- We talk to David Swenson, Campaign Creative Director for Modern Warfare III, about back-to-back Modern Warfare releases, innovative new campaign features, and more.
- Complementing traditional cinematic missions, Open Combat Missions let you tackle a mission objective however you choose according to your playstyle.
- The Modern Warfare III Worldwide Reveal occurred earlier today and outlined exciting plans for innovative new game play mechanics and multiplayer features.
The first Call of Duty game was released nearly twenty years ago on October 29, 2003, and for the first time in franchise history, we’re getting a direct sequel to the previous year’s game when Modern Warfare III launches November 10, 2023. This paradigm shift is sure to excite fans eager to continue the Modern Warfare storyline, and today we’re learning more about Modern Warfare III from the worldwide in-game Reveal Event occurring in Warzone earlier today.
In the direct sequel to the record-breaking Modern Warfare II, Captain Price, and Task Force 141 face off against the ultimate threat. The ultranationalist Vladimir Makarov is extending his grasp across the world, causing Task Force 141 to fight like never before.
In preparation for this special day, I had the opportunity to speak with David Swenson, the Campaign Creative Director for Modern Warfare III. Swenson and Sledgehammer Games are celebrating their 14th anniversary this year and have been one of the key studios instrumental in developing several previous Call of Duty titles and are the lead developers for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III.
Direct Sequel to the Record-Breaking Modern Warfare II
Our conversation started off discussing this being a direct sequel for the first time in franchise history, and Swenson mentions as a storyteller, he sees this as an awesome opportunity, one that he’s excited they’re able to do in a way that hasn’t been done before. “Can you imagine if we dropped the No Russian post-credit scene (from Modern Warfare II) and then having to wait three years to find out more details,” says Swenson. “This is a huge opportunity. I don’t have to spend a lot of time reminding the audience what they played and getting them to care about those characters again because they’ve been caring about those characters through the last game, and the post-launch live seasons have continued the story. We’re able to get right into this and pick up right where we left off.”
Can you imagine if we dropped the No Russian post-credit scene from Modern Warfare II and then having to wait three years to find out more details…now we’re able to get right into this and pick up right where we left off.
For those new or unfamiliar with the original and/or reimagined Modern Warfare campaigns and additional narrative continued throughout the Modern Warfare series and live seasons, Swenson responds, “The way we approach campaign narratives is the live seasons give more depth to the story and characters for our dedicated fans, but at the same time, we build the in-game campaigns so the story makes sense for first time players as well. It will be an amazing thrill ride whether you’re a returning fan or if it’s your first time playing a Modern Warfare game.”
For a franchise spanning twenty years and over twenty releases, I asked Swenson about collaborating with the different studios like Infinity Ward on Modern Warfare III, and how the teams manage to have these blockbuster annual releases year after year.
“We’re all developers, but we’re also Call of Duty fans, and we care deeply about the characters. We study everything about the game. There are so many characters, relationships, factions, and locations in the MW canon, and they are super important to the story,” says Swenson. “Each studio has an amazing narrative team and for Modern Warfare III in partnership with Infinity Ward, we’re collaborating to make a campaign we hope everyone loves.” Swenson continues to talk about how with every new title, all the developers are always looking to the future and what they can bring the fans next, and what cool new element they can add to the game. It felt like Swenson was leading up to a big revelation, so I pressed on with giddy excitement. He did not disappoint.
“This year we have, what I would say, is a huge innovation for campaign in Call of Duty,” states Swenson. “We call it Open Combat Missions, and they are missions where we add this incredible level of choice and opportunity to the player.”
This year we have, what I would say, is a huge innovation for campaign in Call of Duty.
Open Combat Missions
From the official Call of Duty blog: Open Combat Missions (OCMs) are an exciting innovation to the Call of Duty Campaign. Not only do these complement the cinematic missions you’ve come to expect, but they also provide you with numerous additional choices regarding your methods of mission completion. For example, if you prefer to use stealth techniques, you may wish to undertake an OCM with a lights-out approach, using night-vision goggles and suppressed weapons and complete your objectives without your adversaries knowing you were even there. However, if loud explosions and reckless abandon are part of your repertoire, strap extra armor plates onto your torso and hit those targets head-on!
“Call of Duty campaigns are known for these epic, cinematic, storytelling, narrative-driven missions that take the audience on a thrill ride and Modern Warfare III has all of that,” says Swenson, “But we’ve also added Open Combat Missions that provide opportunities for you to tackle a mission objective however you want to do it according to your playstyle.”
Just to be clear – we’re not talking about a stealth mission where you get to pick from an arsenal of silenced weapons, rather, you will be given a mission and you can arm yourself with only a knife and play it as a stealth mission; or you can hop in a vehicle, launch an all-out assault, and go in guns blazing. Swenson mentions these missions can be challenging and often lead to multiple attempts to discover a tactic where you’re satisfied with the results.
Swenson senses my excitement over this feature and offers even more detail, much to my delight. “It’s an evolution in Call of Duty campaigns and an evolution of how players experience it. These aren’t side missions, they are campaign missions woven seamlessly into the story, and they offer you more choices than you’ve ever had before,” declares Swenson. “If you want to sneak through the entire level, you can. There are also vehicles, cleverly hidden loot boxes, and weapon crates on these Open Combat Missions, some of which contain killstreaks which we are calling Armaments since you don’t need to streak any kills to earn them.”
As you likely know, killstreaks are typically associated with the multiplayer component of Call of Duty, but Swenson assures me if you carefully search your surroundings and discover one of the various Armaments in an Open Combat Mission, you will be rewarded with a tactical item for things like calling in air support. I can’t confirm whether air support means a UAV or an AC-130 Gunship, but adding Armaments to the single player campaign sounds exciting to me!
Before ending my conversation with Swenson, I asked if he had any parting words on how he’s feeling now that many of the details have been revealed, and whether he plays games he’s developed. “I love games, and I love Call of Duty. I’ve played through the campaign hundreds of times (testing it), and I already know how it ends,” says Swenson. “But my absolute favorite thing to do is sit and watch other people play through the campaigns we’ve built. I’m ready to get it into everyone else’s hands so they can enjoy and experience the story we’ve created.”
Since I was talking to the Campaign Creative Director, most of my questions obviously focused on the single player element of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III, but I can assure you there are equally exciting plans for innovative new game play mechanics and multiplayer features, many of which were announced earlier today.
Check out this page for more details about the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III Worldwide Reveal.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III releases November 10 and is available for pre-order on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S today. To read more about the game, check out the official website and follow @CallofDuty on Twitter.
Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® III – Cross-Gen Bundle
Activision Publishing Inc.
Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® III – Vault Edition
Activision Publishing Inc.