It might be easy for the jaded among us to scoff at the annual instalments of games like Call of Duty
. To many, they release off a factory-like conveyor belt year in, year out, and never truly one-up themselves, let alone change the formula. In the case of the recently-revealed Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
this sentiment is even easier to understand -- a game going back to its most successful roots hardly seems like something new. Except you'd be wrong. Very, very wrong.
Recently I was invited out to Infinity Ward
to see the game in its current state, in a behind the scenes deep-dive with the devs. This is a studio that has copped it from all angles, and a series that has become less than stagnant of late, with the last release essentially playing out as a "best of" in terms of multiplayer, and one without a traditional campaign. However, this new 'reimagining' of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
takes the series, and us as players, to places we never thought we'd go in gaming. It's gritty and confronting, honest and determined in what its attempting to relay. Here's a snippet from our time with the game and the devs:
Fast-forward to arguably one of the most confronting videogame sequences I’ve ever seen in over 20 years doing this caper. I had to take a breath afterwards, it was that jarring.
Remember, we’re in first-person.
A little girl can be heard coughing as she’s looking at bright sunlight break through the handful of cracks in her line of vision. She looks to her right and we quickly realise she’s lying under piles of rubble, with her dead mother next to her, crushed under it. Her coughs are followed by desperate cries for her mum and we can hear people above the rubble realise she’s alive. Quickly they begin to pull the rubble away and even have to get an angle grinder to cut through rebar to free her. It’s a frighteningly desperate moment, but she (we) get free, and now the game takes on the form a Middle Eastern child, engulfed in an attack on her home by Russian soldiers. This attack (and gameplay sequence) takes place 20 years before the London events written about above.
This new entry, as it stands, might be the most important ever in the franchise, and while we get fatigue and an expectation around the "same old", having seen it up close, we implore to you keep an open mind. Infinity Ward certainly reshaped our thinking. Click here for our full Call of Duty: Modern Warfare feature preview