This year’s Call of Duty entry needs to do something different. Black Ops 4‘s lackluster sales (at least in comparison to other games in the franchise) indicates that riding on trends alone won’t justify a $60 purchase anymore. Activision itself expects more from the long-running series. Modern Warfare 4 may give the publisher and developer Infinity Ward a chance to return to what made the property popular to begin with. The following not only points out evidence of Modern Warfare 4‘s existence, but also dives into the elements that could make it stand out from the Fortnite wannabes of today.
Why it’s most likely Modern Warfare 4
The leaks, rumors, and teasers that fans have witnessed so far all indicate that this year’s Call of Duty is most likely Modern Warfare 4, and this reveal is going to happen soon regardless. Two weeks ago, Infinity Ward’s former creative strategist and community manager, Robert Bowling, strongly hinted that the game was in development when responding to a fan. Not long after that, NFL star Marcus Mariota implied during a stream that the next Call of Duty title would be a new entry in the Modern Warfare universe. As if all of this isn’t enough, video footage from a supposed preview event where someone can be heard saying “Modern Warfare 4.”
Activision’s most recent earnings call states that a worldwide reveal for the game is slated for later this quarter. Seeing as how the company’s second quarter ends on June 30, it makes sense that the title will be revealed before or during this year’s E3. President Rob Kostich stated that “it’s going to be really clear why we’re really so excited about the release.” Fans won’t have to wait long to determine for themselves whether this new entry is worthy of the hype.
A return to the series’ roots
When the first Modern Warfare released in 2007, it was praised for its focused single-player campaign. Though Captain Price and Soap’s mission to take down a group of Russian ultranationalists is linear, one can’t help but admire the set pieces that Infinity Ward crafted to successfully immerse players in a gunfight in Rio de Janeiro or an assault on the United States’ capital. The calamity on display is appropriate given World War 3’s combatants and each belligerent’s access to nuclear arms. There’s a frightening realness to it all.
Modern Warfare 4 could have fans return to the present day in order to take down whatever insurgent groups remain after Modern Warfare 3‘s conclusion. Fan favorite characters could appear alongside new recruits. The narrative could feature multiple protagonists just like it did in the past, allowing players to travel across the world in search of the newest weapons dealer to interrogate.
While a new story in this universe may not offer anything that fans haven’t seen before, it can instill a ton of nostalgia. Activision should know the power of the phenomenon better than most other publishers today, as its Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy surpassed 10 million copies sold this past February.
As great as a campaign may be, a return to Modern Warfare wouldn’t be complete without Spec Ops, the mode tasks two fans with completing a series of increasingly challenging objectives. It’s perfect for those who prefer playing with a buddy cooperatively rather than jumping into a traditional competitive multiplayer mode. Not many titles today offer users this option. Including Spec Ops in Modern Warfare 4 could help give Infinity Ward and Activision an edge over the competitive-focused games on the market.
Getting rid of the fluff
According to a report from Gaming Intel two months ago, Modern Warfare 4 won’t include a battle royale mode. This is a good thing, as it doesn’t make much sense for the publisher to have three battle royale games in its portfolio. Treyarch and Respawn are both committed to improving Black Ops 4‘s Blackout mode and Apex Legends, respectively. Another battle royale-focused title could further cannibalize Activision’s software offerings.
The report went on to state that the controversial Specialists feature will not be returning. This seems likely, as Treyarch had to create a Barebones playlist earlier this year after fans demanded that they not be restricted to one particular set of abilities. This playlist eliminates classes in favor of giving players access to the same weapons and skill sets while out on the battlefield.
It’s clear that the developer took a page from Overwatch with its Specialists feature, perhaps as a way to make up for the absence of a single-player campaign. This obviously didn’t pan out in a way the studio had planned for, as the consensus agrees that Call of Duty is at its best when it sticks to its own fundamentals.
This being said, one Call of Duty tradition that does need to change is the inclusion of microtransactions. The controversy surrounding the cost of a reticle earlier this year should be enough to convince Infinity Ward that it doesn’t need to nickle and dime its players, as this could only serve to hurt the game’s image in the months after its release. Although, it’s probably near impossible for a Call of Duty game to not have microtransactions at this point. After all, each game does still have a season pass.
It seems as though almost every franchise out there nowadays wants a piece of the multiplayer pie. In order for Modern Warfare 4 to offer something unique, it needs to return to what made the property so novel to begin with. Essentially, this next entry could serve to remind FPS fans why they fell in love with Call of Duty in the first place. As they’ve indicated with Black Ops 4, all they really want is for the franchise to stick to its guns. And hopefully, Modern Warfare 4 is the game to do just that.