Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (stylized as Call of Duty: MW3) is a first-person shooter video game, developed by Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games, with assistance from Raven Software, and published by Activision. The game was released worldwide in November 2011 for Microsoft Windows, the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii. It is the third installment in the Modern Warfare saga, a direct sequel to 2009’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and the eighth Call of Duty installment. A separate version for the Nintendo DSwas developed by n-Space, while Treyarch developed the game’s Wii port. In Japan, Square Enix published the game with a separate subtitled and dubbed version.
The game’s campaign follows Modern Warfare 2 and begins right after the events of its final mission. Similar to Modern Warfare 2, it is centered around the Task Force 141, which contains Captain Price, Soap MacTavish, and Yuri, one of the playable characters. Alongside the Delta Force and Special Air Service, they hunt Vladimir Makarov (antagonist of Modern Warfare 2), a Russian terrorist who leads the Russian Ultranationalist party. He leads several terror attacks across Europe, triggering a large-scale war between the Ultranationalists and friendly forces. For the game’s multiplayer mode, new mode types and killstreak choices were brought in. Improvements were also made to the mode that solved issues that appeared in Modern Warfare 2.
Using an enhanced version of Modern Warfare 2‘s IW engine, development for the game began in 2010 with more than one developer. Prior to development, Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella left the company to form Respawn Entertainment. Other members had been fired or had left the company following the duo’s departure. Sledgehammer Games had joined the Modern Warfare 3 development force, with Raven Software also developing the game’s multiplayer mode. Following a large leak containing detailed information about the game, multiple teaser trailers were released with each showcasing a location featured in the game’s campaign, leading up to a full reveal.
Modern Warfare 3 received positive reviews from critics. It won the award for Best Shooter at the 2011 Spike Video Game Awards. It was also a massive commercial success. Within 24 hours of going on sale, the game sold 6.5 million copies in the United States and United Kingdom and grossed $400 million, making it the biggest entertainment launch of all time.
The entire Killstreak reward system has been altered to make it more difficult for players to get early unlocks. Killstreaks are now known as Pointstreaks, and kills are no longer the only way to increase the player’s pointstreak. Completing objectives such as planting a bomb or capturing a flag in Capture The Flag awards points towards the player’s Pointstreak. Pointstreak rewards are organized into three different “strike packages” called Assault, Support, and Specialist.
The Assault strike package works the same as the Killstreak reward system in Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops: the player must earn more and more points without dying. Once the player is killed, his or her points are reset to zero. Likewise, the Specialist strike package rewards players with perks after every second consecutive kill. Upon death, however, the player loses all the perks and the points are reset to zero. In contrast, the Support strike package are awarded based on the total points that the player has earned over the entire match, regardless of how often the player dies. It is important to note that if a player switches to a custom class with a different reward system (either assault or specialist) during game play, all points are automatically reset to 0. Players are allowed to choose which Pointstreak rewards they want to use when they gain it during the match, rather than choosing them between rounds.
Along with revamping the entire Killstreak reward system, Modern Warfare 3 also has a completely modified Ranking and Unlocks system, which does not use a currency system for unlocks. The player’s primary weapon levels up alongside the player, and unlocks a number of “Proficiency” perks such as Attachments, (allows two attachments and is a successor to the “Bling” and “Warlord” perks), Kick (reduced recoil while aiming down the player’s sight) and Focus (reduced flinching while under fire). Only one Proficiency can be put on a primary weapon. Another new addition is the ability to equip “Hybrid Scopes” on a weapon, such as a Reflex Sight a magnifier similar to an ACOG on the same weapon, and the player can switch between the scopes. Modern Warfare 3 introduces a new “Prestige Shop” which will unlock only after the player has selected the option to prestige for the first time. The “Prestige Shop” allows Prestige players to use tokens they gain from using the Prestige option to buy exclusive features such as double XP and an extra custom weapon class.
Several controversial perks in Modern Warfare 2, accused of being overpowered, have been removed in Modern Warfare 3. Diving from standing to prone, known as “dolphin diving”, has been removed due to balancing issues. Modern Warfare 3 utilized Treyarch’s hot fix system to fix bugs and glitches. Modern Warfare 3 features a local and online split-screen option. (Not available for the Wii version.
Modern Warfare 3 received the Best Shooter award at the 2011 Spike Video Game Awards, it was also nominated for the Best Multiplayer Game in 2011 as well. At the Interactive Achievement Awards or DICE awards, Modern Warfare 3 won the award for Action Game of the Year and was nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Online Gameplay, Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design and Outstanding Achievement in Connectivity.