In a lot of ways, Activision and Infinity Ward are going back to basics with the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare reboot. Returning characters, classic guns, and none (or way, way less) of the new-age sci-fi nuttiness that's defined the most recent games. But as Infinity Ward explained in a recent blog post, the new Modern Warfare is also making fundamental changes to the way weapons handle.
"We were a little less precious with these [weapons] systems," said multiplayer design director Geoff Smith. "We looked to see what still made sense, and pulled stuff out that we feel didn’t work, even if it made the team uncomfortable. Everybody on the team had pre-conceived notions on what ‘Call of Duty’ is and we had to shake people out of that mindset."
One of the first big changes had to do with bullet velocity. Call of Duty games are blisteringly fast, so Infinity Ward didn't want to add too much bullet drop, but for the sake of weapon variety and the multiplayer skill ceiling, Modern Warfare does ease off the instantaneous, hit-scan style of weapon a bit. "At close and mid-range, and depending on the weapon you’re firing, expect an instantaneous hit from your weapon’s ordnance," Activision's David Hodgson wrote. "A little further away, and you’ll need a little more skill [to lead your shots]."
Some longstanding weapon types are also receiving a bit of a shake-up. SMGs, for instance, have been high-recoil close-range weapons for years, but as Smith noted, "in reality, they are low-caliber weapons and are easier to control; they’re lower damage, they’re fairly accurate, so we’ve shifted the role of that weapon around."
At the same time, some of the customization options coming in the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Gunsmith system will give weapons a huge range of, well, ranges. Smith teased that "we have a shotgun that you can make by adding a long-barrel and a sniper scope, making it a sniper shotgun. Or you can modify that same weapon by removing the barrel and stock, and get this snub-nose, super-fast weapon that’s completely different than how you started out."
Speaking of the multiplayer skill ceiling: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will thankfully have dedicated servers on all platforms.