After plenty of dancing around the Twitter rumour mill, Call of Duty devs have finally lifted the covers off their sequel to 2019’s Modern Warfare, and the results have left its legions of fans absolutely stunned. Here’s the trailer in all its goodness:

Hyped? You better be, with plenty of features to look forward to, we’re about to unearth one of the year’s biggest multiplayer blockbusters, no questions asked.

Here’s 9 key things we’re looking forward to as the Modern Warfare II release date draws nearer and, hopefully, it’s going to be as epic as it all sounds.

Underlying Systems

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No matter how great a game’s graphics or story are, an FPS title depends, first and foremost on how fluidly, responsively, and freely its players can take advantage of the various systems at play under the hood.

Modern Warfare II will be released on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S, along with PS4 and Xbox One support. All of these platforms will be crossplay-enabled, putting to ease a massive playbase currently stuck on eighth-gen consoles.

This is an extremely impressive feat on developer Infinity Ward’s part, especially considering that the game also debuts a brand-new engine on which the next generation of CoD games will function. 

This allows all major CoD studios—Infinity Ward, Treyarch, and Sledgehammer Games—to work on the same platform and toolkits, giving us players streamlined updates, better visuals and animations, and stabler performance – broadening how far the CoD formula can go, season by season.

Campaign

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2019’s campaign was extremely grim and gritty, throwing players into uncomfortable situations in nearly every episode, and mediating heavily on the dark realities of war.

MWII has toned this down a bit, and relied on familiar faces to set grand action and stealth setpieces, similar to the old CoD formula we know and love. The story picks up soon after Captain Price and CIA chief Kate Laswell meet up at the end of the last game, eventually teaming us up with classic names such as Sergeant Kyle ‘Gaz’ Garrick, Lieutenant Simon ‘Ghost’ Riley, and Sergeant John ‘Soap’ MacTavish.

Two newcomers will also join the fray: real-life inspired Mexican Special Forces Colonel Alejandro Vargas and Corporal Phillip Graves. The crew will be taking us into some pretty exciting locations around the world. Here are some of the teased Campaign missions for you:

Nightwar: A nighttime mission set in the Middle East where you and your squad aim to rescue a crashed helicopter crew in the middle of hostile territory.

Wet Work: Set in Amsterdam (last seen in Cold War), this swimming showcase teases next-gen stealth gameplay for the series.

Tower: Set in nighttime Chicago, this mission sees us rappel down a skyscraper and take out targets floor-by-floor.

Convoy: The final teased mission is a high-stakes desert chase that fits right into the Uncharted series. Driving behind a host of enemies, you leap between vehicles and fight your way towards your target at high speed.

Next-Gen Mobility

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Modern Warfare (2019) saw us take advantage of the usual run n’ gun gameplay with a variety of mobility options, from sliding to mounting all over maps in search of a top K/D ratio.

This time around, the new engine allows for even more reflexive movement options. First of all, we have the ability to peek over ledges while hanging from walls, and even hoist and jump upwards as well. This works extremely well in tandem with a fully-flexible rappelling system, which allows players to descend buildings and cliffs either face down or face up, depending on how badass they’d like their entry to look.

On-foot gameplay also gets a boost with a new ‘diving’ move, which allows players to quickly enter a prone position to avoid incoming fire, or quickly break through a window.

That isn’t all the diving that we’ll be seeing either. In a major series upgrade, MWII will allow players to freely swim through and under water. The game also offers a fully-remodeled physics engine for underwater fire – enemies can target you from above the surface, while diving players can use small firearms as well as melee weapons. This also facilitates stealth gameplay, with depth affecting a diver’s visibility and marine maps featuring ample shipwrecks and hidden spots to discover.

The new engine really plays to the devs’ strengths here, offering realistic wave physics, underwater reflections, and many more immersive details.

New Gunsmith System

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The original gunsmith system, introduced in MW 2019 has been a passable system, contributing to a culture of constantly shifting metas and often-unrealistic options coming along with series updates.

This time, IW are suggesting that they will stick with a 10-point attachment system, grounded in real-life military tech. The big change, however, is that we will be able to ‘tune’ each attachment, allowing us to decide just how much tradeoff we get with each gun’s different stats.

Gun progression is also slightly streamlined for MWII, using an idea called ‘gun platforms’. This simply means that instead of randomly offering new gun options as you level up, playing with say, an assault rifle, offers you more assault rifles to choose from over time. 

The new Modern Warfare also features a ‘shared attachment’ system, where each weapon comes with shared unlocks for a wide variety of attachments, with a few exceptions. As a result, the usually painful process of leveling up new weapons is a lot easier, since you won’t be starting 100 percent from scratch. 

Whether you prefer sophisticated tech or good-old throwing knives, us Call of Duty fans have also had a wide variety of in-field kit to play around with. MWII takes this further by introducing:

Tactical Camera: A mountable camera that transmits a live feed to players, allowing them to tag enemies remotely. Multiple team cameras can sync to form a network, and can passively alert the team via motion sensor tech as well.

Drill Charge: A godsend for players fed up with room-campers, drill charges can penetrate through walls and fire a small grenade through the other side. These can also be used to destroy vehicles from the inside.

DDOS: An EMP-style device that disables nearby vehicles and equipment.

Inflatable Decoy: Perhaps the most interesting option here, this kevlar-coated dummy intelligently responds to the situation it’s inflated in – posing as if swimming, crouching, etc. depending on context. A must-have for players looking to pull off some hilarious pranks on enemy teams.

Curiously, gear also interacts realistically with water. Flashbangs and smoke grenades can float while proximity mines deploy little balloons to give them some buoyancy.

New Vehicles

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Vehicles have been a big part of recent CoD titles, especially in large-scale game modes such as Warzone. While we don’t know too much about the actual vehicles featured in-game, we do know that the devs have juiced out the game engine to offer even more flexibility and realism.

For starters, players, including the driver, can lean out of windows in order to better drive-by unsuspecting enemies, while the vehicles themselves take procedural damage that results in blown-off doors and punctured tyres, giving said enemies a better chance at fighting back over time. If you’re attached to your rides, don’t worry. The game also offers you the ability to repair vehicles at gas stations, making them perhaps a bigger core part of large-map gameplay.

Players can even climb on top of vehicles as they move, which no doubt will result in some truly hilarious chase scenes in game.

Along with the new swimming and water mechanics mentioned above, comes the introduction of boats to Modern Warfare. These, as well as amphibious personnel carriers and Wheelson drones, allow players to make better use of water bodies as they make their way across the battlefield.

Finally, we got teased with a massive personnel carrier that can auto-hover, allowing the pilot to join in and rain hell on players below.

New Multiplayer Maps

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It seems that IW aims to kick Battlefield developers DICE while they’re down, after the disastrous launch of Battlefield 2042, Call of Duty is going all-in on large, massive-scale maps right from day one.

Here’s a lowdown on each of them:

Saeed: An intense urban combat map which allows players to climb on and explore through every single building.

Sareef Bay: A tourist fishing village which allows for marine-based combat.

Museum: A small map centered around a Spanish museum.

Grand Prix: A mid-small map set near an Asian racetrack at night – reminiscent of the famous Singaporean GP on the Formula 1 tracklist.

Farm 18: An undisclosed training facility hidden within an abandoned cement factory

Warzone

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As far as the elephant in the room goes, Call of Duty’s most popular gamemode is set to release at a later date in 2022, after some likely-needed post-launch development and testing.

The map itself was glimpsed through various action shots, and appears to be a desert map – contrasting heavily with Verdansk’s high-altitude Ukraine-inspired landscape, and Caldera’s Pacific island setting.

Fans have spotted the aforementioned fishing village, a castle compound, a mountaintop observatory, as well as staples such as airports, downtown areas, docks, football fields, plus roads and bridges to connect them all.

AI Improvements

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Along with Warzone, several other game modes may feature an all-new AI system. While most FPS games have laughably poor AI, Infinity Ward seems to have really done their homework here.

AI enemies are modeled on the behavior patterns of real-life airsoft and military teams, and will clear out rooms efficiently while pathing their way through the game better than any of their predecessors. The testing teams are currently stressing their code by pitting 100 human players versus 300 AI players, ensuring that the final product is as bug-free as possible.

The AI will also behave according to a sophisticated algorithm while unengaged in combat, presumably following patrol routines or even indulging fans with amusing references or jokes as they’re being watched from afar.

New Game Modes

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The game also releases with new game-modes other than the usual fare we’ve seen before. These are:

Knockout: A one-minute superfast gamemode with one life, revives, and a package that must be held in order to score points.

Prisoner Rescue: Reminiscent of the classic hostage gamemode from Counter-Strike, one team aims to rescue a group of hostages, while the other fends their counterparts off.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II releases on October 28th, 2022.

(Featured Image Credits: Activision, Infinity Ward)