After months of rumors and a regularly scheduled logo leak from a Doritos standee, Activision is finally ready to announce that this year's Call of Duty is Modern Warfare 3. It's releasing November 10, and a more formal reveal will happen during a Warzone event sometime soon.
Sounds like business as usual for Activision's FPS empire, except there are reasons to believe this year's Call of Duty will be anything but ordinary.
For one: this time last year, the prevailing rumor declared that Treyarch's next CoD was delayed a year, and there wouldn't be a "premium" Call of Duty game in 2023. At the time, Bloomberg's Jason Schreier reported that instead of a full new game, Modern Warfare 2 would receive a second year of live service support. Activision eventually said 2023 would have a premium CoD after all, though Schreier claimed CoD 2023 would be more like a "paid expansion" to Modern Warfare 2 made by Sledgehammer Games.
"It's supposed to have lots of content! Maybe that's why they call it a 'full' release. But it's more MW2," Schreier tweeted at the time.
Now we know that "more MW2" is coming in the form of Modern Warfare 3, and the timing couldn't be weirder. We just got Infinity Ward's rebooted Modern Warfare 2 last year, and now there's already a threequel? That simply does not happen: not since 2007 has a CoD gotten a sequel just one year later, as Activision's studios have churned out their own distinct takes on the series on a 2-3 year cycle. More recently, Activision has been splitting the work on one game across multiple studios, with one studio "leading" development. So why is Sledgehammer leading Modern Warfare 3 when it's always been Infinity Ward's series, and what exactly is Modern Warfare 3?
Right now it's a logo, but I expect Activision's proper reveal will sell Modern Warfare 3 like any other CoD sequel: a campaign, multiplayer, maybe some co-op, and Warzone tie-ins. I think we should be ready for Modern Warfare 3 to feel more like a stopgap—it's absolutely possible the newest thing about Modern Warfare 3 will be its campaign, while its multiplayer suite will resemble the "second year of MW2" that Schreier reported last year.
Depending on your feelings on Call of Duty's live service era, that might sound like a great thing. A second year of MW2 could mean we won't have to start over from level 1—it could even mean all of its guns, maps, and cosmetics will carry over. Modern Warfare 2 is the best CoD since the last time Infinity Ward was in charge, so I wouldn't mind another year of silky smooth shooting and goofy canted laser sights.
Of course, the cynical read is that Treyarch's delay threatened to cause the first year without a new CoD, so Activision is patching a "premium" Call of Duty together out of scraps. I hope that's not the case—especially if Modern Warfare 3 is gonna be a full $70 game.
We'll know more when Activision spills the beans on Modern Warfare 3 sometime soon.