala forces in an American embassy within the earlier sport.

There can be a automotive chase mission the place it’s important to soar from automobile to automobile and typically pull drivers out and throw them to the bottom whereas the automobiles are shifting quick. This is one thing that might carry over to helicopters and gameplay in Warzone 2.

One of the opposite improvements within the gameplay was shifting cowl within the type of freight containers aboard a giant ship. The ship is on rocky seas, and the containers roll throughout the floor of a giant ship and an oil rig within the ocean. You need to attempt to transfer and shoot and outmaneuver enemies all whereas the iron containers are attempting to crush you.

The animation of the water itself in a bodily correct approach is a problem that Infinity Ward took time with and you will notice that within the sport, O’Hara stated. You’ll see the water reflecting mild and varied results just like the blurring of photographs both above or below the water. This tech will show helpful in different video games corresponding to Warzone 2 coming later.

Grigsby, the animation chief, stated that you just’ll see AI non-player characters behave extra intelligently. They will spherical corners in a cautious approach and test each nook as they attempt to seek out the human gamers on a map.

Multiplayer design

The Night War level of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II.
The Night War degree of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II.

O’Hara stated you’ll see massive maps with massive numbers of AI characters in each multiplayer and Warzone 2. Oh, and also you’ll see the return of the Gunfight one-on-one or two-on-two mode in multiplayer.

Geoffrey Smith, head of multiplayer design, stated that one of many concepts was embracing emergent play, which was one of many classes of 2019’s Warzone, the place gamers would do issues like chop one another up with helicopter blades. Smith stated he was shocked when gamers who performed run-and-gun shut fight would use sniper rifles, mastering the artwork of “quick scoping” to shoot gamers at shut vary. The lesson was to embrace new playstyles, and these playstyles knowledgeable the multiplayer design.

O’Hara stated you’ll have the ability to customise your weapons in a bunch extra detailed methods with the Gunsmith instrument in multiplayer gaming. As you play with a gun, you’ll unlock new attachments and pursue completely different playstyles along with your arsenal. You’ll see significant development, he stated.

“For the players, it’s a game within a game,” O’Hara stated.

One of the cool concepts is an inflatable decoy which you can deploy. It seems to be like an actual soldier however doesn’t transfer. If you shoot it, it deflates. That provides your place away. There are different methods, like hacking tools and making use of the enemy’s cameras. Some of the maps embrace a vibrant Grand Prix map in Asia and a contemporary museum in Spain.

Warzone 2.0

Call of Duty: Warzone.
Call of Duty: Warzone is one in every of Activision Blizzard’s large video games.

Soon after Modern Warfare II launches on October 28, a completely new Warzone will launch as an extension of the Modern Warfare II universe. With it comes new know-how, new options, and new gameplay that work seamlessly collectively.

Activision stated that it has taken a variety of group suggestions to coronary heart. In order to totally ship this state-of-the-art expertise, Warzone 2.0 will function new Modern Warfare II content material and techniques with model new development and inventories.

But Warzone 1.0 will proceed on as a separate expertise that can embrace a continuation of participant development and inventories inside that Warzone expertise. The firm will share particulars on that quickly


The team is everything in
The crew is all the pieces in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II.

I performed some multiplayer however my impressions of that shall be coming later. I feel that the single-player marketing campaign seems to be good, and I recognize that Infinity Ward has been capable of keep true to the Call of Duty canon with out going too sensational or too over-the-top with violence — a minimum of from what I can keep up to now.

These varied issues I’ve described about Modern Warfare II would possibly seem to be small modifications and tweaks. But as they are saying, if it ain’t broke, don’t repair it. We’ll see if these incremental modifications will give gamers precisely what they need, which is probably a extra trendy model of one in every of their favourite video games of all time. I’m trying ahead to taking part in it extra and I’ve an open thoughts now. I do just like the strategy of staying away from the controversial edge whereas embracing the ethical dilemmas of recent warfare.

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