Modern Warfare 2′ indistinguishable from reality



While it’s been known for a while that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 would use a new engine just 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 on Twitter, showing a mission set in Amsterdam. And it’s so wildly detailed it’s almost indistinguishable from reality, jokingly it somehow looks even better than the actual photos.

Some point out that in this case, this mission is more or less a “gang” mission, where you’re not in a massive firefight, but just walk a predetermined path down the street with minimal fights. It looks like it was made specifically to show off the capabilities of the technology. And those possibilities are… enormous. Reminds me of the tech demo of Unreal Engine 5 Matrix, the most realistic-looking generated 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’s one flaw, it’s that the realism of the human characters doesn’t quite match the realism of their surroundings, from their movement to their appearance. They aren’t terrible, but they aren’t 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 there will be a much bigger and better offering as they continue to maximize its capabilities. While we’ve been working on this new console generation for a few years, we haven’t fully reached their potential, 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 pushed. Even games like Cyberpunk 2077 on CDPR’s outdated REDengine look perfect with today’s top technology. Imagine what happens when they make their next game in Unreal Engine 5.

This is in stark contrast to the arrival of the metaverse, where a recent point of controversy has been just how bad Meta’s Horizon graphics specifically were, even with promised upgrades coming. More traditional video games continue to sprint into the future, while a platform like VR is still catching up with technology from two generations ago, with rare exceptions like Half Life: Alyx, which are few and far between.

This video pretty much sold me on Modern Warfare 2’s campaign, after skipping the last two. I need to see what else this game is capable of I guess.

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 too, given a major shift in the series.

A big advantage of this new engine for Modern Warfare 2 is that Call of Duty is now changing so that everything is made on a single engine instead of different versions like in the past.

“When one of the teams adds a really cool rendering or audio or animation feature,” said Patrick Kelly, Infinity Ward co-studio head and Modern Warfare 2 creative director during a preview in June 2022, “we need a lot of the people implement it in the other engine, and then in another engine.”

That doesn’t mean all games will feel exactly the same, though:

“A Black Ops game has historically 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’re celebrating and embracing that we don’t intend to make them all together.”

This new Infinity Ward engine we see in action also uses parts of engines from other studios, all of which have been combined into the “superengine” 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 next Black Ops title should look as good as that.

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