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This article is about the console and PC game. For the Nintendo DS game, see Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Mobilized.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (also referred to as simply Modern Warfare 2 or Call of Duty 6) is a first-person shooter video game developed by Infinity Ward and published by Activision for the Microsoft Windows personal computer, and the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 video game consoles. Officially announced on February 11, 2009, the game was released worldwide on November 10, 2009. It is the sixth installment of the Call of Duty series and the direct sequel to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, continuing along the same storyline. It was released in conjunction with two other Call of Duty games: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Mobilized for the Nintendo DS, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Reflex, a port of Call of Duty 4 adapted by Treyarch for the Wii console. In addition, a comic book series based on one of the game's characters will also be produced, entitled Modern Warfare 2: Ghost.
The game takes place five years after the previous installment. The campaign mode is divided between the multinational counter-terrorist group, Task Force 141, which is tasked with eliminating ultranationist Vladimir Makarov, and the U.S. Army Rangers, who are tasked with defending the United States from an audacious Russian invasion. Settings for the game include Afghanistan, Rio de Janeiro, Siberia, and Washington D.C.
Modern Warfare 2 has received highly positive reviews from various gaming websites, attaining a 94% aggregate score on Metacritic, with praise stemming primarily from its in-depth multiplayer component. Upon its release, the game sold approximately 4.7 million copies worldwide in 24 hours.
Similar to previous installments within the Call of Duty series, the player assumes the role of various characters during the single-player campaign, changing perspectives throughout the progression of the story.
Each mission features a series of objectives that are displayed on the HUD, which marks the direction and distance towards and from such objectives. Tasks vary in their requirements, having the player arrive at a particular checkpoint, eliminate enemies in a specified location, stand his/her ground to defend an objective, or plant explosive charges on an enemy installation. The player is accompanied by friendly troops who cannot be issued orders. Laptop computers that contain enemy intelligence appear throughout the campaign and may be collected to unlock several game bonuses.
Modern Warfare 2 features a cooperative mode entitled Special Ops, which consists of independent missions similar in design to the "Mile High Club" epilogue mission from Call of Duty 4. These missions take place in a variety of locations from the campaign mode, but are not related to story of the campaign itself. Most of the Special Ops missions may be played alone, but all of them support two player cooperative play in which two players can play together locally or online. Such mode includes scenarios such as a snowmobile race between the two players, one player providing air support from an AC-130 with the other player conducting operations on the ground, capturing an enemy compound, and searching areas for and eliminating 40 or more enemies at a time.
Special Ops is divided into five separate groups of missions: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, and Echo. Each mission may be played at three difficulty levels: regular, hardened, or veteran. Successfully completing a mission earns the players stars; there are up to three stars available for each mission: one star for completing the mission on regular difficulty, two for hardened, and three for veteran. Once enough stars are earned, more missions are unlocked. There are a total of 23 missions with their respective 69 stars available for unlock. At the end of each mission, a statistics screen displays how long the player(s) took in order to complete the level and how many kills were scored by each player, amongst other data.
Gameplay in the online multiplayer mode. The weapon pictured contains the heartbeat sensor attachment.The online multiplayer mode of Modern Warfare 2 retains the same experience points and unlockable reward system as that of Call of Duty 4, with game modes that include Free-For-All, Search & Destroy, Demolition, Domination, Team Deathmatch, and Capture The Flag. However, Modern Warfare 2 introduces several new features. Aside from new weapons, equipment, and perks that upgrade to "pro versions" after meeting utilization requirements, 15 different kill streak rewards can be unlocked and selected by the player. Among these is the ability to receive a supply drop after achieving four kills in a row, order a Predator missile strike after five kills, and call in an AC-130 gunship to strike from the sky after 11 kills. Another new feature is the in-game host migration; if a match host leaves the game, the current game no longer ends (as is the case in Call of Duty 4), as a 'host migration delay' allows a new host to be selected and the game to continue on. There is also the addition of an optional third person mode which can be used in certain game types.
In the Xbox 360 version of the game, the party chat system is disabled while the player is playing online in certain playlist types. This decision, designed to promote cooperation amongst team members, has caused some controversy within the Xbox Live community.
The offline (splitscreen and LAN) multiplayer mode still retains the experience and rewards system found online, a first for the series since the system was introduced. However, the rewards are separate from those that may be earned whilst playing online.
For the PC version, Infinity Ward has decided to implement a new matchmaking service: IWNET working through Steam. This system is nearly identical to the console version of IWNET. Dedicated server support is removed, eliminating the ability for mods or user-created maps to be incorporated. This removal has created anger among many PC gamers. Because the multiplayer aspect runs within Steamworks, the PunkBuster anti-cheat system utilized in previous titles has been replaced by VAC. In addition, the PC version shares the same 18-player cap as the console versions (matches are a maximum of 9 versus 9).
During the single-player campaign, the player controls five different characters from a first-person perspective. For the majority of the game, the player assumes the role of Sergeant Gary "Roach" Sanderson, a member of an elite, multi-national commando unit known as Task Force 141. However, the player begins the game through the eyes of Private First Class Joseph Allen, a Ranger stationed in Afghanistan, who later goes undercover in Russia for the CIA under the alias of "Alexei Borodin." Private James Ramirez, a member of 1st Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment stationed in the United States, serves as the played character during the defense of the United States eastern coast against a Russian invasion. "Soap" MacTavish returns as a non-playable character for most of the game, but once again becomes the played character in the final three missions. In the five years since Call of Duty 4 took place, he has been promoted to the rank of captain in the Special Air Service. He now commands most of Task Force 141 and its field operations, acting as the superior officer of Sanderson. The player also briefly assumes the role of an unnamed International Space Station astronaut during an EVA in the minute or so prior to the station's destruction.
Several non-playable characters play prominent roles in the story. As mentioned, Captain MacTavish (voiced by Kevin McKidd) returns as a NPC for a majority of the game and serves as Roach's superior officer and mentor (similar to Captain Price serving as MacTavish's mentor in Call of Duty 4). Captain John Price (voiced by Billy Murray) also returns from Call of Duty 4 to assist Task Force 141 after MacTavish, Roach, and other members rescue him from a Russian Gulag. The other primary member of the unit is the mysterious Simon "Ghost" Riley, (voiced by Craig Fairbrass, who also voiced Gaz in Call of Duty 4) who conceals his face with a skull print balaclava. Sergeant Foley (voiced by Keith David), initially the squad leader of Joseph Allen while stationed in Afghanistan, becomes the squad leader of James Ramirez in the United States later in the story. Nikolai, the Russian informant from Call of Duty 4, returns to aid Task Force 141 at various points in the story. Lieutenant General Shepherd (voiced by Lance Henriksen) is the commander of both Task Force 141 and the Army Rangers, and becomes the primary antagonist after he betrays the Task Force members near the end of the game. Vladimir Makarov, a former protégé of Imran Zakhaev (the chief antagonist from Call of Duty 4), serves as the primary antagonist throughout most of the story.
Modern Warfare 2 is set five years after the conclusion of Call of Duty 4. Despite the efforts of the Marines and the SAS, the Ultranationalists ultimately seize control of Russia and declare Imran Zakhaev a hero and martyr, erecting a statue of him in the heart of Red Square. Meanwhile, Vladimir Makarov, one of Zakhaev's former lieutenants, begins a campaign against Europe by committing numerous acts of terrorism.
The game begins in Afghanistan, where U.S. Army Ranger Private First Class Joseph Allen helps in the taking of a city from insurgents. Impressed by Allen's performance in combat, Lieutenant General Shepherd recruits him into Task Force 141, an elite, multi-national counter-terrorism unit under Shepherd's command. Meanwhile, two other members of Task Force 141, Captain "Soap" MacTavish and Sergeant Gary "Roach" Sanderson, scale a mountain of the Tian Shan to infiltrate an airbase in Kazakhstan to recover a lost ACS module from a downed satellite. Allen is later sent on an undercover mission in Russia for the CIA under the alias of "Alexei Borodin." Allen joins Makarov in a massacre of civilians at the Zakhaev International Airport in Moscow. It is soon revealed at the conclusion of the attack that Makarov is aware of Allen's true identity and before leaving, kills him to expose his identity as an American, leading the Russian police to believe that America was responsible for the attack.
Riding a snowmobile in "Cliffhanger."Angered by what was believed to be an American-supported terrorist attack, Russia retaliates by launching a massive surprise attack on the United States after bypassing its early warning system, revealing that the ACS module from an earlier mission had already been compromised before its retrieval. Sergeant Foley leads his squad of U.S. Army Rangers, including Private James Ramirez, in the defense of a suburb in northeastern Virginia against the Russian attack. They then proceed towards a war-torn Washington, D.C., where more U.S. forces are fighting a desperate battle against the Russians for control of the capital city.
Meanwhile, Task Force 141 begins its search for evidence that would implicate Makarov as the true mastermind behind the airport massacre. Intelligence leads it to Rio de Janeiro, where the Task Force investigates leads on Makarov's contact, weapons dealer Alejandro Rojas. It finds out that a major nemesis of Makarov is locked up in a Russian gulag east of Petropavlovsk on the Kamchatka Peninsula. As a result, Task Force 141 assaults the prison and manages to free the prisoner, who turns out to be Captain Price. Price agrees to aid in the tracking down of Makarov. While attempting to stop a nuclear missile launch aboard a Russian submarine, he appears to go rogue, himself allowing the launch of a SLBM that is aimed at Washington D.C.. However, he sets the warhead to explode in the upper atmosphere, which destroys the International Space Station, but spares the capital city from utter destruction. The resulting electromagnetic pulse cripples the vehicles and electronic equipment of both the U.S. and Russian forces in the city. Back on the ground, Ramirez and his squad discover that the Air Force has assumed that the Russians have overrun D.C. and plans to launch airstrikes on the city. The only way to abort the operation is to set off green flares on the roof of the White House and other important buildings that are under Russian control. Ramirez and his squad fight their way to the roof of the White House (codenamed "Whiskey Hotel") and manage to set off flares in the nick of time, averting an airstrike. Green flares may be seen on the rooftops of other D.C. landmarks, signifying that the city is in American hands.
Narrowing down Makarov's hiding place to two separate locations, Task Force 141 decides to split up. Captains Price and MacTavish travel to an aircraft boneyard in Afghanistan, whereas Sanderson and Ghost raid Makarov's safehouse in the Caucasus Mountains. At the safehouse, Sanderson and his team manage to obtain vital intelligence from enemy equipment. However, as the player narrowly escapes overwhelming enemies and is seemingly 'rescued' by General Shepherd and his forces, Shepherd betrays Task Force 141 and kills both Sanderson and Ghost, taking the intelligence with him to make him seem responsible for its acquisition. Meanwhile, Price and MacTavish quickly learn of Shepherd's betrayal and escape an ambush with the help of Nikolai. After managing to contact Makarov and learning of Shepherd's location, Price and MacTavish decide to take revenge on Shepherd in one final, bloody suicide mission. During the infiltration, Shepherd tries to escape and a long boat pursuit ensues.
Shepherd appears to have escaped when he drives his boat into the back of a hovering MH-53 helicopter. However, Price manages to shoot the helicopter down just before the boat he and MacTavish are on tumbles over a waterfall. After recovering from the fall, a heavily-injured MacTavish attempts to kill Shepherd with his knife, but Shepherd blocks the attack and in turn stabs MacTavish. As MacTavish lies on the ground, Shepherd prepares to execute him with his revolver, but before he can, Price attacks him and knocks the revolver away. Price and Shepherd then engage in an extended fist fight while MacTavish struggles to pull the knife out of his own chest. Finally managing to do so, he throws the knife at Shepherd, killing him. Price attends to MacTavish's wounds as Nikolai arrives in a helicopter to extract them. Nikolai warns the two that they will be pursued, but Price insists that MacTavish receive medical attention; Nikolai mentions that he knows a safe place to go to.
Modern Warfare 2 was originally referred to under the working title of Call of Duty 6. The game was first announced under the title Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 by Activision on December 3, 2008. Activision subsequently retracted its announcement, stating that any information about an upcoming Call of Duty game was "speculative." Infinity Ward then asserted that it had not officially confirmed its latest project at that time. On February 11, 2009, Activision officially announced Modern Warfare 2 and set a tentative release date for "Holiday 2009." The game was tested in an internal beta by the development team. While both Call of Duty 4 and Call of Duty: World at War had been preceded by public multiplayer betas, no such beta was released for Modern Warfare 2 because it was determined that, according to Community Manager Robert Bowling, no public beta was needed unless the internal beta did not provide adequate feedback.
Infinity Ward announced on October 2009 that the PC version of Modern Warfare 2 would not support the use of user-run dedicated servers or in-game console commands. Such announcement was received poorly by some members of the PC community, a negative response that eventually drew Infinity Ward's own response on the matter in an effort to put the community at ease.
During brainstorming sessions, an idea came forth on what if the ending of Modern Warfare was a loss, leading to the sequel. In an interview with Jesse Stern, he talked to producers of Infinity Ward with ideas such as "outbreaks, viruses, chemical warfare, and even outlandish things such as aliens and the living dead." Stern mentioned having the game based on real-life conflicts before they halted further planning at first due to events in the 2008 South Ossetia war and in the Mumbai terrorist attacks.
On August 20, 2009, Robert Bowling revealed through Twitter that Kevin McKidd, Craig Fairbrass, Barry Pepper, Keith David, and Glenn Morshower were confirmed voice actors for the game. It was later confirmed that McKidd would voice the protagonist, "Soap" MacTavish. Fairbrass, who voiced Gaz in Call of Duty 4, provided voice work for "Ghost". Billy Murray confirmed that he would reprise his role as Captain Price from Call of Duty 4. Rapper 50 Cent provided voice work for the Special Ops and multiplayer modes, portraying "one of the squad [member] voices."
The main theme of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was provided by Hollywood composer Hans Zimmer, while the soundtrack was composed by Lorne Balfe. An official release of the music is in the works. 
Game engine Edit
The game utilizes the in-house IW 4.0 game engine, which is claimed to be a generation beyond the capabilities of the engine used in Call of Duty 4. Although proprietary, it is based on an unspecified id Tech engine, and can accommodate larger worlds, enhanced graphic detail, and more efficient rendering.
Infinity Ward has addressed the issue of enemies that continually respawn at different points of a level. The developer demonstrated that the game engine uses a "dynamic AI," which has replaced the infinite respawn system and allows enemies to act more independently. These "smarter" enemies are designed to actively seek out and drive the player forward through a level, and can break away from set behaviors such as following a designated route in order to attack. The player cannot depend on enemies to be found in the same locations as a previous play-through because enemies will behave differently each time a level is played.
Marketing and release Edit
On March 25, 2009, a teaser trailer for the game was revealed at the Game Developer Choice Awards ceremony in San Francisco. The teaser was posted on Infinity Ward's website, and released on the Xbox Live Marketplace and the PlayStation Network a short time later. A second teaser was released on May 10, 2009 and showed gameplay features such as snowmobile driving and underwater actions. The teaser announced that the game would be "revealed" on TNT during the NBA Eastern Conference Finals on May 24, 2009. The "reveal" was the first full-length trailer, which debuted extended sequences of actual in-game scenes and combat; the trailer was subsequently made available on the Modern Warfare 2 official website, which was kept updated for the occasion. A fourth trailer was released on July 27, 2009, and showed the first footage of the game's multiplayer mode. On October 4, 2009, a second full-length cinematic trailer was released and revealed that part of the game would take place in a war-torn Washington, D.C.
On July 21, 2009, Infinity Ward's Robert Bowling revealed through Twitter that a Modern Warfare 2 controller was in the works. Peripherals manufacturer Mad Catz was contracted by Activision to create a line of Modern Warfare 2 controllers and accessories for all platforms that the game would be available on.
Activision stated, in its quarterly earnings report, that pre-orders for the game had broken a company record; more copies of Modern Warfare 2 had been pre-ordered than any other game that the company had published before.
In September 2009, Monster Energy teamed up with Activision to bring special redeemable codes on the Monster Energy website, where people may submit codes included in Monster Energy packs to redeem items such as Xbox 360 Premium Themes and a Modern Warfare 2 Map Pack code.
The original teaser trailer confirmed that the game's title of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was officially (and initially) shortened to just Modern Warfare 2. After photographs of the official retail boxes were posted by Robert Bowling, Activision confirmed that the standard-edition Modern Warfare 2 packaging would feature the Call of Duty brand logo in order to reflect the game's association with the Call of Duty franchise. It is speculated that the decision was influenced by findings that brand awareness for the game was significantly lower without the Call of Duty logo. However, the developers still prefer to simply call the game Modern Warfare 2 as they consider it a new IP. The menus in the game also refer to the title of Modern Warfare 2.
Retail versions Edit
The contents of the Prestige EditionModern Warfare 2 was released in four different retail versions across the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms: Standard, Hardened, Veteran, and Prestige. The standard version consists of the game and an instructional manual, and is the only version available for the Microsoft Windows platform. The Hardened Edition consists of the game and manual (which are packaged in a steel book case), an art book, and a token that allows one to download Call of Duty Classic, a hi-definition version of the original Call of Duty game, from Xbox Live Arcade or the PlayStation Store (Classic was released individually on December 2, 2009). The Prestige Edition contains all of the elements of the Hardened Edition, but also includes a set of fully-functioning night vision goggles, imprinted with the Modern Warfare 2 logo, and a stand modeled after the head of the character "Soap" MacTavish. The goggles are powered by five AA batteries and can see up to 50 feet in absolute darkness.
On September 15, 2009, Activision and Microsoft jointly announced a special, limited Modern Warfare 2 version of the Xbox 360 with a 250GB hard disk. The unit is highlighted by special game product branding and includes two wireless controllers and a headset. This is the first Xbox 360 to come with a 250GB hard drive.
On September 18, UK retailer GAME announced a Veteran Edition of Modern Warfare 2 that would be exclusively for the UK. It will come with a 12" (30.5 cm) tall statue of "Soap" MacTavish with interchangeable arms and weapons; has the same contents as the Hardened Edition. In September 2009, a Veteran Statue Bundle of Modern Warfare 2 was posted on the EBGames website and is available for all platforms.
Downloadable content Edit
Activision has announced that two downloadable map packs will be released for Modern Warfare 2. At E3 2009, Microsoft stated that these map packs would first be made available for the Xbox 360 via Xbox Live before they would be released for other platforms. Robert Bowling has stated that the community response to the game and the first two downloadable map packs would be used in designing other potential map packs. On November 25, 2009, Bowling released a tentative date of spring 2010 as for when the first downloadable content pack would be out.
In Spring 2010, the first Modern Warfare 2 content pack will be available exclusively on Xbox LIVE. The PlayStation 3 version will receive the same content pack sometime thereafter. An official PlayStation 3 content pack release date has not yet been revealed.
A six-part comic book mini-series related to the game has also been produced. Announced by Robert Bowling on August 17, 2009, Modern Warfare 2: Ghost is focused on the backstory of the character "Ghost," who appears in the video game as a member of Task Force 141. The series is published by WildStorm. The first issue of the series debuted on November 11, 2009.
According to preliminary sales figures from Activision, Modern Warfare 2 sold approximately 4.7 million units in both the United States and the UK in the first 24 hours of its release. The total revenue from first day sales in the U.S. and the UK was $310 million, making Modern Warfare 2 the biggest entertainment launch in history, surpassing (in revenue) its predecessor, Grand Theft Auto IV, as well as items from other media types. After five days of sales, the game had earned revenue figures of $550 million worldwide. Activision also claims that Modern Warfare 2 had 8 million players online within the first five days, constituting the largest 'army' of players in the world.
According to the NPD Group, Modern Warfare 2 sold approximately 4.2 million units for the Xbox 360 and 1.87 million units for the PlayStation 3 in the U.S. during the month of November 2009. In Japan, Modern Warfare 2 sold 64,000 copies for the Playstation 3 and 42,000 copies for the Xbox 360 in its first week of sales. The game later sold 117,000 copies on the Playstation 3 and 61,00 on the Xbox 360 before it sold 178,000 copies for both systems.
The game's popularity also reflected in the amount of unauthorised downloads it had from BitTorrent sites. There were 4.1 million recorded downloads for the PC version, in addition to 970,000 for the Xbox 360, making it 2009's most pirated game on both platforms.
Modern Warfare 2 has received critical acclaim from professional reviewers, especially for its console versions. Review aggregator Metacritic holds the average review for both the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game at 94%, while the PC version is at 85%. Positive reviews cite a "compelling story mode, a slick package of mini missions and a multiplayer which is pretty much unparalleled in depth."
Criticisms of the game are directed towards a variety of aspects, but focus on the short length of the single player campaign. IGN's Mark Bozon remarks that the single-player of "Modern Warfare 2 is surprisingly short, and doesn’t live up to the standard set by previous Call of Duty games." In addition, many reviewers have complained about the lack of innovation to the formula of the series.
At the 2009 Spike Video Game Awards, Modern Warfare 2 received the Best Shooter and Best Multiplayer awards. GameTrailers gave it six Game of the Year awards, including Overall Game of the Year. The Pakistani game reviewing site, PakGamers, has awarded Modern Warfare 2 'Best Xbox 360 Game of 2009'.
Famitsu named Modern Warfare 2 as the number one game on the top 10 video games sold in 2009, beating games such as Metal Gear Solid 4, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and Grand Theft Auto IV. It also gave the game a score of 39/40, having the same score as Grand Theft Auto IV.
Various portions of the campaign have caused some controversy in certain communities. A level in the game's campaign mode that involves a massacre carried out in a Russian airport has caused anger in the international community. Additionally, an easter egg early in the campaign involving the don't ask, don't tell policy of the American military has led some to accuse the game and its developers of homophobia.