Modern Warfare 3 Shows Its Wares

I guess Activision have been pretty good at rolling with the hard punch they took when Kotaku controversially busted open most of Modern Warfare 3’s secrets the other week. A selection of trailers has now been followed by a preview day for the press that Activision’s prepared to talk to (sigh). Here’s Eurogamer’s and VG24/7’s impressions, both of which suggest a pretty familiarly hyper-scripted experience, but a bigger, brasher, noisier approach to setpieces and a focus on urban combat and the explosive destruction of global landmarks in the UK, US and Germany.

You know! Anyway, some screenshots for you – and what I believe are the first official ones.

Click for bigguns. If these are authentic rather than fiddled, they do suggest that what’s already a pretty impressive engine has gotten that little bit more sparkly.


  1. Mike says:

    RPS comment threads about this make me a bit sad. It’s not an inventive game, but it is a summer blockbuster action-film kind of affair. It’s big, and exciting, and bright, and god knows I won’t buy it but I think it’s great that the industry has something like the Modern Warfare franchise.

    Also, scuba diving.

    • DrGonzo says:

      But it is holding back the progress of humanity! etc

    • Kaira- says:

      It’s big, therefore it’s bad.

      Nah, just messing. Looking kinda interesting (in a summer blockbuster way).

    • Schaulustiger says:

      I don’t think that CoD marks the decline of PC gaming in general or is something deliberately evil, but I also grew weary of the Jerry Bruckheimer summer blockbuster movies. It’s just that I have seen so much eye-candy that I am no longer impressed by it, therefore I long for substance, a good story or – in the case of CoD – a game mechanism that sparks my interest. CoD has none of it, it’s just a spectacle of questionable length (I assume it won’t be longer than its predecessors) and as such it’s not worth my money when there are better alternatives.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Crysis 2 was a blockbuster, as flashy and impressive as any CoD game save perhaps the first and it didn’t feel the need to have the entire game be a heavily scripted corridor shooter where you couldn’t even open doors without the help of your AI partners.

      Being a big dumb blockbuster title is no excuse for poor game design.

    • Meat Circus says:

      CoD will mark the death of console gaming.

    • Vandelay says:

      Yep, just as Christopher Nolan doesn’t need to dumb down his intelligent summer film blockbusters, gamig shouldn’t have to either. You can be smart with your explosions and army men. You don’t have to be controversial to do it either.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      The Dark Knight was rubbish and boring, though.

    • thegooseking says:

      it’s just a spectacle of questionable length (I assume it won’t be longer than its predecessors)

      I actually have no problem with the length of those games, for the same reason I don’t have a problem with certain other short games: if nothing else, they’re not exactly repetitive.

      I generally agree: it’s a string of ‘awesome’ moments without much in the way of substance, and while those ‘awesome’ moments do sometimes deserve to be called such, it’s not really enough to justify the price tag. But I wouldn’t criticise it on length.

      Where I would criticise it of being slim on content is the multiplayer. A handful of maps, then extortionate prices for another couple of handfuls of maps? This is the one piece of gamer entitlement I allow myself to feel: if you’re going to make a multiplayer shooter, make it easy for the community to make their own damn maps.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      And chips, with ketchup. Yum.
      Other than that, erm … “meh”. I am too cool for skool. With a ‘k’.

      EDIT: Actually thats a lie, I want to play the London bit as I grew up there :)

    • hosndosn says:

      This franchise just has to DIE before competitors (or frickin’ Activision themselves) ever dare to actually create something new. It’s a horribly repetitive, un-interactive real-time rendered CGI crap movie fest. Even if we accept it as “plot-driven”, the plot, even by Hollywood blockbuster standards, is so ridiculously bad you should genuinely feel ashamed if you like it (“war porn” has never been such an appropriate phrase before).

      Yea, elitist my ass, but this stuff is just poison for gaming.

    • subedii says:

      I don’t necessarily agree that the franchise itself needs to die, but yeah. My problem with CoD primarily hasn’t been the game itself (even if I don’t really like the style of gameplay it espouses), it’s the fact that everyone’s been trying to ape it since, both with its ultra-linear corridor shooter singleplayer, and in it s freaking unlock based multiplayer. It’s like when Modern Warfare posted its sales numbers, a red haze descended over the entire gaming industry, and then twelve months later we found ourselves getting buried in bad imitations.

      Ever since Modern Warfare popularised the whole unlock culture it’s been in pretty much every freaking FPS I can think of. And some that aren’t even FPS’s. And 9/10 times its implemented even worse, making things doubly bad. I mean if someone can explain to me why, for example, Dead Space multiplayer (or any of its contemporaries) needs to lock off certain weapons until you’ve hit “level up!” a few times? The multiplayer community for that was always going to be freaking small to begin with, and yet they saw the need to put even MORE obstacles in the way of people actually being allowed to play the game the way they want.



    • HermitUK says:

      This is neither the time nor the plaice for fish puns, SuperNash.

    • Calneon says:

      What annoys me is that MW3 will almost certainly get above 90/100 (on consoles, on PC it’s usually slightly lower), simply because it’s CoD and it would be blasphemy to not give a CoD game critical acclaim.

    • dysphemism says:

      @Daniel Rivas: I believe you mis-opined. I mean, you couldn’t have meant… really?
      I kid, of course, as we’re all entitled to our opinions. Here’s mine: If you didn’t like The Dark Knight, you don’t like Batman. (Which is also valid! Though, really, why see a Batman movie then?)

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      @calneon – slightly lower on PC? As I recall, Black Ops got something like 67 in PC Gamer and rightly so.

    • Kaira- says:

      And Dragon Age 2 got 94 points in PC Gamer. Which, in my opinion, is wildly inflated, even more so than most of the reviews that Cowwaduty-games get.

    • Urthman says:

      I love Dark Knight, in spite of (or maybe because of) the fact that it broke the whole concept of Batman for me. In that movie, every time Batman tries to get something through intimidation, he fails, because he can never be as scary as the Joker unless he’s willing to become the Joker.

      That and it made me realize the whole concept of Batman getting information out of a captured prisoner through beatings and scare tactics like hanging them upside-down from the top of a building is a little too close to the stuff that makes me ashamed of my own government to be entertaining anymore.

    • mouton says:

      Just as with summer blockbusters: a film/game can be BOTH intelligent and full of flashy action. Flashy action does NOT require retardation.

      Alas, the entertainment industry cannot grasp this simple concept.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      I personally find the campaigns in these games very poorly designed, and the multiplayer isn’t my cup of tea, but I think they’re actually good for the industry. While it’s true that they inspire clones and might cause some other studios to copy CODs bad design choices, they also get A LOT of people excited about gaming. This stirs up the market benefits everyone except maybe their direct competitors.

      When people are given a reason to hunger for games, they seek out other games, and this benefits ALL gamers, not just COD fans.

    • Nalano says:

      But that’s kinda the point, Urthman: Superheroes can’t deal with any level of grey morality. That was the point of V for Vendetta and the Watchmen.

      My issue with that is that part of the problem is that it basically then becomes a coming-of-age story: Not for the characters in the films and comic books, but for the audience. It’s the “I’m a bit too old for comic book escapism” moment shown on the silver screen. Unfortunately, to attempt such purposefully, like in The Dark Knight or basically the whole genre of Magical Realism, shows off the limitations of the superhero genre and presents something of a cognitive dissonance: If you were watching an escapist action movie with caped figures, why would you want realism? And if you want realism, why are you injecting it into kids’ stuff, unless you’re making some comment about overgrown manchildren?

      In that same stead, CoD is basically a manchild playground. It had a great “war is hell” moment in MW, and the entire premise of WaW was “ain’t war hell?” but of course glorifies destruction with a cinematographer’s gleaming grin. Either they’re catering to teenage crypto-fascists or they’re catering to the Seth Rogens of the world, and the existence of those not-quite-men are the real problem.

    • anduin1 says:

      there’s big and then theres bad big…if that makes sense. These games have become kind of a parody and something to ridicule “oh youre a CoD player, thus you don’t really know shit about anything” kind of mentality. I think it’s great for gaming to have something like this in the forefront, I don’t enjoy the games like I did back with CoD 2 or even MW1 to an extent since the game has just done the same thing over and over and hasn’t really evolved like other FPS series have. I feel like they’re the Transformers movies, shittier as you go along but the masses consume it regardless. They lost me for good with map packs for $15 and no dedicated servers in MW2.

      Edit: One more thing, I do feel with this games success, too many carbon copies try to ride on it’s success and tend to do a poorer job because rather than innovating, they end up copying. I really really hope EA does not fck up the Battlefield series by trying to make it more like CoD.

  2. Ian says:


  3. Stranglove says:

    Woah, woah, woah, hold on. Two different games with scuba diving in being released soon? Epic.


    • Sweedums says:

      arma 3’s scuba diving looks cooler :P
      (I assume thats the other game with scuba diving in you are referring to… if not, thats 3 games! EPIC)

    • Ian says:

      Isn’t Depth out this year too?

    • Stranglove says:

      That makes three!

      Yeah, I was referring to ARMA3

    • Tubby McChubbles says:

      Rebreathers that don’t have pony tanks or actual rebreathers on them? Hmmmm.

    • Bedeage says:

      Hidden & Dangerous 2 did scuba diving aaaages ago :P That was such a great game.

    • Eproxus says:

      Commandos 2 had really great atmospheric scuba diving as well (albeit not being first person).

  4. Acosta says:

    The only trailer of COD3 that matters:

  5. heretic says:

    I thought this was released a couple of years ago?

  6. DeathGOD1235 says:

    Same game, different year?

  7. Meat Circus says:


    • Ian says:

      Sounds like SOMEbody has their pre-ordering hat on.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      I am excited about blowing up London and Paris and Berlin and I DON’T CARE WHO KNOWS IT.

    • Simon Hawthorne says:

      Daniel, someone needs to introduce you to Paul Chambers…

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      I think I’m legally obligated to buy any game that involves Berlin.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      @ Simon – Internetz tells me that Paul Chambers is either a) A Jazz bassist b) An angling merchandise retailer c) Someone who failed at terrorism-related humour but who Stephen Fry thinks is a pretty cool bloke. I am guessing its the third one … :)

  8. syntax says:

    Screenshots in full res:
    link to
    link to
    link to

    Really does look like shit when compared to BF3:
    link to

    • Matt says:

      Cool JPEG artifacts, bro

    • Gnoupi says:

      Yeah, 6400 by 3600, compressed in jpg. Painful. And without much sense for “HD”.

    • killmachine says:

      yes. it looks like its, dunno, like 5 years old?! the models looks nice and hi res, but the environment better is a placeholder which i doubt, coze release is already this year. there seems to be no postprocessing whatsoever. no ambient occlusion, not even depth of field, nothin.

      it sure sounds interesting though since this is developed by sledgehammer and im curious what they achieve with cod. but that really is the only thing thats interesting for me. not really the fan of all that cod franchise stuff. i own cod4, i avoid all the other parts coze i think its more like a product than a game. yea, and i miss some innovation. could they at least use a new, more modern engine…

    • Calneon says:

      The BF3 screenshots have been captured from a compressed 1080p YouTube video, so it’s hard to compare them.

    • My2CENTS says:

      They use the same crappy engine that have been using in MW2, so its 2011 and this engine is quake3 based. Do the math how bad this graphics are, even with texture streaming i can’t possibly see this game as a success next to BF3 on the PC market.

  9. Unaco says:

    Does look quite sparkly. Possibly looking better than BattleField 3.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      I invite you to look at the comment directly smack bang above yours.

    • Unaco says:

      Looked. Thanks for pointing that out. Not ‘possibly’ anymore… is definitely looking better than BattleField 3.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      Beauty is subjective, but… We can not be looking at the same screenshots.

    • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. says:

      How much is Kotick paying you for this propaganda?

    • Michael Hoss says:

      You’re right. You can’t. This case is too obvious. BF3 looks way better. Even in motion. Even the animations which usually were great in the CoD-Series. But this year BF finally got CoD even in this special case.

    • tomeoftom says:

      SICK GRAFIXX!!!!

    • steggieav says:

      It all looks the same to me. BF3 is a little less blurry, I guess?

    • gwathdring says:

      From my limited time with the trailers, I think BF3 seemed to be the stronger graphical engine. But it really doesn’t matter to be. I care a hell of a lot more about aesthetic. If it looks good because of it’s shiny technical prowess, it’s going to look like a game from five years ago five years from now. If it’s Shadow of the Colossus or Okami, it will still look good for a long time. The pixel art in some old sprite based SNES games can be gorgeous. And it can also be atrocious.

      By that standard, based solely on teaser trailers, I think BF3 had a stronger aesthetic, mostly due to the movement animations (and quite possibly hefty post-processing of the video). Also something in the lighting was more interesting. But they both look fairly brand. Shiny, technically impressive, and doomed to visual obsolescence.

      But even that’s not to much of a big deal if they play well.

  10. Ebslike says:

    Apparently MW3 is being developed on all platforms separately. Very interesting that IF feels the need to announce something like this, sounds a bit like admitting that MW2 + BO are just console ports. Yes I’m biased, I hated CoD after MW1.

    link to

    (It’s Dutch, sorry!)

    • timmyvos says:

      Didn’t they say they developed Black Ops seperately too? And look how that turned out, I’ll be happy with Red Orchestra 2 and Battlefield 3 , atleast I know I won’t be dissapointed there.

  11. Metonymy says:

    one weapon
    one enemy
    one resource
    one environment
    one path to goal
    one winning strategy
    target highlighted at all times

    If I’d just had CoD games when I was 12, instead of ultima, master of orion, civilization, zork, etc, I would probably have a nobel prize by now.

  12. Michael Hoss says:

    It’s nice to see that the Playstation 2 still gets blockbustergames in 2011. Oh wait… there’s something wrong.

  13. clownst0pper says:

    I am so sick and fucking tired of a bullshit modern setting. When will people realise it’s repetative, dull SHIT!!!


    • Unaco says:

      Maybe when these sorts of games stop selling millions of copies during the first week of their release, and ending up among the top sellers for any given year?

  14. The Sombrero Kid says:

    Pretty nieve to think Activision didn’t want that “leak” to happen, whoops we lust slipped all this promo material into Kotakus hands, look at us, butter fingers, any way we’ll follow up that mistake with a bunch of marketing material that just happened to be ready at the same time.

    • Zyrxil says:

      What? Of course there’s such a thing as a marketing leak. They wanted to coordinate things, give the announcement a bigger punch, rather than let it dribble out. Hell, look at Apple, that’s their entire marketing philosophy. They send fucking SWAT teams after leakers.

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      I can’t tell if you agree with me or not?

    • tameimpala says:

      this is kind of confusing

  15. AbyssUK says:

    I hope for the love of god Duke Nukem rips the piss out of the modern warfare titles as much as possible.

    • Unaco says:

      Duke Nukem Forever has implemented a 2 weapon limit, just the same as all of those Modern Warfare titles. I think George Broussard was too cracked out of his gourd to realise that doing that is just copying, not taking the piss.

    • Jad says:

      I thought the two weapon limit was initiated by Halo? Anyway, it is because the FPS genre is now a majority console genre (as absolutely bizarre and “Welcome back from your 10 year coma, hey check out the news, Switzerland’s bloodthirsty armies are rolling tanks out of a conquered Europe to take on rival superpower Lebanon for world dominance right now” that such a statement sounds).

      Console controllers have limited buttons to put lots of weapon-switching buttons on. Duke Nukem will sell more on the consoles (at least combined) than PC, so it makes sense to cater the game design to the limitations of your largest audience. Not saying that I’m happy about this, of course.

    • Daiv says:

      It’s marketed to testosterone filled American teens who are too busy crushing beer cans with their pecs and playing the national anthem on their collection of assault rifles. They can’t be expected to comprehend the relative rankings of miltary power in the world.

      #1: USA! USA! USA! WE’RE NUMBER 1! – A million marines with guns that fire aircraft carriers.
      #2: The entire rest of the so-called “world” – A man with beard, a goat with flatulence, and a pointy stick.

      So naturally any match-up is plausible. In any conflict, the country which is not the USA inevitably loses. What happens when two non-US countries fight? How can they both inevitably lose? Even Science(TM) can’t tell us.

      I actually had a point to this post, but I forgot it half way through and I rolled with it because I found it more entertaining than whatever I had in mind before.

    • Nick says:

      Pretty sure two weapon limit was around in stuff like Project IGI, possibly even before, but thats the first one that springs to mind.

  16. deadstoned says:

    Duty Calls anyone?

    Here’s your objective: Blah blah blah blah, Secret Base. Blah blah blah land. Blah blah blah Nuclear missile bomb. Blah blah blah counting on you, utmost importance, win, good luck.

  17. Outsider says:

    Cool, looking forward to this. I’m not sure why people who have no desire to play the game get so angry about it existing.

    • Bret says:

      Partially because it earns Activision money, and their current business model is looking at the dark days of EA and going “How can we be worse?”

      Partially because it encourages studios to focus on copycatting its hand-holding and highly scripted nature instead of focusing on clever AI and such.

      I like a good corridor manshoot as much as the next guy, heck, I’m even a Halo fan (Silent Cartographer is still an amazing map), but this kind of scriptedness does seem to be going a little far, and when it makes more money than entire countries, well, it encourages things that would best be discouraged.

    • AndrewC says:

      Also it’s putting all your eggs in one basket. This AAA AAA (yeah!) title forces other corps to spend all their money on one game (and a very similar game, thus increasing homogeneity, but that’s another argument) in order to compete and this is how bubbles form, and burst.
      Also nerds get really angry at the successful guy. It’s what they do.
      Also Jupiter is in harrowing while the goat star phases.

  18. vodka and cookies says:

    Despite all the complaints from hardcore gamers regardless of platform this will sell a ton and they know it. Anytime CoD gets mentioned it generates a ton of hits for sites which feeds into the hype cycle leading to more exposure* and ever more non-gaming sites covering the latest CoD.

    *VG247 is one of the worst here unfortunately, then basically turn into a mouthpiece for CoD.
    The thing is basically critic proof as this stage, there would have to a colossal screw up and the game getting near 0 from every critic to have any impact, even then I think they would still see reasonable sales.

  19. geokes says:

    Exact same engine and gameplay since COD 4. But it will still sell shitloads and be rated game of the year.

    • MrTambourineMan says:

      Actually I’m pretty sure gameplay hasn’t changed since COD2, it is too long ago since I’ve played COD1 but especially it’s addon United Offensive I consider as by far the best part in the series.

  20. Kandon Arc says:

    This may sound morbid but I really hope there will be some American civilians in this, alive or dead. It was utterly ridiculous to not be able to find a single dead civilian in MW2 despite the fact that half the game was set in an invaded US. Yet in the same game you can mow down an airport full of Russian civilians and have a gun fight in a favela full of Brazilian civilians. I think there’s a word for that.

  21. rocketman71 says:

    So, what are they taking out this time?. The mouse?. Resolutions above 1024×768?. God, between modding, mapping, LAN, dedis and so on they took out so many things last time that I can’t even think of a third one they could deny us this time.

    Not the fun, though. They lost it after CoD4 and it hasn’t been seen since.

  22. Fuxalodapus says:

    Am I the only one that thinks the gun mechanics and “feel” are superior in the cod games? Specifically talking about stuff like the reload animations, how much screen real estate the gun model takes and the angle it’s held at , and textures. These are the little things that put me off other current warfare shooters. I’m buying BF 3 over this out of principle, but all of the trailers I’ve seen of it still make it seem like the guns are mini toy models held by too long/thin arms. Am I just weird?

    • Drakon says:

      You’re not alone, it’s something that I watch closely in shooters as well. I really appreciate details like these. And you’re right, the CoDs do a much more satisfactory job than most, animation, model, position, etc -wise.

  23. CaLe says:

    This is gonna be well worth the rental price!!

  24. gshauger says:

    @Daniel Rivas

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!!! Oh wait…you were serious?

  25. funtard says:

    Y to the A to the W N