The Call of Duty rumor mill is always spinning, even at the most unsuspecting times of the year. We’ve become accustomed to fall releases being preceded by spring and summer leaks, often throwing a host of details the way of CoD fans turning their attention towards the series’ next instalment. 2023 has been no different, promising Modern Warfare 3 and removing any lingering possibility that Modern Warfare II will receive a two year life-cycle.
Since Activision’s insistence that a “full” and “premium” Call of Duty title would drop in late 2023, we’ve come to expect a Sledgehammer Games-developed sequel to Modern Warfare II. It’s maybe an acknowledgement of the lacklustre reception SHG’s last two titles – WWII and Vanguard – have received, but it’s also a promising sign that Call of Duty wants to build on content and IPs they know players enjoy.
More leaks, finding their way into the public domain on May 11, have fostered even more community excitement. They certainly sound encouraging but, given Call of Duty’s turbulent last few years, it’s perhaps better to be cautious and avoid a disappointment that would only be heightened by the fact we – and CoD – have been here before.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Leaks and Rumors
The major rumor that emerged on 11 May was that Call of Duty 2023 will be titled ‘Modern Warfare III’, all but confirming it’ll be a direct sequel to MWII (2022) and continuing the rebooted IP. This broke via Insider Gaming who, it should be said, have a pretty solid record with leaking CoD information ahead of time.
There are a number of other leaks and rumors now circulating Call of Duty 2023, with Modern Warfare 3 allegedly set for all of the following:
- Lead development studio will be Sledgehammer Games, supported by other studios
- It will be named ‘Modern Warfare 3’ but, like MWII, stylized as ‘Modern Warfare III’
- MWIII will feature a Campaign that will follow on MWII’s narrative
- It will also feature a Multiplayer mode and Outbreak 2.0 mode
- Its rumored release date is November 10, 2023
- Season One of MWIII will allegedly begin on December 5, 2023
- Warzone 2 will receive a new map when MWIII Season One begins, called ‘Las Almas’
- MWIII will be revealed by a Warzone 2 in-game event in August 2023
All of the above information should be taken with a big pinch of salt. Despite the track records of the leakers, much can (and does) change in development processes.
Cautious Optimism For Call of Duty’s Future
All that sounds promising – a full Call of Duty instalment is welcome and sure to bring more content to players than a MWII Year Two Expansion. The modes and promise of a direct sequel to MWII is also exciting, with the rebooted Modern Warfare series undoubtedly popular with players and presenting an engaging story that continues to counter the overly-simplistic idea that CoD is a multiplayer only title.
Similarly, Warzone 2’s mixed reception – from the Al Mazrah map, rapid time-to-kill and poor pacing – means that a brand new environment is sure to reinvigorate the battle royale.
However, it’s important not to get too ahead of ourselves. Modern Warfare 2’s marketing promised an all-new CoD experience. While it’s not a bad game by any means, anyone who played Modern Warfare 2019 will know how familiar all of MWII feels.
There was also huge amounts of excitement ahead of Caldera’s release back in the first Warzone, as well as Al Mazrah and Warzone 2. Neither lived up to pre-release anticipation, plunging players into a world of bugs and glitches as they grappled with nostalgia for Verdansk.
There’s also the developer conundrum. Sledgehammer Games’ last two instalments have lacked identity and felt like box-ticking exercises; ensuring the Call of Duty formula is met but not offering the ambition needed to propel an instalment into legend. Vanguard was a game marooned in an identity crisis, unsure whether to embrace eccentricity or devote itself to a historically accurate World War 2 setting.
Given Modern Warfare 3 is set to be a MWII sequel, it seems a safe bet to assume it’ll feature a comparable tone and setting to the most recent game. That’s another reason to encourage caution – in a world where other games (Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and so on) are thrusting themselves forwards in new and exciting ways – Call of Duty is sticking to its formula and playing defensively.
Any sports fan will know a defensive approach can reap reward but, if unsuccessful, will naturally lead to questions about why more ambition and enterprise wasn’t shown.