(Pocket-lint) - The time is nearly upon us - the next Call of Duty game is arriving in a matter of weeks, a sequel to 2019's Modern Warfare.
We've gathered all of the key details on the game for you right here, so read on to find out everything you need to know about the next COD.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 release date and trailer
We now know when Modern Warfare 2 will be out - it releases on 28 October 2022. It's being developed mainly by Infinity Ward, but there are apparently 10 more studios working in support capacities on the game, although this sort of resource-sharing is nothing new for the series.
If you pre-order the game digitally, though, it's been announced that you'll be able to play the campaign from 20 October 2022, a week early, which is a welcome bonus.
After a lot of slow hype-building, the wraps are now completely off Modern Warfare 2, with plenty of trailers out there and a series of betas to participate in if you want to try it out.
You can watch the reveal trailer above to get a first look at the game's campaign, spanning a few locations and looking like an explosive ride.
It had been heavily rumoured that 2022's COD would be a sequel to 2019's Modern Warfare, and that it would most likely stick a "2" on the end of that game's title to again bring back nostalgic memories of the original Modern Warfare 2.
In February 2022 that was officially confirmed, after an unusual move for the franchise - Infinity Ward gave members of the media a briefing on its plans not just for Modern Warfare 2 but also a new iteration of Warzone that will drop with it. You can read the key details in a community update that it published afterwards.
Let’s start with a look ahead:— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) February 11, 2022
COD 2022 is a sequel to MW 2019, and being designed with a new #Warzone experience (both led by @InfinityWard)
A massive evolution of BR, with an all-new playspace and new sandbox mode
A new engine powering both the new game and #Warzone
Looking further forward, we've even seen indications that the game after this one will be a return to the Black Ops series, suggesting a familiar rotation of titles is spinning up. However, a bombshell report from Bloomberg had indicated that it will not release in 2023, leaving Modern Warfare 2 with a full two-year cycle of support to enjoy.
That's big news for both the franchise and the game, since no title has got a full two years without a new competitor in over a decade. It'll be interesting to see what plans Infinity Ward can cook up to keep it fresh for that long.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 beta dates
We're now in the middle of a series of MW2 open betas for players to get their hands on, each an opportunity to play the game before it releases. These are open to those who have pre-ordered before the rest of us, and you can find the exact dates for each platform down below.
As in previous years, PlayStation gamers have been the ones to get the earliest and most prolonged access.
Pre-Order now for early access to the #MWII Open BETA!— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) August 7, 2022
The #MWII @Playstation Early Access Beta starts September 16, with Early and Open access Betas to follow on all platforms. https://t.co/cLMlBb41mV pic.twitter.com/2GZ0laKE9C
If you get yourself a code, just head online during the time windows detailed in that Tweet from Call of Duty's account to check out the game's multiplayer.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 platforms
Call of Duty normally comes out on every single platform that can run it, to maximise sales, but everything changed in January 2021 when Xbox announced that it was buying Activision, the series' publisher.
The news sent shockwaves through the community since it threatened the possibility that Call of Duty might become an exclusive series to Xbox hardware on console somewhere down the line. While that's possible eventually, it won't affect Modern Warfare 2.
The game will release before the deal is completed, and existing contracts with PlayStation means that at least the next main COD to come out in 2023 should also appear on PS4 and PS5. Microsoft has also stated that it intends to keep the franchise on PlayStation once those deals run out.
For now, we know that Modern Warfare 2 is coming out on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One and PC - including a return to Steam for the first time in years.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 story and setting
Allegedly codenamed internally as Project Cortez, the game will feature a single-player campaign that's rumoured to take place during the American-led War on Drugs in South America, something that the first trailer hasn't really confirmed or dispelled.
According to further reporting by Tom Henderson, the game will be even grittier than Modern Warfare 2019, which already leant further into realism than Call of Duty has for a while, with missions like Clean House featuring realistic room clearances and night vision.
Infinity Ward has been working on the game since it released Modern Warfare, giving it a healthy three-year cycle during which to innovate, and the campaign will accordingly see some nice additions like real narrative choices and guns that might sometimes jam to really put you up the creek without a paddle.
The story should see Captain Price's Task Force 141 taking the fight to Colombia's cartels in undercover missions that won't be as militarised, instead focussing on stealth and incisiveness. We know that key characters like Captain Price and Gaz will be back, alongside returning faces from the original games in the form of Soap and Ghost, after Infinity Ward confirmed their appearances in May 2022, and you can see them all in that first trailer, too.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 gameplay
There will obviously be a significant amount of continuity from the last Modern Warfare when it comes to gameplay for the next game from Infinity Ward, but that still leaves room for some improvements and additions. The first gameplay showcase from Summer Games Fest confirms this direction of travel.
While it's only a campaign showcase, you can see that it packs in the same low time-to-kill, making it fairly hardcore as shooters go. You can see the return of familiar equipment including the Vector SMG, prized VLK 3.0 optic on an assault rifle and Molotov cocktails as a throwable.
The level looks somewhat familiar given its colour palette, and while the shipping containers moving around the boat in the latter half of the demo is an interesting twist, it's fair to say this isn't looking too revolutionary right now.
On the multiplayer side, Infinity Ward says that MW2's maps are actually smaller on average than MW2019's, which bodes well. You can see a sample of this in the showcase of Farm 18, below, which also features the first glimpses of actual multiplayer gameplay.
We've been able to try out this map and plenty of others during the game's beta tests, and they certainly are tight and close-quarters for the most part. Ground War maps will obviously buck that trend, though.
The developer has been working hard on AI to make your opponents more realistic, which sounds intriguing, and we'll also get a new version of Gunsmith to let us tinker with our guns in extreme detail. This reportedly includes sliders to adjust the weight distribution of your gun's barrel - quite some granularity!
Swimming is apparently going to be a much more common part of gameplay, with shooting underwater possible for some guns, while there are more vehicles than ever featuring more realistic damage and permanent husks when they're destroyed.
Those vehicles have been the subject of some gameplay leaks, with a clip that you can find on Twitter showing how players can jump between them and hijack them from enemies.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 modes
We've got an idea of what multiplayer modes to expect from MW2, even before leaks helped flesh this out.
#ModernWarfare2 - MP Modes found in the Warzone Mobile files:— CharlieIntel (@charlieINTEL) July 12, 2022
• Ground War Bomb
• Infected (!!)
• Cyber Attack
+ TDM, Domination, S&D, FFA, & Hardpoint pic.twitter.com/UhAr857DCT
One leak summarised in the Tweet above lists a bunch of game modes that you can expect to drop into on the multiplayer side of things, including fan favourite Infected, and it's not a revolutionary list of options, although a few options like Ground War Bomb are unknowns for now.
There will also be an extraction game mode called DMZ, which has been widely rumoured and was actually included in a leaked image in August 2022 from an NFL player with behind-the-scenes access.
Gotta love football players man pic.twitter.com/YtP4M0A5yH— Fawzi (@OmgFawzi) August 3, 2022
At the same time, the below image also leaked of what looks like a multiplayer lobby, showing off a new interface for those who are curious as to what the game's menus will look like.
Whether a mode like DMZ can flourish given how, for example, Hazard Zone completely died in Battlefield 2042's offering, will be interesting to observe, but it could be the next big game mode.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 - Warzone 2.0
After the messy integrations of Black Ops Cold War and Vanguard into Warzone, with at various points a recycled map and unbalanced weapons, Activision seems to be aware that it has to stick the landing better when it comes to new COD titles getting mixed into its free-to-play sensation.
Vanguard brought an all-new map with it, Caldera, taking the fight into the Pacific arena and finally bringing a new location to the table and, from the sounds of it, Modern Warfare 2 will seek to make that an annual change.
Infinity Ward is building a new Warzone experience from the ground up with Modern Warfare 2, on a new engine that all COD games will share moving forward to avoid similar teething problems between their ecosystems.
You can find out all about what's coming to Warzone 2.0 in our full feature on the topic right here, including when it's coming out, whether you can bring your progress over to it, and what gameplay changes it's going to bring with it: