I’m tempted to leave it at the headline and direct you to the comments – it’s after five, you know, I’m usually in the bath by now – but I’m supposed to be some kind of “professional writer”, so I guess I’ll waffle for a few paragraphs. Activision have put up a trailer for nu-Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3’s multiplayer, ahead of a full live reveal at the Call of Duty: Next event on 5th October. I caught the news on a social feed somewhere, went hunting for the Youtube version and, much to my distress, managed to dig up the multiplayer premiere for the original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, released in 2011 – almost 12 years ago.
Rather than just posting the correct video and going off to cry about my advancing seniority, I’m brazenly posting both so you can trace the evolution (or not) of this shootiest of first-person shooter franchises. It’s bizarre to think of any game series being this venerable, and changing so much while remaining the same.
What do the two videos share? Well, both are hectic montages of player characters galloping through multiplayer maps, with bombs and bullets popping off all over in a manner that is more Naked Gun than Black Hawk Down. Both emphasise the game’s massive spread of weapons, perks, modes and streak rewards. Both throw around slow-mo like it’s going out of fashion.
The obvious big difference is tone. For Modern Warfare 3: 2011 Edition, war is a serious business, however gadget-laden. It is about faces creased by desperation, sobering orchestral motifs and people howling “Contact!” like King Lear re-entering the stage carrying the dead Cordelia, except that instead of the dead Cordelia, King Lear is packing throwing knives and a Dragunov with variable scope zoom. The narrative of the trailer, with one player murdering the next so as to show off a series of loadouts, positions the battlefield as an ouroboros in which there is always a man behind you wielding a bigger gun.
And Modern Warfare 3: 2023 Edition? It depicts war as a massive jape, a slapdash eSport with bonus points awarded for style. Get stuck in, bro! Here’s some fucking Eminem and here’s a skull mask and here’s some shoulderpads with glowy green graphics card shit on them. (The song actually dates back to one of Modern Warfare 2’s single player trailers – Call of Duty sure loves Eminem.) Where the 2011 video makes the violence feel arbitrary, with people getting iced from blind angles just as they’re making headway, the 2023 footage turns the guns into percussive instruments and has you overwhelming dug-in opponents through sheer force of swagger. Slide in there and flaunt those cosmetics! It’s only a game.
Any thoughts to add to all this? If nu-Modern Warfare 3 fires your cylinders, you’ll probably want to sign up for the forthcoming Modern Warfare 3 PC beta. Preordering players get early access, which begins Thursday, 12th October at 10am PT. There’s an open beta a few days later on Saturday, 14th October at 10am PT. Both the early access and open betas end at 10am PT on Monday, 16th October.
More interested in the forthcoming game’s campaign? Check out the recent Call of Duty: Modern Warfare single-player trailer, then – it’s got rappelling and suchlike. This year’s game is widely perceived to be glorified DLC, as evidenced by the fact that it shares loads with last year’s Modern Warfare 2 remake.