While it’s been known for a while 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 it looks like.
And it is wild.
A viral video is going around Twitter, showing a mission set in Amsterdam. And it’s so incredibly detailed that it looks almost indistinguishable from the real thing, with a few jokes it almost looks even better than the real photos, somehow.
Some point out that in this case, this mission is more or less a “corridor” mission, where you’re not in a big firefight, but just walking a predetermined path down the street with minimal combat. It seems that it was specifically designed to show off the capabilities of the technology. And those capabilities are…vast. I’m reminded of the Unreal Engine 5 Matrix tech demo, which was the most realistically rendered city I’ve ever seen in the game, and just the beginning of what’s possible (Modern Warfare 2 doesn’t use UE5).
If there is a shortcoming it is that the realism of the human characters does not match the realism of their environments, from their movement to their appearance. They are not horriblebut they’re not great either. You can see more of that in the full mission video:
This is only the first game made with this new engine, and that means much bigger and better offerings are to come as they continue to maximize its capabilities. While we’ve been into this new generation of consoles for a few years, we haven’t reached its full potential yet and of course on PC where things like the new 4090 exist, it’s a whole different story in terms of how far things can be taken. . Even games like Cyberpunk 2077 on CDPR’s old REDengine look flawless with today’s cutting-edge technology. Imagine what happens when they do make your 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 how poor Meta’s Horizon graphics specifically have been, even with the promised updates to come. More traditional video games continue to move into the future, while a platform like VR is still catching up with technology from two generations ago, barring rare exceptions like Half Life: Alyx, which are few and far between.
This video more or less convinced me of the Modern Warfare 2 campaign, having skipped the last two. I have to see what else this game is capable of, I think.
To update: More information on why this new engine looks so good and how we can expect other non-Modern Warfare games to use it as well, given the big change coming to the series.
One great thing about this new engine for Modern Warfare 2 is that Call of Duty is now shifting so that everything is done in one unified engine instead of disparate versions like they have in the past.
“When one of the teams puts out a really cool rendering or audio or animation feature,” Patrick Kelly, Infinity Ward co-studio head and Modern Warfare 2 creative director, said at a preview in June 2022, “then we have to having a bunch of people implement it on the other engine, and then on the other engine again.”
However, that doesn’t mean all games feel exactly equal to each other:
“Historically, a Black Ops game has had a slightly different feel, a 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 accept that we’re not looking to mix them all into one.”
This new Infinity Ward engine we’re seeing in action also uses parts from other studios’ engines, which have been combined into the “super engine” you see above. The idea is that they used the “best of the best” features of all the different engines they were previously working with. And yes, that means other games like the upcoming Black Ops title should look just as good too.
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