Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: First hands-on with multiplayer

On Thursday, Activision and Infinity Ward unveiled more details about Modern Warfare multiplayer. Shacknews recently had a chance to take a look at what's coming, going hands-on with some of the game's multiplayer modes.


Prior to E3 2019, Activision and Infinity Ward revealed their plan to move into the future by touching on the past. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare returns to the era of fighting in the modern era, touching on present-day conflicts and scenarios. But while the goals for single-player have been established, it's not time to move on to what the game's multiplayer has to offer.

Modern Warfare's multiplayer is looking to offer something for a variety of audiences. Whether you want to tag team with a partner in the 2v2 Gun Game, queue into traditional rounds of Team Deathmatch and Domintaion, or get into much larger games with larger maps. Shacknews got a first taste of what Modern Warfare multiplayer will have to offer earlier this week.

Here are the game modes that appear to be confirmed for Modern Warfare so far:

  • Team Deathmatch: Team Deathmatch is as traditional as Call of Duty itself, but there will be a couple of twists available. While TDM can be played with traditional settings, it can also be played 10v10 or 20v20, with different map selections available for larger sessions.
  • Domination: Domination is another Call of Duty staple. Attempt to capture three points and control them for as long as possible. The first team to score 200 points wins.
  • Gunfight: An old favorite, Gun Game has been refined into Gunfight, now designed for a 2v2 setting. We've previously detailed Gunfight earlier this summer.
  • Headquarters: Another old favorite, Headquarters will randomly spawn a capture point somewhere along the map. When the Headquarters is captured, the capturing team must defend the spot for as long as possible. The team defending the Headquarters cannot respawn if killed until the next Headquarters point spawns in.
  • Cyber Attack: This is one of the newest multiplayer modes for Modern Warfare. This sees two teams looking to grab a bomb in the center of the map and escort it to the opposing team's data network, in order to disable it. Downed players will not respawn, however they can be revived by teammates.

There are a couple of things to note about multiplayer this time around and that's the size of the maps. Map designs run the gamut for smaller sessions, like Gunfight. But they'll also vary between the expected map size for the average game of Domination or TDM and much larger maps for bigger sessions. Aniyah Palace, for example, is big enough to hold an entire Middle Eastern chateau in the center of the map, while also offering enough of an outdoor area to allow for two-person ATVs.

Most of the game's maps will take place during the day, but one particular instance of Team Deathmatch saw us revisit the Azhir Cave map, but at night. This meant playing the entirety of the game with night vision goggles, which proved to be more than an aesthetic change. Because of the nature of Red Dot Sight, night vision means you can see the full laser on any firearm. That means it's easier to see what's coming and anticipate the arrival of enemies. On the other side, it means that players can't use RDS to aid their aim and will have to compensate for that loss.

Guarding points in game modes like Headquarters and Domination also requires a little more strategy this time around, thanks to a seemingly minor addition: doors. Yes, doors and how you interact with them can play a big factor in the average multiplayer session. It's possible to push a door open slightly, so as not to give your position away, offering just enough space to slip in a smoke grenade. You can barrel straight through the door at full speed, in an effort to take the enemy by surprise. You can even breach the door with a C4 explosive and hope you'll catch someone unaware on the other side. The same principle works defensively. You can close doors behind you and patiently wait for some careless goofball to barge in and get riddled with bullets. You can also set a trap by shutting a door and then placing a claymore right behind it.

Sound design for Modern Warfare is critical across the board and multiplayer will be no exception. Infinity Ward has gone out of its way to test audio for its various weapons, incorporating the sounds of bullet trails from distance, from indoors, from inside hollow caves, and other scenarios in order to create as accurate an experience as possible. For the average player, that means it should be easier to judge the distance of an enemy player.

This is not all that Modern Warfare multiplayer has to offer. Infinity Ward is also looking to feature what they're touting as a fresh spin on Search and Destroy. They're also going even larger scale with Ground War, a mode that promises to hold more than 100 players.

Character builds promise to have more variety than the average Call of Duty game. Beyond the full Create-A-Class feature, Perks, and Killstreaks playing a big role in how players constitute their character, Infinity Ward is also adding a full-blown Gunsmith feature to most of the game's firearms. This means customizing a slew of firearm components, including stock, grip, muzzle, and even special perks exclusive to guns. Many of these options will have trade-offs, increasing the value of one stat while lowering another.

Modern Warfare will look to be the most connected of the Call of Duty games to date, allowing for progression to carry over across single-player, co-op, and multiplayer, with cross-play supported across PC and consoles. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will release on PC (via, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on October 25.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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