Although it’s been known for some time that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 would use a new engine, much like the Warzone sequel, now that the campaign has arrived early, we’re starting to see exactly what that looks like.
And it’s wild.
A viral video is doing the rounds Twitter, featuring a mission set in Amsterdam. And it’s so detailed it looks almost indistinguishable from the real thing, with a few quips it looks almost even better than the actual photos, sort of.
Some point out that in this case, this mission is more or less a “corridor” mission, where you’re not in a huge firefight, but simply walking a pre-arranged path down the street with minimal combat. It looks like it was specifically designed to show off the capabilities of the technology. And those capabilities are… extensive. I remember the Unreal Engine 5 Matrix tech demo being the most realistic generated city I’ve ever seen in-game, and only the beginning of what’s possible (Modern Warfare 2 doesn’t use UE5).
If there’s a flaw, it’s that the realism of the human characters doesn’t quite match the realism of their environments, from their movement to their appearance. They are not terrible, but they’re not great either. You can see more in the full mission video:
This is only the first game created using this new engine, which means much bigger and better offerings are on the way as they continue to maximize its capabilities. Although we’re a few years into this new generation of consoles, we’ve yet to fully realize their potential, and of course on PC where things like the new 4090 exist, it’s a whole different story in terms of up where things can be pushed. Even games like Cyberpunk 2077 on CDPR’s aging REDengine look flawless with today’s cutting-edge technology. Imagine what happens when they do create their next game in Unreal Engine 5.
This is in stark contrast to the advent of the Metaverse, where a recent point of contention has been Meta’s Horizon’s weak graphics, even with the promised upgrades to come. More traditional video games continue to sprint into the future while a platform like virtual reality is still catching up with technology from two generations ago, with rare exceptions like Half Life: Alyx, which are rare.
This video more or less sold me on Modern Warfare 2’s campaign, after skipping the last two. I have to see what else this game is capable of, I think.
Update: Some more info on why this new engine looks so good and how we can expect other non-Modern Warfare games to use it as well, given a big change coming in series.
A great thing about this new engine for Modern Warfare 2 is that Call of Duty is now changing so that everything is done on one unified engine instead of disparate versions like they did in the past.
“When one of the teams puts together a really cool rendering or audio or animation feature,” said Patrick Kelly, co-head of studio Infinity Ward and creative director of Modern Warfare 2, during a preview in June 2022, “so we need to have a bunch of people implement it in the other engine and then in another engine again.”
However, that doesn’t mean that all games will feel exactly the same as each other:
“A Black Ops game has always had a slightly different feel – different art direction and things like that – than an Infinity Ward game. And I’ll tell you, from my point of view, from our point of view, we celebrate and embrace that we are not trying to blend them all into one.”
This new Infinity Ward engine we see in action also uses parts of engines from other studios, all of which have combined into the “super engine” you see above. The idea is that they used the “best of the best” features from all the different engines they worked with before. And yes, that means other games like the upcoming Black Ops title should look just as good, too.
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