Activision and Infinity Ward showed off the multiplayer portion of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 today ahead of the open beta, which kicks off tomorrow.
One multiplayer feature the developers showed off was swimming and Aquatic Combat. Instead of dying when hitting the water like in previous games, action now occurs above, on, and in water. Various elements will be present such as currents and waves, and the water can be clean, murky, polluted, or have debris.
In the open beta, maps with water will showcase these enhancements, and you can use water as a stealth or escape mechanism. You can even change your stance or sprint and look down to plunge underwater. If you fire underwater using sidearms and certain equipment, your weapon’s projectile will be affected by the increased density, so you may need to change your aim. You will also need to pay special attention to Tactical items, and you may need to try all-new strategies when attacking boats, enemies below the water’s surface, or when you’re avoiding or deploying an explosive.
The multiplayer portion of Modern Warfare 2 also features additional traversal mechanics. For instance, you can Slide or Dive to the floor and even use Ledge Hang which allows you to peek from a Mantle and look around. The developers are also testing the ability to pull up a pistol and engage from a Ledge Hang.
Multiplayer will also feature more action-oriented maneuvers on the new vehicles. Expect a variety of tactical advancements, including the ability to lean out of windows and shoot or mantle onto a vehicle roof, destroy various sections on vehicles, and even blow out tires.
Speaking of vehicles, you can employ multiple ground, air, and water vehicles, depending on the game mode and map. Nine of them are land-based and range from a Hatchback car to a Heavy Tank. All-Terrain Vehicles have made a return, and there are new Utility Terrain Vehicles, Tactical Vehicles, SUVs, and the Cargo Truck returns. There are also two tanks and an Armored Personnel Carrier.
If you like to fly, there’s the Light Helo as well as a new Heavy Chopper that works a little like an airborne Cargo Truck in terms of carrying capacity. If you are on the water, you can ride narrower waterways in the Rigid Inflatable Boat, or use the Armored Patrol Boat which sports an armored hull and a mounted .50 caliber machine gun.
In multiplayer, Tactical Equipment and Field Upgrades have more unique options than before. There’s the Tactical Camera which allows you to monitor an area, and when an enemy comes by, it emits a warning sound. There’s also the Shock Stick which adheres to surfaces and then sends out a burst of electricity that harms foes, destroys equipment, and messes with vehicles.
Another piece of Tactical Equipment is the Drill Charge which you lob onto the outside of a building. It will bore a hole and once the drill is through, it launches a grenade that inflicts splash damage. Another is the DDoS. This attack lets you know if there’s equipment or vehicles in your visual vicinity. If so, it will deactivate them temporarily and it also disrupts enemy sensors in the immediate area.
There’s also Perk Packages which consist of four Perks – two bases, plus two more known as a Bonus and Ultimate. All are earned during a multiplayer match, usually at the four and eight-minute mark in non-round-based modes. Kills, assists, objective, and tactical plays can unlock these more quickly. You can even edit your Perk Package in your Loadout.
And, the one that sounds the most fun, to us at least, is the Inflatable Decoy. This polymer dummy inflates after you throw it, and can also act as a proximity mine.
With Modern Warfare 2, the Gunsmith weapon customization system will come with new enhancements, and the biggest change is the Weapons Platform. Instead of being in a separate family this time out, weapons come in Platforms. This allows you complete control over the weaponry you bring into matches.
How it works, is you will rank up to receive every base Weapons Platform. The first weapon unlocked on a Platform is known by its receiver which is an attachment. Unlock more receivers as you progress and you access additional weapons within a Platform.
Changing a receiver will alter the weapon, so it will be considered a new one when building a Loadout but it will remain within the same Weapons Platform. You can change the receiver to build a weapon with different capabilities such as an Automatic Rifle, Light Machine Gun, Battle Rifle, or Submachine Gun.
After picking your chosen weapon you will start to level it and the Platform up, and augment it via two different pools of attachments. These are Weapons Platform Attachments which are attachments usable only within the Weapons Platform such as barrels, magazines, stocks, and rear grips. Then there’s Universal Attachments that can be used across all Weapons Platforms, and examples include muzzles, underbarrels, ammunition, lasers, and optics.
If you unlock a Universal Attachment, it becomes usable across the entire Gunsmith and only needs to be unlocked once.
The game will also include Weapon Vaults. The FJX Cinder Weapon Vault will be free to use in the open beta and full game for those who pre-order the Vault Edition of Modern Warfare 2. It is an entirely unlocked Weapons Platform.
Owning a Weapon Vault means having every attachment from an equivalent Weapons Platform ready to use. This is the “Ultimate Weapon Blueprint” as it instantly unlocks dozens of platform-native attachments. You can access immediate customization with a collection of Weapons Platform Specific Attachments, and every attachment inside a Weapon Vault features a specific cosmetic appearance.
The open beta will feature two types of multiplayer maps for you to play: Battle Maps with up to 32v32, and Core Maps which are 6v6.
Battle Maps were created for Ground War modes with multiple squads of players per team. Here, every building can be explored, vehicles can be driven, and various styles of gameplay are available within a single Battle Map. AI combatants will appear on Ground War maps in the new Invasion Mode, which Infinity Ward hopes will provide players with gameplay that is both “chaotic and supremely satisfying.”
Core Maps are where special Task Forces are deployed, and all are custom-made exclusively for 6v6 game modes. They are slightly smaller and more straightforward in design than previous multiplayer maps. There’s Valderas Museum set in Spain, the training facility Farm 18, and the small marketplace Mercado Las Almas. Additional maps will be made available at launch and across every season.
Multiplayer also features other modes such as Team Deathmatch and Domination, but there are three brand-new modes scheduled during the open beta. One is Knockout, which has you trying to eliminate the opposing force or hold the package to win. There are no respawns, and teammates can revive each other. There’s also Prisoner Rescue, which puts breach and siege gameplay front and center, and Invasion for Ground War which is a massive Deathmatch set across large maps.
You can also enjoy the game from a new perspective. Across multiplayer and specific modes within Modern Warfare 2, there will be clearly defined “Third-Person” Playlists. For the open beta, the intention is to keep Third-Person and First-Person Playlists separate, but feedback and gameplay could change this plan.
In this mode, the camera is set a few feet back over the right shoulder of your Operator. This allows you more perspective on your overall surroundings, in exchange for less depth of field in front of you. You’re able to shoulder swap assisting you when peeking around corners. Zooming is automatic whenever the camera moves, and the camera stops before colliding with objects you’re close to. Your crosshair is automatically set in the middle of the screen, along with an “X” whenever the camera is angled behind an object. When you’re aiming down sights, the perspective switches to a first-person view, allowing for more accurate firing.
When Modern Warfare 2 releases, the Firing Range will become available. This is an offline testing ground with three firing lanes, ledges for mantling, and multiple targets at different ranges.
Once you finish the main campaign in the game, you can play Special Ops with another player in a cooperative experience that allows you to explore large-scale hot zones for multiple branching operations.
Later this year, you can enjoy Raids, which are a three-player cooperative engagement requiring teamwork and strategic, puzzle-solving in-between bouts of combat.
For PlayStation users who pre-order the game through the PlayStation Store, there will be the exclusive Operator Hiro “Oni” Watanabe made available at launch. The Operator brings with him a high-level Weapon Blueprint.
And finally, for those who like a bit of fair play, Ricochet Anti-Cheat, and its PC kernel-level driver, will be available on day one for both Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0.
While today’s Modern Warfare 2 showcase focused on multiplayer, don’t forget that it also features a campaign you can play up to a week early if you digitally pre-order the game.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 releases for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S on October 28.