New Modern Warfare 3 Shot Heralds QUIZ!

Hang on, are you from my game?

I’ve noticed a mistake that’s being made by a couple of publishers. EA and Activision both plan to release shooty-man games before Christmas, about some soldiers with some modern weapons having a big fight. One is called Battlefield 3 and the other Modern Warfare 3. But the weird thing is, the two companies keep taking potshots, saying their game isn’t like the other. But, see, they really do look like each other. I wonder if they’ve just not looked at the screenshots of their rivals’ game, or something. In fact, I’ve prepared you a quiz!

I attempted to use some fancy plugin technology here, but it was just plan fiddly. So you’ll need to use pen and paper. Or maybe notepad.exe if you’ve got one of those new-fangled computers to hand. Can you tell which of the following pairs of screenshots belong to which game?

1) On The Street



2) Kicking Up Dust



3) In The Open



4) From Above, I Guess



5) Um, More Soldiers



6) Explosion!



So, with all your answers written down, how did you do?


a – BF3
b – MW3

a – BF3
b – MW3

a – MW3
b – BF3

a – BF3
b – MW3

a – MW3
b – BF3

a – BF3
b – MW3

Which is all my rather roundabout way of telling you there’s a new Modern Warfare 3 image. It was that last one. You can click on it below to see it bigger.


  1. CaLe says:

    BF3 doesn’t have Captain Price though.

    • sneetch says:

      He’s back? Worth buying for the mustache alone.

    • Moni says:

      Does the ridiculously expensive edition come with a stick-on moustache?

    • garlandgreen says:

      Captain price is no eddie price

    • iisjreg says:

      The moustache will be in my MW3: Minted Edition. Pre-order NOW!

      (I always make my own special editions – for MW2 I included a ‘Military Set’ from Poundland)

    • Adam says:

      Captain Price is Priceless in so many ways.

  2. Echo Black says:

    Got them all right. Maybe I’m some sort of savant.

    Or maybe they’re actually distinctive enough. Though I admit the similarity of the situational contexts (explosions, dust kicking) were pretty funny. The fact these promo shots are so similar do allude to a kind of dearth in innovation, and just straight up cements the fact we’re getting same gameplay we’ve always had, just shinier.

    • xavdeman says:

      Just look at the textures, even at this size it’s obvious which one is BF3. Failing that, look at the terrain / HUD. If you’re still having trouble look at advanced effects like god rays, advanced self-shadowing and sun shadows. If LOD artifacts are absent and the scene doesn’t look all too static, you’re looking at BF3.

    • tyrsius says:

      I got them all right, but kicking up dust was pretty close. I don’t see this as a dearth of innovation though. First, graphically speaking they are both aiming for a kind of realism. If successful, they *should* look similar. But gameplay-wise I can speak first hand: BF3 is amazing, iterating on every aspect of bad company 2 in a pleasing way. I haven’t played MW3 yet, but based on the MW2, which was not that great, I don’t expect much.

    • xavdeman says:

      Yes, kicking up dust looks similar. I got it by the SHADOWS ON THE MOTHERFUCKING DUST (and god rays). These screenies also look similar because they’ve picked the best of MW3 and the worst of BF3. If you show one pilotable fighter jet, helicopter, tank or car you would see it’s BF3.
      EDIT: Why no screenshot of destruction (apart from scripted events like the Eifel Tower?) or big ass multiplayer maps with 64-players?

  3. RF says:

    Wow, with these side by side it’s amazing how much uglier MW3 is. It looks like a game a generation (of shitty FPS) or two back.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      What? The two look very similar. That’s, you know, the whole point. If you like one’s look over the other’s, fine, but just say so, instead of inventing non-existant problems.

    • RF says:

      Maybe that’s the point, but it’s not true. The explosions / fire in the MW3 photos look pre-rendered (as in captured from images instead of using some sort of particle / physics effects as compared to BF3), the lighting in BF3 is a lot better, the textures in BF3 are a lot higher quality etc etc.

      I hate non-realistic “modern” shooters in general (WTB half-decent scifi shooter, which is PREFERABLY unrealistic) but the difference in looks is obvious. It might just be the BF3 screens are PC and the MW3 ones are console or something, but I doubt it. They ALWAYS use PC for screenshots since we have much better graphical quality.

      They look generations apart.

    • westyfield says:

      No, MW3 does look worse. The explosion on the Eiffel Tower looks like it’s been pasted in, the background of picture 3a (I think it’s a submarine) looks like a painting. If it were a painting, it’d be a very pretty one, but it looks too flat for a game. Compare the arms of the soldiers in pictures 2a and 2b – the BF3 one looks more like actual fabric, whereas the MW3 one looks like waxed cotton (like an old-fashioned raincoat).
      I hate to sound like a BF3 fanboy, but it does look better in terms of graphical fidelity. Art-wise they’re quite similar – grey-brown, washed out colours with smoke and dust everywhere it can go.

    • Vlupius says:

      Also, compare the streets of the first two pictures. That’s not a street in b), that’s a carpet if I’ve ever seen one.

    • Johnny Lizard says:

      I have never played a BF or COD title, and have no preference between the two, but entirely agree that the comparison does MW3 no favours. Because it makes it look rubbish.

    • Torgen says:

      I have the same (lack of) experience with these franchises as Johnny Lizard, and have to agree with him. BF looks better in every shot. Of course, gameplay is where it’s at, but BF seems to be winning that PR battle as well.

    • DK says:

      CoD hasn’t progressed graphical apart from minor details faked through millions of dollars worth of polishing since Modern Warfare 1. They still have the same horrible textures, the same fake lighting and the same toy sounds.

      The screenshots were really obvious.

  4. publicFunction says:

    *cough* Copy and paste *cough*

    We all know that BF3 will be the superiour game. CoD is just a crap fest full of 12 yr olds stessing about their K/D rations

    • Shooop says:

      Actually some of us know they’re both the same thing but one just happens to have an extra coating of graphics over all the “go-here-shoot-bad-guys-move-to-next-set-piece” gameplay.

    • rayne117 says:

      Makes me sad that we must squabble over the likes of Manshoots.

    • j1yeon says:

      Rations? Did they add some sort of survival elements into MW3 that I’m not aware of?

  5. Mashakosha says:


    I did wonder a few times whether you hadn’t just put 2 from the same game into one of the questions. Just shows you’re right, eh?

    • Milky1985 says:


      America, F**K YEAH!

      Wonder if the terrorists will be very wonely later?

    • Drake Sigar says:

      Err, le poulet en frites?

      All those kids who missed the point of Team America are grown up now. God help us.

    • Choca says:

      I find it funny that landmarks get blown up in blockbuster action movies/games.

      Blowing’em up might make sense for a terrorist organization trying to make a splash but in an all-out war you might want to use the bombs to actually destroy stuff that matters.

    • Milky1985 says:

      Seems that all the people who miss the idea of a simple reference to team america are all grown up as well, who has to voice displeasure at something someone has said without directly refering to them like …..

      oh god dammit!!

    • HermitUK says:

      “Le Terrorists ‘ave blown up ze Eiffel Tower! Fire ze missiles!”

      “But I am le tired…”

      “well have a nap, THEN FIRE ZE MISSILES!”

    • Shooop says:


      YES. God yes.

    • Tatourmi says:

      O shi- Reply fly.

  6. Tehewok says:

    That’s more like it! Let us have more images of France being exploded, I’d play a whole game of that. Baked goods and mimes getting spread all over the bloody place.

    • Koozer says:

      Won’t someone please think of the baguettes?

    • shitflap says:

      Just think, de Brie everywhere..

    • Tatourmi says:

      Camembert. You want french? Get all camembert on this bitch! Brie is like, the thing that we export, like Bordeaux in wines. ‘Tis known, ’tis sorta local, but it ain’t tasty enough! (Except good brie, but that’s like, expensive, so nobody buys it)

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      I thought everyone was tired of WWII games though?

      Anyway, I’ll be getting back to my steak and ale pie, football hooliganism and being crass about other cultures now, since stereotypes are back in and all.

    • somini says:

      There is always Penny Arcade Adventures Episode 1

  7. Mordsung says:

    I don’t see how anyone couldn’t get 100% of these questions, the BF3 engine is noticeably better, especially the lighting.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      I could sort of tell a difference on full screen if I concentrated on a few small differences (like fabric).
      But I still couldn’t tell which is which, because I have no idea which one is using which fabric.
      Although though I suppose I didn’t have much motivation.

    • Shooop says:

      That sound you just heard was that of the point flying over you head at Mach 4.

    • Barnaby says:

      I too got all of them correct. This would really be best tested on somebody who hasn’t seen A) the game footage of BF3 B) each series previous installment (BFBC2 &/or MW2).

      Playing through BFBC2’s singleplayer lately I’m reminded (in a nostalgic way) of CoD 1&2, even MW1 a bit, and start to miss good ol’ linear shooters. Then all the thoughts of DRM, lack of dedicated servers, 60 dollar price tags come flooding back and am reminded why I abandoned one of my favorite franchises after MW1.

      Btw, where is Respawn and what sort of games are they going to develop? When?

  8. BoZo says:

    CoD3 seems to be using all their old animations, so just look at that.

  9. RevStu says:

    I have never seen two more clearly dissimilar games. In one of them the predominant grey is Pantone 433C (“Anthracite”), whereas the other is quite plainly Pantone 445C (“Basalt”). What is the MATTER with people?

  10. nirs says:

    dont click on that image, it looks better small..

    • povu says:

      Damn, should’ve listened.

    • daraujo says:

      Modern Warfare civilians are clearly superior.

    • Dozer says:

      Do you know what struck me like an angry kid with a baseball bat on the full-size image? The low-polygon tyres on the helicopter, and the weirdly divorced navigation lights floating alongside it. I’m pretty sure you’re not meant to be able to see both the red and the green lights at once – they’re meant to each cover a 120° arc only…

    • fatchap says:

      You would expect to see both when looking up or below the aircraft. The 120 degree is in the horizontal plane only.

    • Dozer says:

      Are you sure? If the red light is only casting rays to the left of the aircraft centreline, and the green light is only casting rays to the right, how can the viewer be both to the left and to the right of the centreline simultaneously?

    • max pain says:

      Don’t forget to check out that dead civilian on the right.

  11. LarsBR says:

    1b is really a terrible way to advertise your game – might as well be counter-strike source, flat and gamey.

  12. sneetch says:

    This is easy, the ones with the palm trees are BF3 the ones with the berets are COD.

  13. finalfrog says:

    The lighting in BF3 is typically a bright blue, while the MW3 generally uses lighting in the orange region of the color spectrum. Of the two I personally prefer BF3’s choice, but lighting tones aren’t particularly game breaking choices.

  14. Heisenberg says:

    you dont seriously think that EVERYONE cant tell the differences?
    …otherwise this article is completely legit.

  15. Napalm Sushi says:

    More than once, I’ve passively read several sentences of an article about one of these games before it has fully occured to me which one you’re talking about. My interest in either is minimal, and totally eclipsed by my interest in both Arma 3 and Warco.

  16. jerkstoresup says:

    Call of Duty 3, Battlefield 3… they should really just call both of them “You’ll buy it anyway, fuck you! 3”

  17. nimzy says:

    It’s, ah, real easy to tell these two games apart. Rant about relying on an aging game engine when your competition is clearly whipping its buggy past yours goes here.

  18. Groove says:

    Claiming that these games look that different is fairly mental, since they’re both trying to vaguely simulate the same thing i.e. modern dudes with modern guns.

    Although these shots do show up MW3 for being MUCH uglier than BF3. I don’t really care about either of them, but yikes that’s not a competition any more,

  19. Kollega says:

    I didn’t have much trouble telling them apart, because A) the backdrops are different, and i know which belong where, B) the interface elements are a dead giveaway, and C) i have seen half of those screenshots already, and again, i seem to remember which belong where.

    Funny how even when the subject is real world with real soldiers and real guns, the two games still have different enough world and different enough guns.

  20. triple omega says:

    6/6… Only #2 was hard; you really have to check the lighting for that one. The rest is easy: Looks good? – BF3, Looks 4 years old? MW3. Even at this size it is pretty obvious. Put them head to head at maximum resolution and anyone can tell the difference.

    I do genuinely hope that BF3 manages to steal a sizable chunk of the sales away from MW3 just so Activision is forced to innovate and focus on PC again.

  21. 86carr says:

    I agree with the general sentiment on here. It is pretty clear which is BF3 and which is MW3. MW3 looks too grainy and poorly textured. It doesn’t look like it has any real depth to it. That and the explosions are pathetic compared to BF3.

    *Edit* The lighting effects are not impressive either.

  22. caddyB says:

    Better looking one is BF, obviously.

    CaddyB, feeding the flames since 1987.

  23. omNOMinator says:

    Full marks

    Battlefield looks better, in every way imaginable.

  24. Elltot says:

    #5B – Terrorist tries to do his best anteater impression.

  25. l1ddl3monkey says:

    The one thing they both have in common for me is that thanks to the fanbase of one and the DRM/Client/fucking ridiculous EULA of the other they are both games that I will not be buying.

  26. HardcoreGamer12 says:

    i got all of them right!

  27. Snuffy the Evil says:

    Number 2 tripped me up for a second.

    Admittedly, though, if both games ran on the same engine and looked just as good as each other I would not be able to tell at all.

  28. McDan says:

    Got them all right, but I’m sad like that. Battlefield over doody any day, boom.

  29. HermitUK says:

    6/6. I do far too much manshooting, in BF and CoD.

  30. durns says:

    Holy crap you all missed the point. Or actually, you all made the point without realizing it. The only difference mentioned is ‘better lighting and shadows’, or other graphical gumph. The games themselves are virtually identical in their situations and gameplay.

    • PleasingFungus says:

      In one of them, players can drive tanks and fly planes in massive 64-player battlegrounds. In the other, terrorists blow up the Eiffel Tower, probably using ‘killstreaks’.

      They’re both gritty ultrareal shooters and I’m not going to play either of them (haven’t enjoyed a BF game since ’42, going to take a pass on this one), but even I can tell the difference in gameplay.

    • Koozer says:

      “The games themselves are virtually identical in their situations and gameplay”

      The gameplay is utterly, utterly different. CoD is closer to UT if anything. (I’ve played every game in both series by the way)

    • Squiddity says:

      @Koozer: Call of Duty’s always been more arena-styled combat, while Battlefield focuses on extremely large maps and slower, team-based gameplay. I wouldn’t say it’s quite like Unreal, but it is one of the fastest-paced shooters one can puchase these days.

    • Shooop says:

      This times infinity.

      It’s amazing how just a shinier paint job can make the same thing look like GOTY for some people.

  31. PleasingFungus says:

    Managed to get every one right, but it took a little looking.

    Some of those MW3 promotional shots really are bad, though. Sheesh!

  32. Yosharian says:

    I got them all right, so…

    Admittedly, in a few of the shots I used the HUD to tell which was which.

  33. Squiddity says:

    I got it flawlessly without spending more than half a second on each image. How is it hard to see the difference between both games? They look completely different.

    Granted, my brain operates differently from most peoples’ and I can process massive amounts of detail with great efficiency, but come on, it’s so obvious!

  34. Shooop says:

    Amazing how many people have completely and totally missed the point.

    Thank you John, this is exactly the kind of thing that irritates me most about this whole “BF3 vs MW3” pissing contest – they’re the same exact thing only one has more graphical polish.

    • coldvvvave says:

      No, they are not the same. Try telling Wizardry that Wizardry 8 and Might and Magic 6 are all completely same games.

    • Shooop says:

      No, they are not the same. Try telling Wizardry that Wizardry 8 and Might and Magic 6 are all completely same games.

      We’re not comparing Wizardy 8 and Might and Magic 6 though are we?

      Let’s run down the checklist for these two games:

      Locations based on real-world places? Check and check.
      Lots of explosions? Check and check.
      NPCs who do little more than get shot at and wait for you to do everything? Check and check.
      Whack-a-mole with guns gameplay? Check and check.
      Follow the leader to scripted sequences? Check and check.


  35. Bull0 says:

    6/6. It’s easier than you make out.

  36. sinbad269 says:

    BF3 looks better. Just sayin’.

    You’re probably wondering, WHY?! Or, HOW?!

    Look at the first short of BF3. Look at how unbelievably gorgeous that sun is. And now look at the 6th comparison [Explosion!] BF3’s looks far more volumetric, visceral, and realistic.
    This isn’t to say MW3 will look like dog dung, I saw the E3 video’s of that helo fight as much as anyone else, and it will probably scale better – but purely because they’ve been rocking that engine since CoD1, and it’s, what, 12 years old?

    What I’d like to see is somebody making a MW3 level in BF3, and vice-versa, just to see how well each engine holds up. You’d also see where each dev teams true talent lies

  37. Jimbo says:

    One set looks like the last 8 Call of Duty games and the other set doesn’t. I concur that they both use a modern military setting, if that was the point being made.

  38. Tatourmi says:

    Well I did make one mistake, so I guess you are right. You should have put a same game twice though, that would have proved more of a challenge.

  39. j1yeon says:

    I can’t help but look at BF3 screens and think what an awesome Project Reality mod could be made out of that engine. You know, if they released mod tools.. and public dedicated server files. It’s a damn shame.

  40. aircool says:

    People who like BF games will by BF3. People who buy CoD games will buy CoD:XX. Those who like both (like myself and many others) will just buy both. Both games will make £$£$£’s.

    TBH, can’t see why both teams are making a big stink about the other.

    Both games do look like each other though, like that really matters…

  41. MajorManiac says:

    It would be funny if EA and Activision were owned by the some company, and were simply brands.

    This sort of thing happens all the time in Supermarket products.

  42. Fedexdoom says:

    Outside of being familiar with all of these screenshots I found one of the biggest differentiaters in the screens to be the helmets. Battlefield’s helmets are very identifiable to me.