Editors Note: Activision Publishing Inc. provided us with travel and lodging to visit Infinity Ward studio for a preview event.
After looking at that trailer, you may have seen something particular about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare — how realistic this Call of Duty game is. In fact, it’s the realest Call of Duty game we’ve ever had — and that was Infinity Ward’s full intention going into making Modern Warfare. If you thought No Russian was the worst they’ve done, this game matches that level of intensity in many aspects.
During a studio visit last week at Infinity Ward, the team showed us campaign gameplay from two separate missions showcasing some of the story and how the game looks.
Everything we saw was shown in-game on PlayStation 4 (this was made very clear, it’s PS4 gameplay in-game), and the graphics are the best we’ve seen in Call of Duty yet.
Here’s an overview of the missions shown:
London / Navy SEAL Raid Mission:
The first campaign mission took place in October 2019 in London. (Yes, this game is literally a modern game, set in the current year.) The mission started off in the streets of London, as a British Police Officer is approaching a suspicious vehicle. Two individuals come running out of the vehicle and the officers start yelling at them to stop moving. As the officers and individuals get closer, the vehicle that dropped them off slaps the accelerator forward and the car blows up — leading to a major attack.
The screen shifts to a debrief on the attack about what happened there, and it starts discussing the locations of where the attackers who planned it could be hiding. The demo then picks up with a Navy SEAL team about to breach a house. We are following and playing as a Navy Seal.
The mission takes place in October 20, 2019.
The SEAL team starts to breach the house through a back gate that is open. There is a team at the front too, but we follow the back door team as they enter this house.
They start to approach the house with NVG off, but as they enter the house turn on their NVG. On the first floor, they approach a dining room that has three individuals. At this point, your character shoots the lights to dim the whole place. Then, the SEALs move in to take out all three suspects in the room with a silenced weapon. A women in the room runs for a gun but is shot down before she can fire it. The front door opens and the second SEAL team enters.
They then move floor by floor to clear out all of the suspects. As the move up to the second floor, they approach a room and break down the door.
On the second floor, they approach cautiously to a room in their sights. As they are about to breach, someone inside fires multiple rounds towards them through the door. Your character goes full prone and starts shooting right back. The breach the room and ensure the suspect is down. They hear someone in the bathroom hiding and the suspect starts to fire through the walls. Your character falls to the ground again and then starts getting up slowly as he fires through the wall to take out the enemy. You then open the door and see the enemy dead with blood splattered across the bathroom.
On the third floor, this is where the mission gets a little more dramatic. You breach into a room and look to your left to a baby yelling and crying. You see the mom start to slowly back up towards the baby, and the SEALs are yelling at her to stop moving because they fear she has a gun. A SEAL soldier runs towards the mom and was able to get to her before she could get any weapon. (Side note: I honestly thought they were about to shoot the mom with how the mission was going along, but they did not). Another soldier says “silence the baby” as he would not stop crying. The SEALs move towards a side bedroom on this floor and there’s a suspect hiding, leaning over the wall with a weapon about to fire. You take cover. The suspect lunges underneath a bed, but the SEAL spots the movement and fires at him before he can make another move. They then move towards the highest floor of the house.
On the highest floor, they breach a room where and see a woman who is attempting to access some data. They start to approach her and yell at her to stop moving or they’ll shoot. The woman still keeps tip-toeing backwards and as she reaches for something, the SEAL shoots her multiple times. You see on the desk that she was going to grab a hammer to use as a weapon. Once you take out this woman at the top floor, the mission enters a quick debrief and ends.
For this mission, the entire house was recreated 1:1 from a real set to in-game with each floor have different targets and different suspect locations. Infinity Ward confirmed that there is more of these “1:1” breach style missions in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
The second mission we were shown was a flashback mission that gives us a look as to why two rebel fighters that are part of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare became rebel fighters. These fighters will connect with Captain Price throughout the Modern Warfare story (they did not show us this, but mentioned it to us), but this specific mission features a look 20 years ago as to the story behind the motivation for these rebel fights.
As a note: this part of the demo shown to us, including cut scenes and gameplay, was from the daughter’s perspective.
The scene starts off with a big explosion in a country in the Middle East. After the explosion occurs, we are taken into the perspective of a female child who is stuck under all of the rubble caused by the explosion. The explosion was a drone strike (by I believe Russia). She is panicking and yelling for help. Another girl is stuck next to her but unresponsive. She tries to push around the fallen rocks and cement slabs off of her, but she is too small. We then hear someone come from above them and remove the rubble to see the girl stuck in there. Frantically, many more people come to remove the remaining rubble (even using a saw at one point). Once it’s removed, they pull the girl out, and she goes to her father’s hand, who starts asking where is her brother. The other girl with her in the rubble does not appear to survive. Now, another airstrike drops on the location.
The father picks up the girl and they both start running to find where her brother is. The sister says the brother stayed at home to study, so he wasn’t with her. They have to get back home to find the brother, but during the run back, Russian soldiers come in on vehicles, jump out of the vehicles, and just start shooting everyone — you can hear women, children screaming not to be shot; men and women yelling in pain. The father puts the kid down and tells her to follow behind him. As they start running and getting closer to their house, the Russian soldiers throw some sort of nerve/lethal gas. They bust inside their house, shut the door, and find the brother. They converse about what they must to do next (and the girl/boy are given cell phones). The father reveals that their mother has been killed. The father hands the boy a gas mask, tells him that the daughter will be okay without a mask right now, and prepare to leave.
A Russian soldier is ordered to check door to door and comes into their house before they can leave. The father pleads with him not to shoot because there are children in the house. The father then lunges towards the attacker to take the weapon away and stab him. The little boy tries to help the father take down the attacker, but the attacker throws the boy into the door, knocking him out. The Russian soldier is a lot stronger and shoots the father numerous times — in front of the daughter. The daughter runs for her cover. The soldier starts to search for her around the house, and she starts to run into vents. This begins a little cat and mouse style chase. She picks up a screwdriver, runs at him, stabs him in the leg. He yells. The girl runs again, back for cover as the attacker is not subdued. They go around in this cat and mouse style chase for two more times with the girl stabbing him repeatedly in the legs with a screwdriver, and then, the brother wakes up. The action movies to the kitchen of the house, where a fight ensues again. The daughter stabs this attacker, alongside the brother trying to choke him out. As the man is brought down, the daughter finally gets a hold of the AK of the attacker and shoots him numerous times. The brother and sister converse about what they need to do, and the girl takes off the attacker’s gas mask to use for herself.
Now, the two kids walk over to their father — with tears shown on the screen. The father is on his last breathe, telling the kids they must do anything they have to in order to survive. He then dies.
The two kids decide to leave the house, both wearing gas masks. The girl gets on the boy’s foot to use as a pedestal to break the door’s jammed lock. It now turns into a stealth style mission.
The two kids have to get across a long area where Russian soldiers are standing around, laughing at and murdering the civilians on the streets. As they are walking, you can hear the solider say that they are “rounding up” some of the women and children to take away, but then says that the women in front of him is too beaten up. You then hear gun shots.
Then, a civilian who is injured sees the boy and grabs his mask, which momentarily falls off, begging for help. The kids both stumble over this man and keep running (the injured civilian chokes to death on the nerve gas), but the boy’s mask being off for a second causes him to start coughing due to the gas. The kids continue to run until they are out of the gas-filled area. They both take off their gas masks and start to search for a way to escape. They come up on a small village area and witness more soldiers killing civilians. The kids run through a shed as bullets fly over their head and you hear civilians yelling.
They come up on another area not too far where they see a truck they need to take in order to get out. Since the boy is coughing, the girl says she will grab a gun and kill them both but needs a distraction. The boy walks to the other side of this fence, while the girl starts to slowly go closer. She sees a gun on the table, a .44 Magnum, and needs a distraction to get it. She pulls out her phone and calls her brother’s phone, which leads the two Russian soldier to investigate that ringing. The girl runs over and grabs the weapon, and starts to make her way into a position to shoot the Russian solider. She pulls up the gun, shaking a lot, and points it at the head of the attacker. We hear a *bang* and the screen goes black.
That’s all they were willing to show us of that flashback for our event.
These two campaign missions set up the direction Infinity Ward seems to be wanting to go with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
There’s a lot there, and you can check out my impressions of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Campaign in a new post here.
For more of our coverage on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, check out our page for all the news we’ve posted here.
Ranking the 10 best Call of Duty maps ever
In nearly 20 years of Call of Duty games, which maps do we consider to be the absolute best? Find out as we rank the top 10 CoD maps ever.
After playing Call of Duty games for so many years, it’s often crossed our mind, which is the best CoD map of all time? So we’ve gone through them all, and come up with what we believe to be the 10 best ever, and ranked them.
Between Infinity Ward, Treyarch, Sledgehammer Games, and Raven Software, the franchise’s main developers have created some astonishingly good maps over the years. Some have stood the test of time, with some becoming recurring features in multiple CoD games.
We decided to take the unenviable task of going through every single Call of Duty online multiplayer map and trying to pick the top 10 ever. Some CoD games don’t feature at all, and that doesn’t necessarily mean they were bad games, it’s just that some did it better.
Here is our official ranking of Call of Duty’s 10 best maps ever.
10. The Pines
Black Ops Cold War probably won’t go down in the annals as an all-time great, but it’s had plenty of highspots, including The Pines.
A throwback to a certain, classic 1980s film, The Pines has a great environment to explore with frantic battles in shops, lots of verticality, several perch-type spots, and the middle of the map is very accessible thanks to walls and its fountain.
Also, see where it ranked on our list of the best Black Ops Cold War maps!
Modern Warfare 2 gave birth to the craziness of 360 no-scoping, quickscoping, and various other ridiculous sniping tricks that would become permanently etched in the early days of YouTube.
Lots of players we know now got their start using Highrise to climb to fame, and that’s also because it’s a great map. You can always use either building to become engaged in heated battles and use them for range before inevitably flying down to the rooftop below for even more conflict.
On the other hand, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare’s Bloc is probably the finest example of a sniping map in the series’ storied history.
Its predominant feature is the two opposing, war-torn apartment blocs that are quite literally set up for a battle of Sniper Rifles. It’s always great fun moving from window to window and changing floors to vary your attack. If that wasn’t your thing, then Bloc has plenty of avenues to storm both buildings and move around the edges of the map to ambush.
Before “1v1 me in the Gulag“, there was Rust. Taking the idea of a small map from CoD4’s Shipment, Rust still manages to create a small playground but added so many possibilities.
From its stairs-esque shaft to the ladder taking you to the top, there are so many ways you could get the jump on your opponent. Rust also has a myriad of crevices to move around in, making this tiny map feel massive.
Rammaza is not only a bright spot in an otherwise divisive 2019 Modern Warfare reboot, it’s also just a classic Call of Duty map.
With three different levels of fighting possible, a multitude of different ladders and stairs to allow fluid traversal, Rammaza is just big enough and has all its obstacles in the right place. It’s a great map on any game mode and one that we’d definitely like to see return.
There isn’t a wasted space in quite a sizable Strike map. The spawn points are well-hidden and it doesn’t feel bare in any parts.
It has several key spots such as the iconic middle building, the kitchen area, the houses near each spawn, and there are genuinely so many different ways to play it. Search & Destroy was a particular delight to play on Strike, and it’s aged very well.
Raid might be the most scenic and stunning map on this list with this luxurious hollywood home boasting incredible architecture, mega-expensive sports cars, and even its own basketball court.
The map just feels unique and underlines this by allowing you to swim under its pool. It’s well-connected by the middle’s garden area and again, firefights can literally take place anywhere on the map. It was one of Black Ops Cold War’s first classic maps to be added to the game, and that’s because it’s still incredibly popular to do this day.
3. Firing Range
Another smaller map that manages to cram so much into it that it’s hard not to love. The concept is great as we’ve found ourselves on these practice ranges in multiple CoD games, so now actually trying to kill people on it feels apt.
Firing Range is a hotbed for high-scoring games, but unlike a map such as Nuketown, Firing Range feels fair and doesn’t feel like you’ll be spawn-trapped for multiple deaths in a row. It’s definitely the best “small” map in Call of Duty history and we’re sure we’ll be seeing it for multiple games to come.
To many, the top spot is always going to boil down between one of two maps, and our number two spot goes to Terminal. If the action had perhaps been locked down to only the outside or inside, then Terminal wouldn’t fair so well.
But thankfully it doesn’t, and it leads to lots of crazy matches with close-range combat, long-range sniping, and everything in-between. Terminal perfectly manages to capture the balance of gameplay, whilst providing a cool backdrop at the same time.
The best map honor goes to Crash. If the sight of that destroyed helicopter doesn’t make you feel nostalgic then you probably never played Call of Duty 4. Infinity Ward’s take on modern warfare changed first-person shooters forever, and Crash is symbolic of this.
Gone were the days of the arena shooter, Crash represented a new era of detailed, intricate, multi-channeled maps with new ways to play each time. Whether you stayed at the top of the street to snipe down a lane, or headed to the bottom to ascend the three-story building, Crash had everything and more to make a map you wanted to play time and time again.
Which is why we believe it’s the best map in Call of Duty history.
Also, check out our 5 best Call of Duty games ever ranked: Full tier list too.
Image credits: Activision / Infinity Ward / Treyarch / Sledgehammer Games
Warzone development started in late 2017, built to match Modern Warfare feel
An interview with Infinity Ward reveals the difficulty of making Warzone, and how it was always supposed to play like Modern Warfare.
An interview with Infinity Ward’s co-studio heads describes the process involved with making Warzone, the pressure of pitching it to Activision, and how it was never meant to “step on Treyarch’s toes.”
The idea of Warzone seems like such a basic concept and you wonder why it took so long to fashion it. Fortnite launched in July 2017, and it would be nearly three years until Call of Duty followed suit with its own fully-realized version of battle royale.
Black Ops IIII’s Blackout mode certainly captured some of this vision, but Warzone is an all-encompassing experience that truly captures the magic of the last man standing format and is heading for Season 3.
Yet the 2017 vision for Warzone almost proved too much as it required a massive undertaking – casting doubt in Activision minds.
In the interview with Washington Post, Infinity Ward’s Co-Studio Heads, Patrick Kelly & Dave Stohl, described how Call of Duty: Warzone was created and pitched to Activision executives.
Kelly states as part of the interview that Call of Duty: Warzone’s development pitch occurred in early 2018 when Infinity Ward leads convened with Activision executives to pitch this idea.
Warzone’s code name at the time was Magma.
Kelly re-called some parts of his pitch for the interview. “Okay, so here’s the thing,” Kelly said, reenacting his pitch to the Activision executives. “We want to have the same fidelity [in ‘Warzone’] as the rest of the game. And we want [players] to be able to go in every one of the buildings. And we want to have these [mission] contracts and we want to have really unique geography all over the world.”
The ambition behind Warzone was big at the time.
“And, by the way, this is going to be a massive art undertaking. And, by the way, this would be a massive technical undertaking. And, by the way, we don’t have the gameplay entirely figured out yet. And by the way …”
“Some people were concerned, like, have you gone too far with this? You know, is this too big a bite to take?”
He notes that the building of Warzone was not meant to “step on Treyarch’s toes,” but rather, the focus of Warzone was to become a battle royale to better fit and match Modern Warfare’s world.
Blackout was focused on Black Ops 4, and it’s world, and Kelly believed the Modern Warfare experience needed a different take.
“[Blackout] was never the concern,” Kelly said. “The concern was like, ‘So, let me get this straight. You don’t have the tech sorted yet. You don’t have the bandwidth to do the art for the thing yet, and you don’t have gameplay entirely sorted yet.’” He told Activision executives: “But we will!”
The actual development of Warzone started in very early stages in late 2017, Kelly says, with the idea of having a fictional city of Verdansk. The popularity of PUBG and Fortnite during that time period ignited the entire industry to bring out versions of battle royale experiences to compete and match up.
The Washington Post story describes how Infinity Ward started its development. They wanted to take a real environment and city and bring it to life at a massive scale never done before in Call of Duty.
The game kept getting new buildings, locations, and they expanded the map to the point where it got too big.
“It’s funny, because it was starting to get out of control,” Kelly said. “What happened was there are some builders working on this and they just kept building, building, building. We were going to end up with this space that was going to be miles and miles and miles of city. It was like, whoa this is getting away from us here. We’ve got to rein this in a bit. And part of the reason was that we knew we were going to have certain physical limitations, you know, like how many players can you actually support in the world?”
“So we started building the space,” Kelly said. “And we still didn’t know precisely what we were going to do with it.”
Kelly did not mention if the original pitch included the game being free to play or if that came with how the industry changed and Activision’s need to adapt.
Call of Duty: Warzone officially released on March 10, 2020 and now has over 100 million players.
We’re over one year into Warzone’s release, and the game is integrated with Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. Infinity Ward handed off a lot of the development of the title to Raven Software, who has been supporting the project since its initial development stages.
Image credits: Activision
How to unlock the Sykov Pistol in Modern Warfare & Warzone Season 2
The Sykov full-auto pistol has finally been added to Warzone and Modern Warfare, so here’s how to unlock this powerful new sidearm.
In a surprise update on April 15, the highly-anticipated Sykov full-auto Pistol was added to Call of Duty: Warzone and Modern Warfare, so here’s how to unlock this powerful new sidearm.
After players found the Sykov Pistol in Plunder, they were desperate to get their hands on this new Modern Warfare weapon. In an update on April 15, the Sykov Pistol was finally added to the game.
It’s described in-game as a “double-action/single-action sidearm” that “comes with a few custom gunsmith mods that make it an outstanding addition to any arsenal.” From gameplay, we know that these powerful modifications are the full-auto feature and the 80 Round Mags.
With the right attachments, the Sykov pistol is unstoppable at close-range. Here’s everything you need to do to unlock it.
How to unlock the Sykov in Warzone and Modern Warfare
The Sykov Pistol is easy to unlock in Modern Warfare and Warzone, you simply need to get 4 kills while using pistols in 5 different matches.
If you own Modern Warfare, this is the place to do it. Jump into small maps such as Shipment or Shoot House in Hardcore mode, use any pistol, and you’ll be able to one-tap other players with ease.
If you only own Warzone, the challenge will be more difficult but is still very manageable. We recommend jumping into Plunder with some of Warzone’s best pistols. The akimbo Diamattis are still powerhouses, and dual Renettis will also offer similar results.
Also, we recommend you finish the match for progress to count. Leaving the match early can cause issues with the progress not counting, so you can simply get your pistol kills then play on as normal until the match ends.
How to unlock Akimbo for the Sykov pistol
What makes the Sykov so powerful is its Akimbo perk. This isn’t unlocked as a regular challenge, you’ll need to get 3 kills in 5 different matches using the Mo’Money perk with the Sykov.
The challenge description is reportedly bugged and will tell you to use the Renetti, but you need to use the Mo’Money perk with the Sykov.
Again, this challenge is easy in Modern Warfare’s multiplayer. We recommend playing Hardcore Shipment and Shoothouse as you’ll get the kills in no time.
For Warzone, we recommend hopping into Plunder. Equip Mo’Money to your Sykov and take close-range fights and you should be able to get at least three kills.
The Sykov’s arrival follows three new maps being added to Modern Warfare – Killhouse, Al-Raab Airbase, and Drainage. The latter two have been removed but will be returning soon as they still needed more “love.”
- Read more: When is Warzone’s nuke event?
The Sykov is also the first of the unreleased Modern Warfare weapons to have arrived in the game, with the CX-9 SMG and Raal LMG still scheduled to arrive.
Ranked up, the Sykov pistol is likely to be a dominant weapon close-range in Warzone, so if the issues with unlocking it are addressed, it’s worth utilizing the upcoming Double XP event to quickly unlock all of the attachments.
Image Credit: Activision
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