Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 isn't even out yet and there's already a rumour circulating that, to celebrate the series' 20th anniversary, the game's going to receive a paid "Greatest Hits" map pack featuring a bunch of the classic maps from across the series. We're talking favourites from Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games, and Treyarch, all rolled into one mega-bundle.
Of course, it's only a rumour, which means it could be debunked at any moment. But it did get Hayden and I – the resident codders of the RPS Treehouse – thinking. If this rumour turns out to be true, which maps would we like to see return for Modern Warfare 2?
COD's multiplayer may get some stick from us, like in my Vanguard multiplayer and zombies review. Still, there's no denying that over the years Call Of Duty's multiplayer modes have brought us some fantastic arenas in which to get out a tablet, or a chunky phone, or a walkie talkie, and call in that generations' version of a recon drone.
So, colour me intrigued when I see a Call Of Duty leaker Tweet about a possible "Greatest Hits" map pack coming to Modern Warfare 2 in its second year. Hey, it might not come to fruition, but it's a tantalising rumour.
Riding unashamedly off the back of the rumour, I present to you, a list. A list of succulent, handpicked maps which Hayden and I would like to see return in our version of the Greatest Hits map pack. We'd charge a fee of zero dollars to obtain said map pack, mind you, because we don't like gatekeeping fun.
And if you care more for COD campaigns than you do multiplayer, we ranked every Call Of Duty campaign from best to worst.
Les Ormes – Call Of Duty 3
Ed: A wildcard pick from me, sure, but there's some reasoning behind it. Several of COD 3's maps remain special to me because they were among my first taste of COD multiplayer as a young kid. I didn't own the game or have Xbox Live at the time, so I'd head around to a friend's house and we'd take turns passing the controller.
Les Ormes sticks out to me as The Map from COD 3, all those years ago. I think it's the atmosphere of the quaint rural town that really did it for me, as it felt cozy and warm despite the blasts of Kar98k in the background. And I liked how bikes were a key part of traversing its more open sections, before you'd hop off and engage in tense skirmishes in a series of lovely French houses and barns.
Stonehaven - Call Of Duty: Ghosts
Hayden: A wildcard from me, too, that’s sure to make everyone click away. Nobody liked COD Ghosts, right? Well, I reckon we should bring back its best map, Stonehaven. An old castle on a verdant patch of Scottish countryside, Stonehaven is a huge map that suits those using snipers, LMGs, and assault rifles. Put those shotguns away and whack on a scope because you’re going for long-distance kills here.
Some COD Ghosts maps, including Stonehaven, also had dynamic elements that made maps a bit more interactive. On Stonehaven you could lower the castle gate, forcing the opposing team to either run around the sides or use C4 to blow it back open. It’s a small touch, but a cool little element to mix things up in a particularly lively chokepoint. It’s been almost a decade since this map first appeared and it hasn’t come back since, but, while the reception to COD Ghosts might have been poor, I'm hoping that Stonehaven isn’t lost to the past forever.
Estate – Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Ed: Ahhh, many good memories lie in Estate. Quite literally, as I recall playing a lot of Search And Destroy with my friends after school and laying down in the long grass just outside the big estate like a scumbag. Did net me a free kill most of the time, though, so there.
As the name suggests, Estate has a fancy house at its centre, with a number of points of interest surrounding it. There's a greenhouse, a sort of garden bit that leads out into the fields beyond, a driveway that slopes up and down, and other bits that remain hazy in my memory. Either way, it makes for a great time with friends as fights break out in all these different pockets, where they might converge into the house for an explosive finale – or vice versa.
Summit - Call Of Duty: Black Ops
Hayden: Summit is all about that one big kill zone in the middle, with everyone flocking into the central base. However, it’s the ability to sneak around the edges of the snowy mountaintop and flank your opponents that makes Summit so good, with plenty of entry points on either side allowing players to access that main building from almost any angle. It forces you to keep moving and disincentivizes camping by making the central building easily penetrable with a well-executed offensive push. Summit’s returned plenty over the years, appearing in every Black Ops other than Cold War, but that doesn’t make it feel old. It’s a stellar map from one of Treyarch’s best entries in the series, and that surely makes it worthy of the Greatest Hits map pack.
Afghan – Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Ed: Sorry, another pick from Modern Warfare 2, but hey, that game is filled with classics. Afghan gets my pick as it's bright and sandblasted, which makes for a different overall feel to many of the grassier, greyer maps of yore. And it's also one with an interesting layout which is a little similar to Estate's loop in some ways. You've got a crashed plane in its centre, which is circled by cliff edges and tighter, smaller spots.
Afghan always delivers on the variety front, as control of the cliff edge means you can snipe the ants skittering below you. The cliff also has an open zone for little skirmishes, then narrows into a dangerous chokepoint for chaotic stand-offs. Then of course you've got the smouldering remains of the plane and its cargo scattered around, which makes for creative cover opportunities, as if you're snatching at anything to stay alive in fights. It is, perhaps, the closest feeling to paintball in a game you can get.
Hijacked - Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2
Hayden: Hijacked also has the tried and tested three-lane layout, which makes it ideal for fast-paced counter-attacking gameplay. Whether you’re going through the cargo hold tunnels to flank the other side or charging up the outside aisles to make a quick push, there are plenty of ways to break spawn traps and gain an advantage. This is particularly useful when trying to help your team push through the central area, an outside portion of the boat populated by a small gazebo and an open air hot tub. This part of the map makes for pure chaos when filled with two rushing teams, but there are high vantage points that you can use to overlook the gunfight and assist your allies from above.
Summit and Hijacked feel like obvious choices for Modern Warfare 2’s rumoured Greatest Hits map pack because they might help it feel faster. The beta seemed to force players to go slower, relying less on a minimap and more on the sound of footsteps, until everyone was too scared to move at all. Camping is boring, though, and smaller, more action-packed maps such as Summit and Hijacked should hopefully force players to move more. Stonehaven might be more camper friendly, but it’s been almost a decade and I want to see it come back. As I said, it’s a wildcard...
Not a bad pick we've made there, eh? If you think we've made egregious choices, or missed something spectacular out, you can make a case for your top maps in the comments.
Activision Blizzard publish Call Of Duty and they're still facing law suits alleging a workplace culture of sexual harassment and discrimination. Microsoft also intend to buy Activision Blizzard, although the deal is currently under investigation by UK regulators over competition concerns.