GameGuide » Blog Archive » Modern Warfare 2: The Facts

Modern Warfare 2 (packaged as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2) is an upcoming first-person shooter video game developed by Infinity Ward and published by Activision for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. Officially announced on February 11, 2009, the game is due for worldwide release on November 10, 2009. It is the sixth installment of the Call of Duty series, and the direct sequel to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, continuing along the same storyline. Modern Warfare 2 will be released in conjunction with two other Call of Duty games: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Mobilized for the Nintendo DS, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, a port of Call of Duty 4 designed for the Wii console. The developer has stated that the game’s proprietary IW 4.0 game engine is an improvement over the engine used in its previous game.


Gameplay in the campaign mode In response to questions about the length of the single-player campaign, Infinity Ward CCO Jason West stated that Modern Warfare 2 would not be longer than the 6-10 hour-long campaign of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Mission settings in the game will include Russia, a military base in Kazakhstan, a desert area in Afghanistan, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Special Ops

Modern Warfare 2 will feature a cooperative mode entitled Special Ops, which consists of independent missions similar in design to the “Mile High Club” epilogue mission from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. These missions will take place in a variety of locations from the campaign mode, but will not be related to story of the campaign itself. Special Ops will support cooperative play for up to two players. Scenarios include a snowmobile race, a battle alongside U.S. Navy SEALs, and fending off a wave of 50 enemies at once.


The multiplayer mode of Modern Warfare 2 retains the experience points and unlockable rewards system of Call of Duty 4, and introduces several new features. Aside from new weapons and equipment, 15 different kill streak rewards can be unlocked and selected by the player. Among these is the ability to call in a strike by an AC-130 gunship after achieving 11 enemy kills in a row.


Characters During the single-player campaign, the player will take on the role of Sergeant Gary “Roach” Sanderson, a member of an elite, multinational commando unit known as Task Force 141. The player character in Call of Duty 4, Sergeant “Soap” MacTavish, returns as a non-playable character; promoted to captain in the Special Air Service, MacTavish is now the head of the Task Force and Sanderson’s superior officer.


Modern Warfare 2 is set several years after the conclusion of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The radical Russian Ultranationalist organization has returned to prominence under the leadership of Vladimir Makarov, a former associate of Imran Zakhaev with his own ambitions. Makarov has publicized Zakhaev’s death as an act of martyrdom to garner support for his cause, enabling him to build a strong power base in Russia over the years. Fearful of Makarov’s growing influence, the global community established Task Force 141 to counter the threat posed by the resurgent Ultranationalists.


Modern Warfare 2 was originally referred to under the working title Call of Duty 6. The game was first announced under the title Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 by Activision on December 3, 2008. Activision subsequently retracted their announcement, stating that any information about an upcoming Call of Duty game was “speculative”; Infinity Ward also asserted that they had not officially confirmed their latest project at that time. On February 11, 2009, Activision officially announced Modern Warfare 2 and set a tentative release date for “Holiday 2009.”


Voice actor Ken Lally, who has previously provided motion capture work for the Resident Evil 5 character Albert Wesker, confirmed that he provided voice work for Modern Warfare 2; his role in the game was not specified. 50 Cent will provide voice work for the Special Ops and multiplayer modes, playing as “one of the squad voices.” It’s doubtful that 50 Cent’s voice will add any real value to the game play, but his being associated with the game will probably help his credibility no end.

Game engine

The game utilizes the in-house IW 4.0 game engine, which is claimed to be a generation beyond the capabilities of the engine used in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

Infinity Ward has addressed the issue of enemies that continually respawn at different points of a level. The developer demonstrated that the game engine uses a “dynamic AI,” which has replaced the respawn system and allows enemies to act more independently. These “smarter” enemies are designed to actively seek and drive the player forward through a level, and can break away from set behaviors such as following a designated route in order to attack more quickly. The player cannot depend on an enemy being in the same location because enemies will behave differently each time a level is played.


On March 25, 2009, a teaser trailer for the game was revealed at the Game Developer Choice Awards ceremony in San Francisco. The teaser was also posted on Infinity Ward’s website. The teaser was also released on the Xbox Live Marketplace and on the PlayStation Network a short time later. A second teaser was released on May 10, 2009, showing gameplay features such as snowmobile driving and an underwater mission. The teaser announced that the game would be “revealed” on TNT during the NBA Eastern Conference Finals on May 24, 2009. The “reveal” was the first full-length trailer, which debuted extended sequences of actual in-game scenes and combat; the trailer was subsequently made available on the Modern Warfare 2 official website, which was updated for the occasion. A fourth trailer was released on July 27, 2009, showing the first footage of the game’s multiplayer mode.

An early campaign mission called “Cliffhanger” was demonstrated during E3 2009, following the player character Sgt. Gary “Roach” Sanderson as he and Capt. “Soap” MacTavish infiltrate a Russian base in the Tian Shan mountain range in Kazakhstan and escape on snowmobiles.

On July 21, 2009, Infinity Ward’s Community Manager Robert Bowling revealed through Twitter that a Modern Warfare 2 controller was in the works. Peripherals manufacturer Mad Catz was contracted by Activision to create a line of Modern Warfare 2 controllers and accessories for all platforms that the game will be available on.

Activision stated in its quarterly earnings report that pre-orders for the game had broken a company record; more copies of Modern Warfare 2 had been pre-ordered than any other game that the company had published.


The original teaser trailer announced the release date for the game to be November 10, 2009, and confirmed that the game’s title of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was officially shortened to just Modern Warfare 2. After photographs of the official retail boxes were posted by Infinity Ward community manager Robert Bowling, Activision confirmed that the standard-edition Modern Warfare 2 packaging will feature the Call of Duty brand logo in order to reflect the game’s placement in the Call of Duty universe. It is speculated that the decision was influenced by findings that brand awareness for the game was significantly lower without the Call of Duty brand.

Retail versions

Modern Warfare 2 will be released in three different retail versions across the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms: standard, Hardened, and Prestige. The standard version consists of the game and instructional manual, and will be the only version available for the Microsoft Windows platform. The Hardened Edition consists of the game and manual packaged in a steel book case, an art book, and a token to download the original Call of Duty from Xbox Live Arcade or the PlayStation Store. The Prestige Edition contains all of the elements of the Hardened Edition, but will also include fully-functioning night vision goggles imprinted with the Modern Warfare 2 logo and a stand modeled after the head of character “Soap” MacTavish. The Prestige Edition however, is likely already sold out in New Zealand.

Downloadable content

Activision announced that at least two downloadable map packs will be released for Modern Warfare 2. Microsoft stated at E3 2009 that these map packs would be made available for the Xbox 360 via Xbox Live before they would be released for other platforms. Infinity Ward’s Robert Bowling said that community response to the game and the first two downloadable map packs would be used in designing other potential map packs.

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