Who’da Thunk It? It’s Only Modern Warfare 2

By Alec Meer on March 26th, 2009 at 10:24 am.

GDC continues to out-E3 E3 with yet another incredi-announcment. This time it’s Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare 2. Note that’s not “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2″, just “Modern Warfare 2.” Which is an odd choice. Is it fear of “Call of Duty 5/6″ sounding too haggard and aged? Is it shame/annoyance at Treyarch’s entries in the COD lineage? Or is it because they want to save “COD 5″ for a different theme, as 4 was to CODs 1/2/3?

Anyway, atmospheric but possibly controversial teaser trailer beneath the digi-hurdle.

Civilian massacre sure is an odd way to promote a videogame. This may just be a mood-setter, but if we were to sniff around for hints, we can identify that’s likely a continuation of the Russian terrorist cell storyline from COD4, there’s a possibility the series will take us to civilian-inhabited areas for the first time, and that there could be some high-tech sonic tracking technology. Or something. I don’t know much military lingo.

An immediate concern is that COD4 was curiously satirical about war and the glorification of the US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, whereas this trailer goes straight for terrorism as drama/entertainment. It’s certainly brave, but it’ll be fascinating to see how the game itself treats this delicate subject.

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95 Comments »

  1. Nick says:

    I hope it is almost entirely missions of the SAS standard, rather than the increasingly dull pop up and shoot gallery that the American missions sadly/lazily became for the most part. Maybe they are shedding the Call of Duty name to make Modern Warfare it’s own sperate franchise?

  2. Dave Gates says:

    I’m no prude, but I find this trailer a little upsetting. Just seems wrong some how.

  3. helloiamstupid says:

    hello wery nice weblob

    I like to play game with gun

  4. Gap Gen says:

    I think that the American missions could have been good – a pitched battle is always fun. That said, it suffered from being flanked because the allied squad AI generally involved following you.

    I think this latest trailer is just a reminder not to use lifts in the case of emergency.

  5. Optimaximal says:

    Terrorism of civilians works well in 24 – builds up suspense for the arrival of the good guys. Could well be seeing another immersive intro like COD 4?

    Fade in as guys climb out of van in (Insert Big Corporate Building Here) underground car park as credits fade in over activity going on. Besuited guys silently smooze past janitors towards the lift, Die Hard style, before unpacking their guns and bursting out into lobby and killing a load of people (obv. cut to black and fade in of MW2 logo with gunfire in background) before picture resumes on bloodshed and beaten hostages.
    Moments later, the game proper starts and the player (possibly as Soap) rapels onto the roof of the building that was just taken over.

    I should work for IW!

  6. Baris says:

    Huh, strange trailer. For some reason I expected the Soviet yelling from Red Alert 3 at the end of it.

  7. Feet says:

    I agree with Nick, Modern Warfare will become its own brand.

  8. nabeel says:

    Awesome effects, but silly trailer. Really looking forward to this.

  9. Dood says:

    Well, watching that one in HD was kind of useless…

  10. marilena says:

    One point: Call of Duty 5 already exists. This one would be COD 6 if they’d keep that numbering system that they have used so far.

    All long series reach a point where they go silly with the numbering scheme, probably because they hate seeing the huge real number. Need for Speed is probably the worst offender.

  11. teo says:

    bad reveal

  12. Larington says:

    Thats very brave… Or foolish.

    Too soon? Suppose it depends on who you play as.

  13. Optimaximal says:

    All long series reach a point where they go silly with the numbering scheme, probably because they hate seeing the huge real number. Need for Speed is probably the worst offender.

    I think its perception of diminishing returns.

    Sequels (and possibly trilogies) are anticipated, but by the time you hit #7-8 in the series, people often start asking questions and concluding their views with ‘haven’t we seen this before’, which is where subtitles come in.

    I know when people point out that Bond is now in his twenties (wrt the number of films) I think ‘jeez, is that still going’, but when they specifically refer to the new Craig films, you realise its just a reboot.

  14. not the rob with a pony says:

    “COD4 was curiously satirical about war and the glorification of the US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan”

    Which parts did you feel were satirical, Alec? I don’t want to sound like an asshole I am genuinely curious. I don’t remember very much of the game so it is likely I am forgetting it. The only bit I can really think of was the plane section but then I read some interview where the developers weren’t really interested in providing a commentary they just thought it was fuckin awesome to level shit with guns hooha

  15. Lu-Tze says:

    To reuse an old joke;
    Call of Duty 5 – Modern Warfare 2 – Queens Park Rangers 1.

    When you start getting more than one number into the title it gets a bit confusing, and sounds like the football score.

  16. Jason Moyer says:

    I’m guessing they just realized that “Call of Duty 6: Modern Warfare 2″ sounds really stupid. Additionally, while COD4:MF was sold on the COD name, the game itself was good enough that they can abandon the COD branding and turn it into a self-contained franchise.

  17. PC Monster says:

    As something different from the usual ‘gameplay footage + loud music’ combo, I found the trailer really interesting, not lame in any sense. It was also quite hypnotic, watching that green line sinuously dancing away…

    But not having played COD4 (it laughs at my PC’s specs) I can’t comment on the game itself. I’d love to have a go, though, so will reamin curious about this one, too.

  18. DarthInsinuate says:

    “Remember, no Russians.”

    Yeah, a bit ‘too soon’. Makes me want to know what the game is like though, despite my hatred for the shooting gallery gameplay of the series. I am an awful person.

  19. moromete says:

    I certainly hope that there’s a death sequence as cool as the nuclear one from the original Modern Warfare…

  20. Vandelay says:

    Not Rob With a Pony: I concur with Alec that COD4 was fairly satirical (or at least less “war is cool”) compared to other games of its ilk. The atmospheric opening, the way the Americans screw the invasion up, the plane level you mention, the interrogation sequences in the British levels. I would say that it was certainly more intelligently executed then the vast majority of war games and even war films.

    I thought that this was a pretty good trailer. We all know what COD games are like, so in game footage isn’t particularly necessary (which would usually be my complaint about these sort of advertisements.) I don’t have a problem with the killing of civilians. The game is going to deal with terrorists and they kind of have a tendency to kill people. I’m sure none of us would be surprised by a film depicting events like this or a TV show like “24″, so I don’t see why we should think any differently with a game that deals with similar themes.

    More levels in the style of British I’m all for, although I would still like some levels that are more of the shooting gallery style. I know I may be in the minority, but I find that kind of thing to be quite enjoyable when the feel of the combat is well implemented.

  21. Heliocentric says:

    I’m curious what they can add to mw(might as well call it that) without taking away from its focus. This is not a game strengthened by wide paths that vehicles would need. Civilians sounds viable. Rather than shoot anything that moves, shoot the “bad men”. Eh, just depends how meaningless the civs are. Will they ever run at you? Or pull out a grenade?

  22. Okami says:

    Honestly, any kind of game that features war in any way should include the killings of civilians, even by the player himself. Especially if it’s a game about modern warfare. Everything else is just hypocrisy..

  23. Xantheus says:

    @marilena
    Eeeh, no it doesn’t. World at War is not CoD5.

  24. Gap Gen says:

    I demand a shooty pirate-based Call of Booty series.

  25. Lomsi says:

    I hope there’s a level set at the Ashes where you have to shoot suicide bombers before they explode.

  26. Senethro says:

    Does anyone get depressed when they have to whirl their scroll wheel twice more than expected to find their genuine age :/

  27. Iain says:

    @Gap Gen:

    Wouldn’t ‘Call of Booty’ just be mistaken for a US-based, ho-filled, black gangsta sim?

  28. John F. S. says:

    @ DarthInsinuate

    Actually, I think it was “remember, no Russian…” as in, no speaking Russian (Which suggests they want to keep their origin a secret).

    Doesn’t make sense that they would try not to kill Russian-looking people.

  29. Whiskey Jak says:

    Very slick presentation. Like it a lot. And putting the date out right now is a good move IMO. We know that IW wouldn’t give a date if they didn’t feel they could make it and by telling everyone that they’re coming out November 10, most other devs will try to get out of their way knowing full well that MW2 will sell WAY more than any other game they could possibly put on the market (except for Nintendo and their damned peripherals I guess).

  30. paddytehpyro says:

    Wow. Quite a nice trailer imo. Like the opener to CoD4 which was brilliant. Actually told a story…sorta. Until the shooting started anyways.

  31. Gap Gen says:

    @Iain: Well, following the end of CoD4 where obviously the only black main character raps over the end credits, it’s not going too much deeper to set a Call of Duty around a US urban gang war.

    Maybe the “Call of Booty” aspect could be a modern retelling of the Iliad, where the most beautiful woman in Compton runs away with a gang leader from NYC, and the gangs must fight to win her back. Or maybe that’s a horrible idea.

  32. Optimaximal says:

    I’m curious what they can add to mw(might as well call it that) without taking away from its focus. This is not a game strengthened by wide paths that vehicles would need. Civilians sounds viable. Rather than shoot anything that moves, shoot the “bad men”. Eh, just depends how meaningless the civs are. Will they ever run at you? Or pull out a grenade?

    Why bother? Call of Duty as a whole hasn’t done anything but refine what has come before it to a glossy shiny – the first game was just Allied Assault done better and it’s been tidy tidy since then.

    If anything, United Offensive has broke the most ground with the bomber level.

  33. El_MUERkO says:

    it makes me want to dust off my copy of COD4, i played mp to death, level 50 wutnut with my favourite m14

    maybe it should be left in a rose tinted past, here’s hoping

  34. Captain Awesome says:

    Wow, talk about minimalistic trailers. I’ve gotten nothing out of that, besides that the main enemies are russians.

    :\

  35. Schmung says:

    yeah, bit pointless as far as trailers go. I want to see the game in action. Still, CoD4 was utterly splendid and I spent far, far too much time playing multiplayer on it. Hopefully this new one is more of the same, though it could do with perhaps being a touch longer.

  36. Optimaximal says:

    Didn’t COD4 have a minimalist trailer to whet appetites before coming out with the full kaboodle that just blew everyone away?

  37. Xercies says:

    To be honest If I was them I would still call it Call of Duty, since if they change the name to just Modern Warfare ActiBlizzard will just make it into a yearly game like they usually do. But if they keep it to Call of Duty they can still take two years to make the games instead of one year.

  38. Lunaran says:

    I think calling MW satire is giving it too much credit. Doesn’t satire have to be rooted in humor? That tends to be how it signals its own presence. MW seemed to just suffer from an excess of self confidence, much like Gears.

    It didn’t strike me as any kind of parody of US foreign policy, just a clumsy (but successful) attempt to cash in on support for/ignorance of it. That aspect of the game just made me squirmingly uncomfortable because my actions felt so unjustified. Then again The Office makes me squirmingly uncomfortable too, so maybe the British humour-gland is just vastly more advanced than ours.

  39. Nick says:

    I’ve decided I’m not going to watch any trailers or even the menu intro to Modern Warfare 2 after the OMGWTF massive spoiler of CoD4′s intro showoff.

  40. Matt says:

    Lol, I’d assume the change was because:

    Call of Duty 4: Modern Warefare 2

    Sounds ridiculous, like an incremental update in a software cycle, or an ISBN.

  41. Skurmedel says:

    I never got the satirical parts. By the time I had shooten the sleeping russian sailors and seen like 20 or so other racial stereotypes I felt sick. Didn’t like the singleplayer campaign at all. The pacing sucked too.

    Multiplayer was fun for a while but ultimately I couldn’t stand the fucking helicopter combos and quit.

  42. Whiskey Jak says:

    And remember people, this is a Teaser, not a trailer. Teaser’s are meant to be “minimalist” and short on info. That’s what they do, they tease.

  43. bildo says:

    oh jesus, they have done it again.

    Now the AVGN is gonna have to do another Chronologically Confused about Sequels episode if they continue to keep up with this habit XD

    http://www.screwattack.com/AVGN/2006/Sequels

  44. Lack_26 says:

    I do hope that if they decide to take a similar line for the full game that the first controllable scene sets you as a civilian at a rich party mixing with the rich and famous. Then shortly after terrorists come bursting in and kill everyone (you almost inevitable die, although it would be nice if there was an Easter-egg where you could live).

    I’m sure it would be controversial but it could be a good set up rather than just terrorists being bad in foreign land. Which while we should care, most don’t.

  45. l1ddl3monkey says:

    @ Senethro: Yes.

    The quote at the end (in Russian) is from Lenin:
    “Revolution is impossible without a revolutionary situation”.

    So: Yay – it’s commiesas bad guys. Someone did tell me this would be the year of the 80′s revival. Stovepipe stonewashed jeans, big hair, synth pop and evil commies. Am I the only person who remembers that the 80′s were utter shit?

  46. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    I’m not really expecting much from the singleplayer other than a fun rollercoaster ride of set-pieces with a “war is hell, but necessary” undercurrent, featuring lots and lots of helicopters and an oil rig if the montage blast is anything to go by. Which is enough for me, as the main draw is the multiplayer.

    My only real worry for the game is that they’ll try and up the ante from the last game and descend further into the realms of Tom Clancy’s wet dream fantasies. Although that could still be fun in a gloriously stupid way, as SC: Chaos Theory has proved.

  47. Half Broken Glass says:

    I honestly don’t even know why I’m even commenting on this, because it’s most pointless “teaser” ever made as it doesn’t show anything about the game and next to nothing about the features, story, or whatever. All I can really do is laugh in the face of all people who watched it in HD.

    But let’s say I’ll bite. More russians, or quasirussians(I.e. anything between Russia and Germany). When there’s russians, there are stolen nuclear warheads, and when there are russians and stolen nuclear warheads there are The Few, The Proud kicking butt and saving the day.

    I eagerly await it winning five awards for story alone.

  48. Agrajg says:

    Great teaser, but this got me confused:I am playing COD5 already. Aren’t I? What if this is all a dream. WTF? My hand is fading away.

  49. Serenegoose says:

    well, I’m thinking maybe it has an SAS/Russian military campaign, as since this is almost certainly following the implied brewing civil war scenario in the first, and IW have never been scared about acknowledging that sometimes the russians can be the good guys too! (unlike treyarchs 50/50 attempt which out of good faith I’ll put down to an overzealous attempt to display the russians actual behaviour in the capture of germany.)

    As for ‘somewhat’ satirical… I don’t agree but I see where people might be coming from. the game opened up with a character being executed from the players perspective, and continued by jumping into the player -actually- killing civilians on a freighter. Call of duty 4 went for the ‘drama’ first by any stretch, even if it did have tons of cynical one liners and plenty of scenes that felt satirical.(“that’s gonna be one hell of a highlight reel.”) I guess, can’t it be both?

    oh, and unless I’m very much mistaken, these bad guy russians aren’t commies, and most of them weren’t technically russian either. which makes it odd to hear them described as ‘ultranationals.’ How do you be a russian ultranational if you’re born in azerbaijan? maybe they ARE commies. damn.

  50. the revealer says:

    cod2 was the beginning of the end. cod4 was the worst egoshooter I ever played. seriously. I can’t get what’s mainstream and “brilliant” about spawnwaves, copying a whole setting from another game (chernobyl) and having the worst (booya) propaganda storyline ever. this game was as subtle as the american middle east politics and made me wanna puke anew each new mission. I wonder why infinity ward or treyarch never made a mission where you personally drop the a-bombs on hiroshima and nagasaki, it would certainly fit their sensibilities and view of entertainment.

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