Late last month, publisher Activision announced that this year’s Call of Duty game is titled Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. The new entry plans on returning to one of the most beloved series within the franchise. That being said, this is neither a sequel nor a remake. Instead, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will serve as a reboot set in an alternate timeline. The reimaging will also bring back some familiar faces, such as Captain Price who was a character in previous Modern Warfare games. With the Modern Warfare series being such a big contributor to the franchise’s success, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare could bring a resurgence of energy to fans who have been longing for a familiar experience.
Back in 2007, developer Infinity Ward released Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The military first-person shooter was the first entry to break away from the World War 2 setting. Infinity Ward changed the direction of the franchise to focus on providing an experience that was an accurate representation of modern day war. Not only did the game have a stellar single player campaign, but it also had a captivating online multiplayer experience. The game included a wide variety of deathmatch based games that paired perfectly with online voice chat. This execution of online multiplayer would become the standard for all future Call of Duty titles.
The Modern Warfare series saw a second and third entry that continued the same level of excellence that the first Modern Warfare game was known for. It is extremely apparent that the Modern Warfare series can be held responsible for bringing so much success to the franchise.
As the Call of Duty brand continued to grow, it eventually ran into the problem of attempting to make each annual release something fresh and new. Entries such as 2014’s Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare or 2016’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare attempted to reinvent the franchise by including more futuristic elements. The new sci-fi perspective created some fun gameplay, but branching away from the realistic warfare genre of the previous games left numerous fans irritated with the drastic change. Flying spaceships, exoskeleton suits, and jet packs were world’s different from the “boots on the ground” gunplay that the franchise was known for. Adapting and changing can be a great thing, but Call of Duty was overlooking several components that were responsible for shaping its identity.
In today’s market, remakes, remasters, and reimaginings are quite popular. It appears to be on trend to revisit properties that were in the limelight at one point in time. People love nostalgia and it makes sense to revisit the things we associate good memories with. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is a smart approach for two major reasons. It introduces an entirely new generation to one of the best series of the Call of Duty family. It also brings back those fans who may have fallen off from the franchise over the last several years. The revisit also proves that Activision does, in fact, understand how important the Modern Warfare series is.
Although the Modern Warfare series is well received, the reboot is not a guaranteed success. The video game industry has changed significantly since the first Modern Warfare game was released. Today’s Call of Duty games can be littered with loot boxes and silly cosmetic items that would inappropriately clash with the realistic tone that the reimagining is supposedly going for. As long as the video game-esque elements don’t overshadow the grit, Modern Warfare should have no problem reaching the wider gaming audience.
There is no question that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will have incredible sales numbers. If it fails to recapture the nostalgic essence, Call of Duty could have a hard time climbing back to the top of online multiplayer video games. Only time will tell. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare releases on October 25, 2019, for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. Pre-order the game here.