Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 — Release date, rumors, and everything we know so far

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II Keyart of Captain Price
(Image credit: Activision)

Call of Duty, the ever-expanding first-person shooter franchise published by Activision, is one of the few games that players can consistently count on for a reliable release schedule. This year proves to be no exception as a team of leads from Infinity Ward revealed to content creators in February that a sequel to 2019’s Modern Warfare reboot was officially in the works. Following a series of less-than-subtle clues and teasers, an official reveal for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (not to be confused with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which was originally released in 2009) took place in May.

Initially confirmed information about the game was extremely limited, but as the Fall 2022 release date looms near, Infinity Ward has begun to slowly fill the information vacuum with intel drops and behind-the-scenes commentary on the development for Modern Warfare 2. With the campaign having been out in early access for players who pre ordered the game, and the full release looming just over the horizon the need for speculation, leaks, and rumors to keep fans of the franchise busy has come to pass and we now know what we can fully expect from Modern Warfare 2 (2022).

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 — First look, reveal, and release date

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On May 25, 2022, the Call of Duty franchise unveiled players' first look at Modern Warfare II by maneuvering a massive cargo ship featuring a 90,000-square-foot wrap displaying key art of the returning fan-favorite character, Ghost. The cargo ship then docked with a port on Long Beach, lining up with a second vinyl wrap to reveal a giant puzzle. Along with revealing the members of Task Force 141, the event also revealed that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II will release on Oct. 28, 2022. 

Prior to the reveal, eagle-eyed fans spotted J-8-22 spray painted in bright green on a shipping container in the teaser. This led to speculation that an official trailer or other information would be released on June 8, 2022, just before the start of Summer Game Fest. Activision had previously been confirmed as a participating partner of the summer showcase event. This speculation panned out with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 receiving a proper reveal during the showcase along with commentary and gameplay footage of the mission Dark Water. An additional series of teaser trailers made their way around social media at this time featuring the tag line “The ultimate weapon is team,” which included personalities such as SNL alum Pete Davidson and popular Call of Duty streamer TimTheTatman. 

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 — Campaign reveal and early access

Task Force 141 Special Operator Gaz from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Reveal

(Image credit: Activision)

The official reveal trailer for Modern Warfare 2 set up the premise for the upcoming game, which is expected to be a direct sequel to 2019’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare reboot. In the reveal trailer players are updated with the current state of the fight against Al-Qatala, the terrorist organization at the center of the conflict during Modern Warfare (2019), and the stage is set for the battle zone to shift from Iran to Central America. Voice actors for Modern Warfare (2019) will be reprising their roles for popular Task Force 141 characters — including Barry Sloane as Captain John Price, Samuel Roukin as Simon “Ghost” Riley, Neil Ellice as John “Soap” MacTavish, Elliot Knight as Kyle “Gaz” Garrick, and Claudia Doumit as Farah Ahmed Karim. Modern Warfare’s newest operator, Alejandro Vargas, will be voiced by Alain Mesa. Vargas is a Mexican Special Forces operator who will be working with the other members of Task Force 141.

During Summer Game Fest’s showcase event, players were given a better look at the campaign for Modern Warfare 2 (2022) when Infinity Ward showcased the level Dark Water. Infinity Ward’s narrative director Jeff Negus provided commentary explaining the new features of the freshly revamped IW engine that Call of Duty’s Modern Warfare series is built on. From the point of view of fan-favorite character Soap MacTavish, players saw the team members of Task Force 141 and Shadow Company rappel up an oil rig and engage in combat with enemy forces.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Dark Water screenshot

(Image credit: Activision)

The gameplay reveal provided a sneak peek at new AI systems that allow enemies to work together against the players and have improved situational awareness. Players were also introduced to new physics mechanics as the battle worked its way to the deck of a large ship being tossed about on choppy waters. Everything that wasn’t bolted down was sliding across the deck, including large shipping containers that created a maze-like combat zone for the player to navigate. Call of Duty’s new and improved engine is the most advanced ever for the franchise, building upon the foundations of the engine used for Modern Warfare (2019). It offers refined AI behavior, situational awareness, movement, and gunplay and will serve as the official engine for all new franchise titles moving forward. 

Following a press event where content creators were given access to Modern Warfare 2, insider accounts such as CharlieIntel and ModernWarzone tweeted additional details regarding the upcoming campaign. The blockbuster title is expected to tick all of the usual boxes for the franchise including explosive assaults 30,000 feet above enemy strongholds alongside new combat mechanics for vehicles. CharlieIntel shared in a tweet that Modern Warfare 2’s new water mechanics will allow players to swim and engage in combat underwater; however, weapon use is still limited to pistols and melee options. Equipment like proximity mines can also be used in the water, but they will behave accordingly by floating and moving along with currents.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Reveal

(Image credit: Activision)

Insiders initially shared details regarding a sandbox mode to be included with Modern Warfare 2, which could feature upwards of 300 enemy AI fighting it out with 100 live players. We now know that this will be the previously rumored DMZ mode, which offers gameplay similar to Escape from Tarkov with players working together as a squad to acquire loot from the map before extracting as a team. Details regarding DMZ are still forthcoming, with only minor acknowledgements from Infinity Ward regarding its release, including its mention on the Modern Warfare 2 box art. While DMZ was originally thought to be a part of the base game for Modern Warfare 2, we now know it will be released later as part of the Season 1 content package alongside Warzone 2.0

While Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is officially set to be released on Oct. 28, players who pre ordered the game received early access to the campaign starting on Oct. 20. Additional information about the campaign, along with a full multiplayer reveal and news regarding Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 were all properly unveiled during a franchise showcase event titled Call of Duty: Next which took place on Sept. 15.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 — Multiplayer reveal

During the final event for Call of Duty League 2022, Infinity Ward trotted out a fly through video to reveal the very first map, Marina Bay Grand Prix. The flythrough video showcases a nighttime map centered around an F1 track in Asia with a massive Ferris wheel illuminating the night sky. The racetrack features both interior and exterior combat zones, corridors on fire, and F1 cars zooming around the perimeter at high speeds. Marina Bay Grand Prix will be a playable map during the Open Beta event in late September. However, the map was notably absent from the Open Beta event, and fans were left to speculate as to the cause. Not only was the map scrubbed from the beta event, but any mention of it was effectively scrubbed from official Call of Duty promotions due to legal concerns. It remains unclear whether Marina Bay Grand Prix will be available at launch. 

Since the Call of Duty League 2022 reveal, Infinity Ward and Activision have steadily released a series of behind-the-scenes vignettes that have provided bite-size looks into the development process for some of Modern Warfare 2. The first intel drop featured Farm 18, the second map to be revealed. In the video posted to Call of Duty’s official social media accounts, Infinity Ward’s Director of Multiplayer Design Geoff Smith discussed how Shoot House, the most popular map from Modern Warfare (2019), directly influenced the design of Farm 18. Players will find a covert training location tucked inside of a much larger industrial cement factory, which will encourage close quarters combat in the center of the arena while still providing a safe haven for players who like to hang back and go for long-range assaults. Like Marina Bay Grand Prix, Farm 18 was playable during the Open Beta.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Multiplayer details

(Image credit: Activision)

Multiplayer maps for Modern Warfare 2 (2022) are classified as one of two types, Core Maps and Battle Maps. Core maps will allow for traditional 6v6 multiplayer action, while Battle Maps will support game modes up to 32v32. Call of Duty: Vanguard’s combat pacing will not be returning for Modern Warfare 2. The two types of maps are further refined down three categories: Al Mazrah, Las Almas, and the Rest of the World. Players who have stayed up to date on Warzone 2.0 will recognize that Al Mazrah is the name and location of the new battle royale’s map, and Modern Warfare 2 (2022) will feature small sections of the Al Mazrah’s points of interest as maps playable in multiplayer. Another segment of maps will focus on Las Almas, the city at the heart of the Modern Warfare 2 campaign. Lastly, the third category is reserved for international themed maps that will provide players with a glimpse at how the battle has affected the world outside of what we see in the campaign.

To complement the Core/Battle maps dichotomy, multiplayer modes will break down in a similar fashion.  Core 6v6 maps will feature classic game modes such as Free-for-All, Team Deathmatch, Domination, Hardpoint, Headquarters, Search and Destroy, and Control at launch. Kill Confirmed will not be available at launch, however, and there has not been any word from Infinity Ward or other studios involved in the development process as to why. Two new modes, Prisoner Rescue and Knock Out, will be joining the playlist rotation at launch.  Players will be able to choose from one specific playlist or customize their playlist search via quickplay. Fans of hardcore game modes will want to search for the newly renamed Tier 1 playlists. Battle maps will feature combat for two teams of 32 players each and will feature Ground War, a supersized version of domination alongside the newly created Ground War Invasion. Ground War Invasion will feature a chaotic mix of players and AI fighting side by side.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Multiplayer details

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Infinity Ward’s promotion of Modern Warfare 2 has revolved around the idea that this is an innovative, generational leap for the franchise so it stands to reason that there will be changes to multiplayer to keep in line with that goal. One of the most notable changes is to Modern Warfare 2’s perk system, which replaces the 3 perk system of yesteryear with reinvigorated Perk Packages. Each package contains four perks, with players being able to choose two base perks, a bonus perk, and one ultimate perk. The base perks are instant, andl players will start the match with the two they’ve selected. Premade Perk Packages will be available, but players will have the opportunity to customize their perk package, as well. The current list of perks and their intentions are subject to change via updates, but at launch players can expect the following base perks: 

  • Overkill: Carry two primary weapons.
  • Double Time: Double the duration of Tactical Spring. Increase crouch movement speed by 30%.
  • Battle Hardened: Reduce the effect of enemy flash, stun, EMP, gas grenades, and shock sticks. Immune to snapshot grenades.
  • Scavenger: Resupply ammo and throwing knives from dead players.
  • Bomb Squad: Take reduced damage from non-killstreak explosives. Reset fuse timers when throwing back live grenades.
  • Tracker: Enemies leave behind a footprint trail, and enemy death markers are visible. Kill markers are hidden from the enemy team.
  • Strong Arm: Throw equipment farther and see a preview of the trajectory.
  • Extra Tactical: Spawn with additional tactical equipment. 

Playing objectives, taking down enemies, and assisting your teammates lead to unlocking the Bonus and Ultimate perks, however they will also unlock gradually over time to ensure that all players can benefit from them during a match. The more active a participant you are, however, the faster you will gain your perks and gain the upper hand over the competition. Bonus perks that will be included at launch (but are subject to change via updates over time): 

  •  Resupply: Spawn with an additional lethal. Equipment recharges over 25seconds.
  • Spotter: Spot enemy equipment, field upgrades, and killstreaks through walls. Aiming down sights highlights them for the team. Hack enemy claymores, proximity mines, C4, and trophy systems. (Players may recognize this as previously being named Sit Rep and Engineer.)
  • Cold-Blooded: The player is undetectable by AI targeting and thermal optics. Does not trigger High Alert warning, nor highlight in enemy tactical cameras, recon drones, or spotter scopes.
  • Fast Hands: Reload, use equipment, and swap weapons faster.
  • Hardline: Reduce killstreak cost by one elimination. Reduce score streak cost by 125.
  • Focus: Reduce flinch when aiming down sights and extend hold breath duration. 

Ultimate perks will include:

  •  High Alert: Vision pulses when spotted by an enemy player outside of view.
  • Ghost: Undetectable by UAVs, portable radars, and heartbeat sensors.
  • Quick Fix: Gain health regeneration immediately upon enemy kill. Capturing and holding objectives increases health regeneration rate.
  • Overclock: Store an additional field upgrade charge and increase the charge rate by 40%. Immediately receive a second field upgrade charge upon earning.
  • Survivor: On death, enter Last Stand with the ability to self revive once per life. Teammates can revive downed players faster.
  • Bird’s Eye: The mini map is zoomed out. UAV and radar pings reveal the enemy’s direction. Earning this ultimate perk immediately activates one local UAV sweep. 

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Multiplayer details

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Field Upgrades will also be returning for Modern Warfare 2 (2022). These tools have become a staple for the franchise, offering players a way to change the tide of battle with tools that offer strategic advantages. Field upgrades gradually charge over time, with the charge rate correlating to the power and usefulness of the upgrade. Players who reach rank 45 will have the option to equip two different field upgrades simultaneously, however the charge rate for both will be slowed considerably.  The field upgrades expected at launch will include: 

  • Tactical Camera: A remote controlled camera that marks enemies. Players can connect to it directly to view an area or set it and forget it until it emits a warning sound when enemy players get within range.
  • Inflatable Decoy: A small, proximity activated mine that deploys an inflatable decoy to confuse and distract enemies. The decoy can also be manually inflated.
  • DDoS: The DDoS attack serves as a short ranged EMP blast that deactivates electronics and enemy sensors for a short time. 
  • Deployable Cover: A portable, rapidly deployable ballistic cover that can be stuck in the middle of nowhere to provide valuable cover from enemy fire. Can be used as a weapon mount.
  • Trophy System: The camper’s savior against grenade spam, the trophy system destroys up to three incoming pieces of enemy equipment or projectiles. Can deter rockets when placed on vehicles.
  • Dead Silence: This former perk is often a source of controversy among the Call of Duty community. As a field upgrade, Dead Silence temporarily makes player footsteps silent. Gun, melee, and throwing knife kills can extend the duration of this upgrade.
  • Munitions Box: Drop somewhere safe so that your squadmates can resupply their ammo and equipment before rushing into a fight. 
  • Loadout drop: Call in a team-based loadout crate that can only be used by each player once. This allows players to swap loadouts without waiting to respawn, or to pick up an extra primary weapon without burning a perk slot for Overkill. Ideal for Ground War where life expectancy is a bit longer.
  • Portable Radar: Emits a periodic radar ping to detect nearby enemies. Ideal for small maps and objective modes.
  • Tactical Insert: Another returning field upgrade with a perilous history in the franchise, the tac insert allows players to choose where they will spawn on the map for their next life. 
  • Battle Rage: Battle Rage is a relatively new field upgrade, though players of Warzone will recognize it as the Rage serum field upgrade that became available during Vanguard Season 5. Battle Rage is an inhaled stimulant that gives the Operator an adrenaline rush. Health regenerates quickly, tac equipment is resisted, and tac sprint is constantly refreshed. 
  • Recon Drone: A small, player controlled drone that has manual and auto marking capabilities. While intended as a tactical drone, crafty players do occasionally slap a package of C4 on them to make an improvised bomb delivery vehicle.
  • Smoke Airdrop: Call in a team of drones to line up and deploy a wall of smoke, effectively protecting you against snipers and other enemies not properly equipped to see through the haze.
  • Suppression Mine: Trip mines that emit a constant sound wave when triggered can disrupt enemy vision and slow their movement. 
  • Anti-Armor Rounds: Similar to the munitions box, anti-armor rounds apply bonus damage to armored targets including vehicles, equipment, body armor, and targets behind penetrable cover. 

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Multiplayer details

(Image credit: Activision)

Killstreaks will also be making a return to Modern Warfare 2, though there has been quite a bit of community commotion regarding whether the classic killstreak system is preferable to the modernized scorestreak system that has shown up in other iterations of the franchise in the recent past. Killstreaks track players' eliminations, however they reset upon death. Scorestreaks track players earned score as an alternative, awarding lethal and tactical support for racking up score by playing objectives or eliminating enemy equipment and air support along with eliminations. Modern Warfare 2 will offer players the choice between whether they want to use eliminations alone or score to earn their respective streaks, but regardless of the choice the player makes they are reset to 0 upon their own death. The perk Hardline can lessen the requirement for a streak by 1 elimination or 125 score. The following streaks will be available in Modern Warfare 2 at launch: 

4 kills / 500 score

UAV
Bomb Drone

5 kills / 625 score

Counter UAV
Cluster Mine
Care Package

6 kills / 750 score

Precision Airstrike
Cruise Missile
Mortar Strike

7 kills / 875 score

Sentry Gun
SAE

8 kills / 1,000 score

VTOL Jet
Overwatch Helo
Wheelson-HS

10 kills / 1,250 score

Stealth Bomber
Chopper Gunner
Emergency Airdrop

12 kills / 1,500 score

Gunship
Advanced UAV

15 kills / 1,875 score

Juggernaut

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 — Platforms and how to play

Still screenshot from the Dark Water campaign mission for Modern Warfare 2

(Image credit: Activision)

When released on Oct. 28, 2022, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is confirmed to be available on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, and PC via Battle.net and Steam for $70. 

While Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II has been promoted as a “new generation of Call of Duty,” the game will still be available on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. More than 115 million players have launched Call of Duty: Warzone since its release, with the largest install base being on last-gen consoles. It's simply not feasible to leave behind such a large install base amid shortages of the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. 

Along with the release to last-gen consoles, it has been confirmed that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II’s PC release will find its way to the Steam marketplace. The franchise has been exclusive to Activision’s own Battle.net launcher for the last five years. Both Steam and Battle.net will be supported for Modern Warfare 2 with the PC port being handled by Beenox.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 — Beta information

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Road to Launch

(Image credit: Activision)

It was announced in January 2022 that Microsoft would be acquiring Activision; however, PlayStation continues to hold the marketing rights for Call of Duty. PlayStation players received early access to the Modern Warfare II beta. Following a Call of Duty League championship event in August it was announced that the beta would begin in September. Gamers who preordered Modern Warfare 2 on either Xbox or PC were able to play the beta experience beginning Sept. 22, at 10 a.m. PT, with the open beta launching for all players regardless of preorder status on Sept. 24, at 10 a.m. PT. Crossplay was enabled during this segment of the beta. Xbox players continue to need Xbox Live Gold to access multiplayer. PC players were required to have a Battle.net or Steam account with phone number verification. The beta ended on Sept. 26

In addition to releasing the dates of the beta, a new showcase for the Call of Duty franchise was announced during Call of Duty League’s championship event. This showcase, titled Call of Duty: NEXT shared more information about the immediate future of Call of Duty. Lead development studio Infinity Ward fully revealed the multiplayer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 along with providing more information about the next generation of battle royale, Warzone 2.0, as well as detailing Project Aurora, which we now know is Call of Duty: Warzone for mobile. Streamers were on set to play and stream Modern Warfare 2 in real time during the showcase while Infinity Ward’s team provided details on the innovations of the franchise. Call of Duty: NEXT was broadcast on Sept. 15.  

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 — How we got (back) here

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While it initially found its footing as a World War II-era shooter developed exclusively by Infinity Ward, the popularity of Call of Duty led to a massive collection of spin-offs that spanned across multiple timelines. As the franchise grew, it required support at by just about every single studio under the Activision banner. Original development studio Infinity Ward began alternating annual releases with Treyarch Studios and eventually Sledgehammer Games, allowing each team to have more time to work on the blockbuster titles. 

In 2007, we saw the introduction of the Modern Warfare spin-offs, beginning with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. This was the first Call of Duty title to shed the World War II setting in lieu of a more modern timeline. 

The series went on to include two follow-up entries with record-breaking sales numbers that further cemented the Modern Warfare legacy. In 2016, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was remastered and bundled together with the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare at launch. Reception for Infinite Warfare was lukewarm, at best, and eventually Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered was released on its own.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Screenshot from Dark Water campaign mission

(Image credit: Activision)

During the mid-2010s, Call of Duty titles had taken a turn towards science fiction with more futuristic gameplay mechanics. Fans were becoming more critical of over-the-top movement gimmicks like jet packs and grapple hooks that the titles from this period introduced. However, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered showed that there was still an appetite for boots on the ground combat in a modern setting. In 2019, Infinity Ward released a freshly modernized and rebooted Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) is a fresh telling of the events leading up to the creation of Task Force 141 set in the Call of Duty: Black Ops timeline, but it does feature the return of franchise staple character Capt. John Price. Following the events of the game, players see Price briefing CIA handler Kate Laswell about potential threats while requesting a few operatives whose names players were sure to recognize — John "Soap" MacTavish, Kyle "Gaz" Garrick, and Simon "Ghost" Riley. Mexican Special Forces operative Col. Alejandro Vargas was revealed via key art showcasing members of Task Force 141.

Call of Duty: Warzone, the free-to-play battle royale that was released as a tie-in to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019), did feature events that tied into the plot for Modern Warfare. However, Infinity Ward has stated that Modern Warfare II will be a direct sequel to the 2019 reboot. 

The reveal trailer for Modern Warfare II set the premise for the campaign, with players being briefed on how the fight against Al-Qatala, the terrorist organization at the center of Modern Warfare (2019)'s events, is moving the battle stage out of Iran.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 — Preorders and bonuses

Image details the contents of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Vault Edition

(Image credit: Activision)

Preorders for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 went live immediately following the release of the first official trailer. The title may come with a bit of sticker shock, however, as there is no discounted version for last-gen only consoles like we saw for Black Ops Cold War and Vanguard. The standard Xbox version of Modern Warfare 2 is what would have previously been referred to as the Cross-Gen bundle and will cost $70, much like previous Cross-Gen bundles did. This version will be playable on both Xbox One and Xbox Series consoles interchangeably. 

For those looking to add a little something extra to their experience, there is the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Vault Edition upgrade for $100. A copy of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 for cross-gen is included with the Vault Edition along with the Red Team 141 operator pack and FJX Cinder weapon vault. Weapon vaults appear to a new option for bundling blueprints with themed attachments that match so that the weapon camo isn't broken once the player changes the weapon's attachments, but no official information is currently available. The Vault Edition also includes the Season 1 Battle Pass for Modern Warfare as well as Warzone 2.0 and 50 tier skips.

Players who preorder Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will receive early access to the game's beta in September as well as early access to the campaign beginning Oct. 20, 2022.

Buy from: Xbox (opens in new tab)

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2022)

Squad up for a new era of Modern Warfare. The standard edition includes a Cross-Gen bundle that is playable on both Xbox One and Xbox Series consoles. Preordering guarantees early access into the Open Beta.

Buy from: Xbox (opens in new tab) | Steam (opens in new tab) | Battle.net (opens in new tab)