Following the underwhelming performance of Call of Duty Vanguard last year, Activision is hoping to reinvigorate the CoD fanbase with Modern Warfare 2, a return to Infinity Ward’s fan-favorite subseries. Activision has reason to be hopeful following the recent beta, as it was the biggest in franchise history, both in terms of player count and hours played.
The highly anticipated shooter is nearly here, so we’ve created this broad overview of everything you need to know about Modern Warfare 2, including details on its release, campaign, multiplayer, Spec Ops, Warzone 2.0, gameplay trailers and much more.
MW2 Release Date, Platforms, and Price
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will be released on October 28 for PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, Xbox One, and PC (Battle.net and Steam). Those who preorder MW2 will be able to access the campaign early, beginning October 20. The standard edition of MW2 will cost $70 USD across all platforms, including last-gen consoles and PC.
Warzone 2.0, meanwhile, will be released on November 16 for the same platforms. Like its predecessor, it will be free to play.
Infinity Ward is leading development on Modern Warfare 2. The studio was responsible for all previous Modern Warfare games, including the original MW2 in 2009 and the subseries’ most recent entry, 2019’s Modern Warfare.
Development is supported by several other Activision studios: Activision Central Design, Activision Central Tech, Activision Localization Dublin, Activision QA, Activision Shanghai, Beenox, Demonware, High Moon Studios, Raven Software, Sledgehammer Games, Toys for Bob, and Treyarch.
Latest MW2 Trailer
The latest Modern Warfare 2 trailer showcases Task Force 141 with over a minute of campaign footage. The footage includes fresh looks at both cutscenes and gameplay. Check it out below:
Modern Warfare 2 Gameplay
MW2 Single-Player Campaign
Picking up after the events of 2019’s Modern Warfare, which ended with the formation of Task Force 141, Modern Warfare 2 stars the members of that iconic task force: Captain John Price, Kyle “Gaz” Garrick, Simon “Ghost” Riley, Sergeant John “Soap” MacTavish, and an all-new squadmate in Colonel Alejandro Vargas.
The campaign will span continents, with missions set in the Americas, Europe, and Asia, as Task Force 141 “works to neutralize a terrorist conspiracy and attack on the U.S.” The campaign promises to include “offshore sieges with underwater combat, all-out explosive assaults from 30,000 feet above enemy strongholds, and high-stakes, low-profile stealth missions in both plain sight and under the cover of darkness.”
In our MW2 campaign impressions, we were impressed by one of the underwater missions, as well as its visual fidelity, bolstered by excellent shadows and lighting. Infinity Ward also boasts improved AI behavior, which we noted in our preview: “There’s also a new AI system that makes your teammates in single-player feel more like actual players. The AI will take on self-preservation behavior like checking corners before moving out and disengaging from precarious positions and coordinate their behavior.”
You can watch over seven minutes of campaign footage from the mission Dark Water below:
The main attraction. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s multiplayer brings back staple 6v6 modes (TDM, Domination, etc.) in addition to large-scale Ground War matches. MW2 will feel familiar to longtime Call of Duty players, though Infinity Ward has detailed some notable changes this time around.
One of the biggest additions to MW2 is the inclusion of third-person playlists. These playlists forego CoD’s typical first-person perspective for an over-the-shoulder view, much like the one used in Fortnite. One big difference between MW2’s third-person mode and Fortnite is the perspective switches to first-person when aiming down sights. Infinity War says this enables “more accurate firing.” As of now, the first- and third-person playlists will remain separated.
Infinity Ward also touts the improvements it’s made to water-based combat. Players can dip underwater as an evasive or stealth maneuver, while underwater combat changes the physics of action; guns and explosives will operate differently (if they work at all), while increased density slows down bullets, requiring players to add more lead to their shots.
On the traversal front, MW2 retains the slide mechanic from recent games while bringing back the ability to dive. You can also hang from ledges, allowing you to peek above a ledge before mantling.
Outside of the battlefield, Infinity Ward is bringing back the Firing Range, where you can test out weapons away from the dangers of online matches. Meanwhile, the loadout creator Gunsmith has been revamped to enable more streamlined customization. One way in which Infinity Ward hopes to accomplish this is through Weapon Platforms, which allow you to swap weapon types while retaining your attachments on a specific loadout. Progression has been modified as well to reduce repetitiveness. You no longer need to unlock attachments for each weapon; attachment unlocks are now shared across Weapon Platforms or the entire game (depending on the specific attachment).
For more, be sure to check out our Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer review in progress.
MW2 Multiplayer Maps
Modern Warfare 2 features two types of multiplayer maps: Core (6v6) and Battle (large-scale matches). As of October 7, Infinity War has confirmed five Core maps: Breenbergh Hotel, Farm 18, Marina Bay Grand Prix, Mercado Las Almas, and Valderas Museum. Infinity Ward says these maps were designed to be straightforward and refined.
Additionally, the developer has revealed three Battle maps: Sa’id, Santa Seña, and Sariff Bay. Battle maps are points of interest (i.e., smaller sections) taken from the new Warzone map, Al Mazrah. These maps will host the Ground War and Invasion game modes. You can check out the Call of Duty maps from our Beta guide.
MW2 Multiplayer Modes
Like MW2’s maps, the shooter’s multiplayer modes are split into Core (6v6) and Battle (large-scale matches). In addition to staples like Team Deathmatch and Domination, Infinity Ward is introducing two new 6v6 game modes:
- Prisoner Rescue: Attackers attempt to rescue and extract a hostage; Defenders attempt to kill Attackers before they can do so. Respawns are off, though teammates can be revived. From Infinity Ward: “What happens when you take Search & Destroy and crank up the stakes?”
- Knockout: A package spawns in the middle of the map. Hold on to it for a minute (or eliminate the other team) to win a round. Respawns are off, though teammates can be revived. From Infinity Ward: “Knockout takes elements from Modern Warfare’s 2v2 Gunfight and from the final circle action within Call of Duty: Warzone. It is a very fast, very tactical round-based mode.”
On the Battle Mode side, MW2 features Ground War (32v32), which is essentially large-scale Domination. Infinity Ward is also introducing Invasion, which is essentially large-scale Team Deathmatch. Invasion features two teams of 40, each comprised of 20 human players and 20 AI soldiers.
Warzone 2.0 Release Date
Activision will follow up Modern Warfare 2 with the release of a new battle royale, Warzone 2.0, on November 16. The new, once again free-to-play Warzone will exist separately from the current Warzone and include “content and systems” from MW2, as well as “brand-new progression and inventories.”
The biggest change coming to the new Warzone is, of course, an all-new map called Al Mazrah. Infinity Ward has detailed nearly 20 points of interest on the map, which include an oasis, oil refinery, airport, observatory, villages, cities, caves, marshlands, and more.
The new Warzone promises “combat across the land, sea, and air as the environment expands to include rivers, lakes, parts of the ocean, and more water-logged locations.” Complementing this gameplay initiative are over a dozen new vehicles that can be piloted, once again, across land, sea, and air. Vehicles will now run out of gas (though they can be refilled at gas stations or with gas canisters), while enemy players can damage tires, doors, and shoot out windows.
Infinity Ward has also tweaked the way the map shrinks throughout a match. The developer says to expect “variations within the circle collapse.” It added: “One possible occurrence may be the result of extreme weather pattern anomalies resulting in the safe zone splitting into multiple circles throughout a match that reconverge into a single safe zone as the match gets closer to the final circle.”
A notable change is also coming to the Gulag: these in-match matches will now be 2v2 instead of 1v1, with the winners returning to the main map. Warzone 2.0 also introduces a second way to escape the Gulag — by killing an AI enemy named The Jailer, who holds a key to the prison.
Al Marzah is also occupied by AI opponents, though these will be optional combatants. These opponents occupy Strongholds, which house “impressive” loot, and only engage with you when attacked.
Infinity Ward has also announced DMZ, an “extraction mode” within the new Warzone. The developer said DMZ is “about choosing your own experience within the warzone, working socially if you wish, and collecting gear to keep in your Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 inventory and utilize from match to match.” It will share more information closer to the November 16 launch.
Development on the new Warzone is led by Infinity Ward with support from Raven Software, the studio that leads development on the current iteration of Warzone.
MW2 Spec Ops and Raid Mode
Special Ops, the subseries’ longrunning co-op mode, returns in MW2. The two-player cooperative mode is set after the MW2 campaign and allows you to “explore large-scale hot zones” in a “number of branching operations.” Spec Ops is designed with asymmetrical gameplay in mind, according to Infinity Ward. One example given is a mission in which one player provides air support while the other does battle on the ground. Spec Ops will be available at launch.
Infinity Ward is introducing a second co-op mode in MW2 called Raids, “a three-player cooperative engagement requiring teamwork and strategic, puzzle-solving thinking in-between bouts of intense combat.” It will be added to MW2 later in 2022.
Every IGN Call of Duty Review
The MW2 multiplayer beta ran from September 16-26. According to Infinity Ward, it was Call of Duty’s “biggest” beta ever — “the most players, most hours played, and most matches played.”
Following the beta, Infinity Ward announced it will be making the following changes for the multiplayer mode at launch:
- Tweaks to footstep volume (presumably the launch version will reduce the volume of footsteps)
- “Increased enemy visibility to allow for better visual tracking of opponents.”
- Address disbanding lobbies
- Further weapon tuning
- Refinements to the “camera shoulder-swapping” in the third-person playlist
- Bug fixes for Ground War and Invasion
- AI improvements for Invasion
There are no plans for a second beta ahead of MW2’s October 28 launch.
MW2 Battle Pass
Modern Warfare 2 will, unsurprisingly, feature a Battle Pass, though Infinity Ward has yet to reveal much information about it. It did say the Battle Pass will include “weapon blueprints, Operator skins, and more.”
MW2 PlayStation Exclusive Content
While Microsoft is in the midst of acquiring Activision Blizzard (and therefore the Call of Duty IP) Sony’s existing marketing deal remains active for MW2 and Warzone 2.0, granting PS5 and PS4 players exclusive content. This year’s exclusive content is the Oni Operator and an exclusive “high-level” weapon blueprint. The content will remain exclusive to PlayStation platforms until October 27, 2023. It can be obtained by preordering MW2 digitally on the PS Store.
Here’s some additional info on the operator, courtesy of PS Blog: “Hiro ‘Oni’ Watanabe is a warrior and gun-for-hire who descended from a centuries-old samurai clan. Torn between country and family, he honors the code of the samurai while fighting to clear his disgraced family name.”
MW2 Preorders and Special Editions
In addition to the standard edition, Activision will release the Modern Warfare 2 Vault Edition, a $100 USD premium version of this year’s Call of Duty. The Vault Edition includes the following exclusive extras:
- Red Team 141: four multiplayer Operators — Ghost, Farah, Price, and Soap — each equipped with a masked, Ghost-themed outfit
- The FJX Cinder Weapon Vault (“A Weapon Vault is the ultimate Weapon Blueprint: a variant of a weapon that keeps its cosmetic properties on all attachments native to its base platform,” according to Infinity Ward.)
- One season of the Battle Pass + 50 tier skips
- 20+ free items for Modern Warfare (2019) and the existing Warzone, including 12 Ghost Operator skins and 10 assault rifle weapon blueprints
All Progression Rewards in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2