Even 14 years on, those two words still instantly evoke one of the most memorable and controversial moments in Call of Duty history, a mission in 2009’s Modern Warfare 2 that cast players as an American soldier working undercover with a group of Russian ultranationalists led by Vladimir Makarov. We’ll spare you the unsavory details, but suffice it to say the events of that level established Makarov as a truly fearsome villain.
So when last year’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II—part of a rebooted timeline inspired by the original Modern Warfare trilogy—closed with that same phrase, we knew something big was on the way. What we didn’t know is that it would take just a year for Activision to deliver on that tease, with this year’s Modern Warfare III serving as a direct sequel that pits the soldiers of Task Force 141 against Makarov in a new campaign.
In addition to the classic style of linear, cinematic missions Call of Duty is known for, Modern Warfare III also introduces “Open Combat Missions” emphasizing tactical freedom on open-ended maps. To accomplish that, lead developer Sledgehammer Games has incorporated elements of the battle royale spin-off Warzone into campaign missions. For instance, one Open Combat Mission is set on an updated version of the original Warzone map’s Gora Dam. You’ll have a set objective, but it’s up to you to determine the route you take and the loadout you want to use. Do you try to go in stealthily, or guns blazing? Do you steal an enemy vehicle and barrel through bad guys? Do you parachute down from above?
Of course, as with any Call of Duty, Modern Warfare III’s campaign is just the beginning. In multiplayer, fans can expect to find a refreshed experience that ups the pace of play and brings back some beloved gameplay features. Remember the red-dot minimap, which lit up with the locations of enemy players whenever they fired their weapons? Yep, that’s coming back after being absent from the past few games. Also returning is map voting, meaning you’ll have a say in what your lobby plays next. Modern Warfare III also revives advanced techniques like slide canceling and reload canceling, which, when combined with faster strafing and manteling and the ability to fire your gun while sliding, should speed up combat.
At launch, the suite of standard 6v6 multiplayer modes will support 16 maps, all of which will be remasters of the lineup from 2009’s Modern Warfare 2. That means iconic battlefields like Rust, High Rise, Scrapyard, and Terminal are coming back with a fresh coat of paint and new gameplay features. If you’d prefer new maps, however, don’t worry, as Activision will be adding 12 of those through post-launch support.
In addition to 6v6 modes, Modern Warfare III will support the larger Ground War and Invasion game types, playable on three original maps at launch. Activision is also reviving Call of Duty: WWII‘s War mode, which spreads multiple objectives across a single large map and tasks one team with attacking while the other defends. Rounding out the experience is an entirely new game mode, Cutthroat, which mixes things up by pitting three teams of three against one another.
Oh, and in one final neat multiplayer twist, you’ll actually be able to carry over your unlocked weapons and equipment from last year’s Modern Warfare II into the new game, meaning you won’t have to start from zero.
Still not enough content for you? Well, how about Zombies? Yep, Activision is finally including Call of Duty’s popular survival co-op mode in a Modern Warfare title. Building off of Black Ops Cold War’s larger, more open-world approach, Modern Warfare III’s Zombies mode will up the ante even further by allowing your squad to work together with other groups to survive hordes of the undead, with up to six squads of four in a single match.
All told, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III looks to offer a thrilling mix of the old and the new, paying tribute to the history of the franchise while packing in more ways to play than ever before.