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"We get dirty, and the world stays clean. That's the mission."
Captain John Price
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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is a Continuity Reboot of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series, developed by Infinity Ward and published by Activision for the Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC. It was released worldwide on October 25, 2019.

The year is 2019. In the Middle East, the Russian-occupied country of Urzikstan enters another turbulent year in its endless civil war. Radical Russian general Roman Barkov rules the country with an iron fist and maintains a supply of poison gas to strike down the rebelling locals. A Urzikstani terrorist group called Al-Qatala is formed in response, who aims to launch attacks on foreign soil and kill foreigners indiscriminately until all outsiders leave Urzikstan. As Urzikstan falls deeper and deeper into senseless violence, the world around it becomes more violent as well day by day.

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Players play as a CIA agent codenamed Alex, SAS Sergeant Kyle Garrick, and local resistance leader Farah Karim as their missions to expose Barkov's oppression of the Urzikstani people and stop Al-Qatala's attacks intertwine and escalate, and eventually becomes a mission to stop the world from collapsing into World War III.

In addition to the campaign, the multiplayer has seen some adjustments as well. In addition to the class system being reverted to something similar to that of the original Modern Warfare trilogy, a new feature, Gunsmith has been introduced to allow for more extensive weapon customization than ever before in the series, offering modifications for just about every aspect of a gun. This game also introduces two new game modes: Gunfight, a close-quarters focused 2v2 mode with an emphasis on skill, and Ground War, a large 20v20 and 32v32 objective matches similar to Battlefield's Conquest mode.

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The Zombies mode from prior installments sits this game out in favour of the returning Special Ops mode from Modern Warfare 2 and 3, and it too has seen some changes - allowing for four players to a team instead of just two, along with bringing in multi-stage Operations rather than one-and-done missions.

Also, for the first time since World at War's PC port, Modern Warfare foregoes the business model of paid map packs entirely in favour of releasing new multiplayer maps and Operations at no extra cost. On top of that, in a series first Modern Warfare also has cross-platform play between all three platforms, bringing the community closer together than ever before.

On March 10th 2020, Call of Duty: Warzone, a free-to-play standalone release of the two Battle Royale modes, the titular Warzone and the heist-inspired Plunder, also added in the main game, was released.


Call of Duty: Modern Warfare contains examples of the following Tropes:

  • Ace Custom:
    • Per series tradition, many weapons in the game have variants of certain rarities. These typically boast pre-attached accessories and can be used at any time, even if the player hasn't unlocked their base variants or the attachments they come with yet. That, and they also look nice, since these weapons usually have custom part models that aren't available when replicating their builds with a base weapon and the corresponding attachments. That being said, these variants are not unique in any way gameplay-wise, as the attachments they come with could be unlocked eventually with enough effort. The only benefit they grant is that their users can have early access to some weapons that otherwise might take a bit of grinding to unlock.
    • Hadir has his own HDR that he tricked out for his own use. It too is a Legendary variant usable in multiplayer, though there it is chambered in 12.7x108mm ammunition rather than the .338LM rounds Hadir's rifle uses in the campaign.
    • The player could create their own by saving a weapon's attachment loadout as a blueprint, and even name their custom guns if they so choose.
  • Action Bomb: At certain points throughout the campaign, the player, usually while playing as Kyle Garrick, will come across Al-Qatala members with bombs strapped to their bodies, who will attempt to bumrush them and detonate, killing both parties instantly. These foes can be prematurely killed, but they will still blow up regardless, so keep a healthy distance away or they'll take you with them.
  • Actor Allusion: Lamonica Garrett previously portrayed a marine in the episode "Engaged" (part 1 and 2) of NCIS.
  • Action Girl: More than all previous Call of Duty games combined. In addition to La Résistance leader Farah, she also has an Amazon Brigade who help her escape from a Russian prison, and there's also a number of Al-Qatala fighters that are women. This is in addition to two female officers on the American side of things. And in the Multiplayer mode, seven of the total twenty nine playable operators are also female (Charly, Domino, Alice & Mara for the Coalition and Syd, Iskra & Roze for the Allegiance)
  • Amazon Brigade: Farah is a severely starved and dehydrated teenage girl with zero combat experience, having spent the last 10 of her 18 years in prison enduring various abuses and tortures. She and a few other female prisoners (who are almost certainly in simular condition) are able to pick up rifles and fight their way though the Russian army to escape prison.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The game includes sections where you lead a helpless innocent bystander (Stacy) to safety around armed guards. It also includes a section where you play as a little girl (Farah) trying to survive the Russian occupation. And finally in the last mission you take control of Farah as she gets her revenge on Barkov.
  • And the Adventure Continues: General Barkov is dead and his actions are disowned by the Russian government in the face of his gas factory being destroyed, but an Ultranationalist named Victor Zakhaev is aiming to take Barkov's seat in the military. Price tells Laswell he intends to form Task Force 141 to go after Zakhaev. Meanwhile, Al-Qatala has grown in numbers and is using tanks and armored vehicles against Russian forces, having rallied around a new leader that is heavily implied to be the reboot's version of Khaled Al-Asad, which leads directly into the events of the co-op missions.
  • A.K.A.-47: Zig-zagged, as usual with Call of Duty games. Completely fictional names like the Kilo 141 (HK433) and R9-0 (DP-12) rub shoulders with accurate names like the Dragunov and Origin 12.
    • This is in part due to how recognizable a weapon is by name - names like M4A1, MP7 or P90 are much more recognizable, having been used by this series for a decade, so much that the "M4A1" is actually a slightly different weapon (the shorter-barreled Colt Model 933, which is mocked up to resemble the MK-18 Mod 0) going by a name people are more likely to recognize. In turn, newer weapons like the HK433 and Standard Manufacturing DP-12 are much less recognizable. Licensing issues are also part of the problem, though inconsistently; for the Model 933, for instance, it can be called the M4A1 because there is also legal precedent for the actual manufacturers of such weapons to not have any claim over the American military's designation for them, but the M14, which would logically be in the same boat legally and have a recognizable name (having been available in all three games of the original Modern Warfare trilogy), was renamed to the "EBR-14" in the released game. In the Origin 12's case, Activision may have secured the required license.
      • Strangely, the DP-12 goes by its real name in the Campaign. It's not clear why two names were assigned for the same gun.
    • Even some returning weapons aren't safe from this. The Remington 870 is known as the "Model 680", despite appearing in previous games with its correct name. The Desert Eagle/".50 GS" is probably the most tragic case, since it has shown up in all Modern Warfare titles prior to this, yet here it has an almost fictional appearance, where it seems to shrink, as well as take on a more rounded and beveled look, making it seem much less like an actual Desert Eagle, and has even lost its real name which up until Modern Warfare Remastered was still being used verbatim. The MP7 is another example, having a completely made-up model that only looks remotely like an actual MP7 when looked at from a hundred yards or further (in fact, the model appears to be taken from an airsoft gun).
    • The Glock 21 is called the "X16", despite not being a prototype or Glock even having a model that starts with "16" (their lowest numbered model is the 17).
    • The SIG Sauer P320 RX Compact is referred to as the "M19", which is one off from its actual military designation of M18, while the M17 is the full size P320.
    • The Heckler & Koch MG5 is given the designation of "M91", which like the M13 assault rifle in game suggests this is a formal military designation.
    • The "Holger-26" light machine gun's name is a reference to the Heckler & Koch MG36 (hence the game treating it as an LMG), which never went into full production. By default, the gun is actually a quasi-G36K with the G36C's top rail and a drum magazine, with attachment options to give it the standard 30-round mag and a shorter barrel to make it resemble a proper G36C. Unfortunately, like the MP7 above, drastic changes were made to its model to skirt around trademarks, even the default drum mag and unlockable "integral" scopes are fictional, therefore it's not possible to create a true G36 platform through Gunsmith.
    • The "STRIKER .45" submachine gun available in Season 2 Battle Pass is LWRC's SMG-45, though with some Heckler & Koch UMP details like the selector lever. The "Undertaker" variant turns it into a more proper UMP45, though it keeps the SMG-45's ambidextrous bolt release and has completely different sights from the real weapon.
    • The ShAK-12/ASh-12.7 is referred to as "Oden" in the game for seemingly no discernible reason. And no, it's not related to the Japanese hot-pot dish of the same name. It's supposed to be a form of "Woden", as in the Norse god Thor's father Odin, but the rifle has nothing to do with Norse mythology.
    • The SIG Sauer MCX VIRTUS SBR is known in game as the "M13", suggesting it has been adopted in formal military service.
    • The SCAR-H was referred to by its semi-auto only civilian name in the open beta, the SCAR-17S. As of the full release, it is known as the "FN SCAR 17", still not quite hitting it on the nail, but much more accurate than the beta version.
    • The "Grau" assault rifle is a SIG SG552. It can be fitted with a rifle-length barrel, making it look more like the full-size SG550
    • The launchers, save for the RPG, seem to be the most egregious examples.
      • The FGM-148 Javelin is known as the "JOKR" or "Joker", which isn't a name it has ever been referred to in any form, and like in previous Modern Warfare games it possesses the ability to lock onto points on the ground as a makeshift "smart mortar", a function it does not possess in real life.
      • The Carl Gustav M4 is known as the "Strela-P", which is a Russian designation for a completely different type of launcher (the M4 is a dumb-fire recoilless rifle, the Strela is an infrared anti-air launcher like the Stinger).
      • The 9K38 Igla is featured as the "Pila" which is the Russian word for "Saw".
    • Averted for once in the series with the Trope Namer, in that this is the first installment to feature an "AK-47" and have it be an actual AK-47, with the correct milled receiver, flat top, gas block and muzzle. That being said, due to the game's increased pool of attachments, it is perfectly possible to modify the AK-47 into another variant and still retain the "AK-47" name, with possibly the most egregious case being one converted to use 5.45x39mm ammunition, which should rename it to an AK-74, but doesn't. Strangely, in the beta, converting it to 5.45mm did rename it - but it did so to "AKS-74U", even if you otherwise didn't attach any of the other parts that would actually make it an AKS-74U.
      • And then there's the "AK-12" only found in the campaign. It is very obviously an AK-47, which also spawns in the same mission. Both weapons look identical in every way except for their attachment loadouts, as the "AK-12" is just an AK-47 fitted with a "Spetsnaz Elite" barrel and a "FORGE TAC Ultralight" stock. Neither of these mods make it a true AK-12.
    • Season 4's new weapons, the Fennec SMG, AMAX assault rifle and Rytec AMR sniper rifle are, respectively, Kriss Vector, Galil ACE and Barrett M107.
  • The Alliance: The Armistice, a combined forces of Russia's Allegiance and NATO's Coalition. They're the group both sides form in order to combat Al-Qatala after they take over Verdansk with the help of the Ascendant, and are the player faction in Spec Ops.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees:
    • The handheld drones with explosives strapped-on and improvised mortars firing propane canisters are real weapons used by militant groups in Syria and Iraq.
    • As silly as it may seem to most players, using an oil filter as an improvised suppressor is a real thing and it does work, though you typically can't just screw one right onto your gun without needing an adapter for the different threading. They also tend to only last a few rounds, as unlike purpose-made suppressors, oil filters aren't really designed to handle the stresses of firing bullets through them.
  • Antepiece: Several levels have an additional gameplay mechanic, but you're given information on the needed controls and often you're walked through with how to work with the gimmick before the heavy action starts. For example, "Highway of Death" has you operate a long-range rifle and dealing with both bullet drop and wind effects. You're given the opportunity to practice on some dummy targets before you're expected to pop heads.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature:
    • Difficulty levels can be freely adjusted up and down as you play, and changes will take effect immediately after unpausing unlike in other games where a checkpoint or level restart is required. Whereas the previous titles only let you go down to an easier setting if you're getting stomped, the reboot lets you go both up and down to dynamically adjust your experience if you're having an easy or hard time. The only caveat is that the achievement for beating the game on Veteran or Realism cannot be unlocked in that playthrough if you reduce down to Hardened.
    • Taking up after Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, players are sometimes waived a loss that would have otherwise affected their win rate if they join a match after it has already started. The session must have been going for some time before this would register, though, as joining too early counts as a normal match and a loss will be recorded. This is to address the frustration many players get when joining a game in progress only to be shunted over to the side that's been getting steamrolled.
    • Loadouts can be tweaked or even completely redone from the ground up while a match is going on, so that players won't be stuck with a suboptimal build when playing on certain maps against users of specific weapons. Field Upgrades can be changed mid-game as well. Killstreaks cannot be changed, though.
    • The reboot did away with the Prestige system entirely, in favor of the "seasonal rank" model, which is unlocked once the player has reached the soft level cap of 55. As such, players will no longer lose all unlocked gear and have to regrind from scratch, and will get to keep everything they've unlocked so as to be competitively viable come the next season, though MW levels past 55 have to be regained all over again. This also unfortunately meant that up until the update in January 2020, there was no way to unlock additional loadout slots past the five that are automatically unlocked at Rank 4. Now with 5 additional slots for a total of 10, that is no longer an issue.
    • Warzone handles respawns rather uniquely: When you go down the first time, you'll be sent over to the Gulag as a "Prisoner of Warzone", where you'll have to partake in a 1v1 duel against anyone who's also a PoW. Succeed, and you'll be sent right back in the action, giving a incentive to keep your skills sharp in the event of a Gulag trip.
  • Armies Are Evil: The Russian military is never shown as anything but complete, total evil. The US military command disregards international law and classifies Farah's Urzikstan Liberation Force as terrorists for no real reason other than pigheaded stupidity. British operatives are willing to kidnap and violently threaten a young boy and are largely unsympathetic to civilians being killed. Only Farah's irregular group of Arabic freedom fighters resisting their evil Russian oppressors is consistently moral, while also managing to be far more competent soldiers than their Western counterparts in elite units.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Farah stated she has been in solitary for 10 days without food or water. While she may have been able to survive that long without food, she would be dead in less than a week without water, as the timeline for death by dehydration for humans is much slimmer.
  • Artistic License – Geography: One of the multiplayer maps suggests that the Euphrates river flows through the game's Qurac, except it's supposed to be in the Caucasus, nowhere near the Euphrates. Also, a country in the Caucasus mountain range cannot have the same climate as Syria, deserts and all.
    • The Season 4 cinematic takes it Up to Eleven, showing Verdansk (an Eastern European city) to be located southeast of Urzikstan, and Urzikstan itself being a coastal country, presumably on the Eastern coast of Azov Sea.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: In the "Old Comrades" mission, Kyle can pick up an RPG when you capture the Butcher and place him in the van. Firing an RPG in real life within the confines of a van is NOT a good idea, but the game doesn't acknowledge this.
  • Artistic License – Military: Nikolai in "Old Comrades" notes Price's preference for loading his sidearm with hollow point bullets, and you can use them yourself with the Striker 45 and Fennec submachine guns, despite the use of hollowpoints against human targets being a war crime.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Miniguns. While their damage output is unparalleled, Miniguns need to briefly spin up before they can fire, and slow the player down massively when they let loose. They also cannot reliably hit anything beyond medium range. This makes the user a juicy target for anything behind a cover, who will gladly perforate them in an instant, especially in the Campaign on Veteran and Realism. Most players pick up the Minigun, die a few times not managing to kill a single enemy, and then immediately drop them for something else. In Multiplayer, you can obtain the minigun in two ways: getting the Juggernaut killstreak, in which they are always bundled with; or randomly from the Weapon Drop Field Upgrade. Despite the former having some tactical use, the Minigun itself only serves to be a novelty at best or worse, dead weight.
    • Field Upgrade Pro. Sure, having two Field Upgrades at hand can help you deal with many types of situations, such as a Munitions Box for team resupplying, and then Dead Silence when things go sour and you need to beat feet fast. But the fact that it requires two separate button presses to activate Field Upgrade and then choose between which one you want takes up precious time, time that in most cases you likely won't have considering the game you're playing. This is less of an issue on consoles, where the Field Upgrades are picked by pressing the tactical/lethal buttons that are immediately opposite to each other, while PC has it better or worse depending on which keys you've bound to those functions.
      • Not to mention muscle memory issues for players who were used to pressing one button and having their Field Upgrade usable immediately, who would press it and think they've activated it, then try to throw a grenade and get killed because they pulled out a trophy system instead.
  • Back Stab: In multiplayer. Holding down melee while behind an unaware enemy produces an animation where your operator pulls out their personal melee weapons to strike the hapless victim down, netting you a kill. Doing this 25 times unlocks operator Kreuger. Beware, though, as neither you nor your victim are invulnerable during this, so another enemy could shoot you if they see you, or a teammate could yoink the kill from under your nose and it wouldn't count.
  • Battle Royale Game: Call of Duty: Warzone was added as a new game mode and a stand-alone free to play title. It features up to 150 players in teams of three or solos dropping onto a large map and fighting to be the last team alive while a ring of toxic gas closes in. Downed players are sent to the Gulag and fight in a 1 v. 1 match with the chance to redeploy.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: There are a number of hostages who are actually The Mole and operatives of Al-Qatala. Identifying which one of these are real and which aren't is impossible until they draw a gun on you for killing their "captor."
  • Black and Grey Morality: While Al-Qatala and Barkov's forces are clearly the evil villains, the Western protagonists are shown in a much more morally questionable light than before, being willing to threaten a man's family in front of him for information, allowing innocents to die in order to complete the mission, and gunning down terrorists in front of their children. Doesn't apply to Farah's Urzikstan Liberation Force though...
  • Black-and-White Morality: Farah's Arabic Urzikstan Liberation Force is 100% complete, total good, and the Russian military is 100% complete, total evil. See Broken Aesop below.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Several times in "Embedded", there are posters around the city of Barkov's face, saying he will bring "order and stability" to the people of Urzikstan. Even a cursory glance around shows that the reality is the exact opposite.
    • In "Hometown", when playing as a young Farah during the Russian invasion, the Russian soldier she's hiding from says he has something for her, and to "come out and [he'll] give it to you." This comes after he's been stabbed and fatally wounded Farah's father. Not to mention the radio chatter about having a "kid for the general".
  • Bloodier and Gorier: While not on the same level than Treyarch's Black Ops series, this game is certainly more violent than previous Infinity Ward entries at least, as the game isn't afraid to perforate skulls and show you dead citizens or people being slaughtered with more gruesome detail than any of their prior titles. You even bash a Russian soldier's skull in with a cinderblock early on, caking the screen with blood briefly. In the campaign, high-powered weapons and explosives can dismember limbs and remove heads. Of course, all of this is optional, and can be toggled on or off in the options menu.
    • This also carried over in multiplayer, as of Title Update 1.14. Certain powerful killstreaks such as VTOL Jet has an ability to shred enemy players into pieces with its machine gun. Even some Legendary blueprints also capable to do this, as long as there is the word "Dismemberment" included in its Flavor Text description.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: some Russian signs in the Verdansk maps are off, either using incorrect cases or words in wrong context.
  • Book Ends: Chronologically speaking, the game begins with you playing as Farah, crawling under things, and brutally stabbing a Russian soldier to death with a knife. It ends with you playing as Farah, crawling under things, and brutally stabbing General Barkov to death with a knife.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The Kilo-141 and PKM are considered to be among the best weapons in the game at launch. Despite not excelling in any particular department, they make up for this by being very well-rounded overall. They are also level one weapons, meaning you will be sticking with them for most of your time in multiplayer anyway and unlocking scores of mods and perks for them while you're at it. The M4A1 edges into this territory as well, being a perennial favourite of the fanbase, due to its very agreeable stat spread and early unlock level and high level of customizability.
    • The tried and true Riot Shield. Sure, lugging it around means you need to sacrifice a primary slot, unless you're running Overkill as your Perk 1, you can't be zipping around the map getting mad killstreaks with it like you could using the 725 or M4A1, but it trades all of that for nigh-indestructibility even when blasted at by a minigun, Sentry Gun, or many different kinds of air support. Crouched down, and next to nothing could get through to you, and your only weaknesses are limited to explosives thrown around you, or someone taking an entire ATV or Wheelson to your face. Even when not equipped on hand, it could still block shots coming from behind, so those looking for cheap flank kills won't be so lucky. A lone player with a Riot Shield sitting in a tight corner could single-handedly turn the tide in a Headquarters match.
      • Ironically enough, however, the Weaksauce Weakness of a Shield player is...another Shield player. Due to the fact that Riot Shields completely block non-explosive damage coming from in front of them, that means players using them cannot bash each other to death. Face-offs between two players using Shields often devolve into games of chicken, to see who would drop their guard first, or retreat out of boredom. Such is not a completely uncommon sight, and two opposing Shield players sitting on a Domination point could result in an unending stalemate unless someone else intervenes.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: As ever, the Golden camos for your weapons. They represent the fact that a player has completely mastered a given weapon by unlocking every other unlockable camos available to it. The game takes it Up to Eleven, however, with Platinum and Damascus skins, the former of which is unlocked by achieving Gold camos for all weapons in a single class, and the latter for getting Platinum on all classes, including the Combat Knife and Riot Shield, making it basically 100% Completion.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: Weapons available include WWII-era MG34s and Kar98ks. These are somewhat justified, as both have been used by rebel forces in the present day, though a more period-appropriate alternative of the MG34 should either be a Rheinmetall MG3, or a Zastava M53 instead.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Nothing's stopping you from simply shelling out cold hard cash to buy your way up the tiers of the Battle Pass instead of earning them the old-fashioned way. In fact, the game itself even sells a "Battle Pass bundle" where the first 20 tiers are already unlocked for you.
  • Broken Aesop: Throughout the campaign, Garrick and Price are put in very morally ugly situations where they are forced to let innocents begging for help die, kill enemies right in front of their children, and finally violently threaten a young boy in front of his father to get information out of him. The clear "moral," as the game explicitly announces in an in-game conversation, is "We get dirty, and the world stays clean." This is the mean ol' ugly and inevitable reality of war, and good soldiers have to accept that sometimes they have to be the bad guys. Except - all these situations only ever occur to Westerners. Farah never encounters them, so she gets to emerge as morally flawless. The actual moral is therefore much more like "War is dirty and requires you to be the bad guy - if you're a Westerner. If you're an ethnic underdog fighting against the evil oppressors, your war gets to be squeaky clean." It's broken further in gameplay, where the developers insisted players would have to make tough, morally-ambiguous decisions - and then every time the opportunity to do so actually presents itself, picking options that are less than perfectly clean immediately sends you back to a checkpoint.
  • Canon Character All Along: Throughout the game, the player switches between new characters Farah Karim, CIA operator Alex, and Kyle Garrick. They interact with several new characters as well as old favorites like Price, Griggs, and Nikolai. Nothing indicates that the three player characters are anything but new faces for the rebooted game. At least until the epilogue, where Price receives files for his new task force, and asks that Kyle "Gaz" Garrick joins the team along with Soap and Ghost.
  • Car Fu: Like in Black Ops 4, land vehicles and killstreaks can be driven at enemy operators for an instant kill. In Spec Ops, one solid ram is enough to kill a Juggernaut, and this is also how Nikolai (non-fatally) incapacitated the Butcher in the campaign.
  • Covers Always Lie: The front cover of the game (see above) is guilty on three counts: a) Captain Price isn't the protagonist, b) nowhere in the game does he look remotely similar to that, and c) the rifle he is holding, a Noveske Shorty Switchblock, isn't available in-game, though a similar model can be created by grafting certain mods onto a M4A1.
  • Crosshair Aware: Certain targetable killstreaks like Cluster Strikes and Cruise Missiles will paint the impact area on the minimap with a giant blast footprint. The closer they are to impact the larger the crosshair will be, so if you see one coming at you, run!
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: Basically one of the reboot's touted "morality" conflicts:
    • During The Embassy, the Butcher makes a show of force by executing a father right in front of his young son, threatening to kill the boy as well if Kyle and Price don't surrender, as well as declaring that senseless death is not his ultimate goal if the player do so. The glass door separating the player from him can be opened, but the instant Kyle lets the Butcher in, he is shot and killed, netting the player a game over. The only option is to abandon the boy to his fate, which is a Hand Cannon shot to the back as he flees.
    • During the opening minutes of The Wolf's Den, Kyle and two Alphas breach and clear a suspected Al-Qatala house, which it turns out to be. Apart from the two armed combatants in the building, there's a woman comforting her child in the back room that will pull a gun and shoot at the player if they enter. If the player shoots back, she will die instantly regardless of where she is hit, so kneecaps won't do. Killing her leaves her son an orphan, assuming he lives, and what especially twists the knife is the fact that you cannot leave her alone as she wanted, she has to be killed to proceed despite the fact that she is only shooting in self-defense and will not leave the backroom to pursue anybody.
  • Darker and Edgier: Most of the game puts a greater focus on smaller-scale conflicts and the personal consequences of modern war over action film antics, with war crimes regularly committed and civilians being targeted by both sides. Overall the tone is far closer to the Black Ops games than the original Modern Warfare series. However, this moral tone is completely abandoned whenever the story switches focus to Farah and her faction, becoming by far the most morally shallow Call of Duty, where the player gets to support an utterly flawless ethnic heroine and her struggle against her completely deserving evil oppressors.
  • Demonization: Of Russians:
    • Whenever the Russian army is on screen, we see Obligatory War Crime after Obligatory War Crime. Evil Russians beating poor, innocent civilians begging for mercy. Evil Russians forcing civilians to watch the public executions of their neighbors. Evil Russians executing unarmed and surrendering civilians en masse. Evil Russians attacking children. Evil Russians walking through the street, nonchalantly executing helpless wounded civilians as they see them. Even Nikolai, the one Russian character allied with the protagonists, is fairly smug about having kidnapped an innocent woman and child so they can be violently threatened when interrogating the child's father.
    • The Russian participation in the conflict in Urzikstan is never shown with an ounce more nuance than "Evil invading Russians are massacring innocent Arabs for no other reason than insane paranoia or outright sadism." Despite the conflict being explicitly called a Civil War, not once do we ever see any actual 'Urzikstanic' natives fighting alongside or cooperating with the Russians. Additionally, the Russians are producing the chemical weapons which are the basis of the plot, which according to the story, is pretty much the absolute most evil thing a military can possibly do.
    • Additionally, Russians are not only shown to be pure evil, but laughably incompetent. The only successes the Russians have in the story are against completely helpless civilians and children. This is seen most strikingly on a mission where the Russian army is defeated by a group of starving, abused teenage girls with zero combat training. We see this again at the end: in most Call of Duty games the campaign ends with a climatic struggle against an antagonist who is usually able to put up a fight and often expresses some reluctant respect for the protagonist. In Modern Warfare, Farah sneaks up behind the evil Russian general, stabs him, he grabs her and struggles with her a bit, she grabs the knife and stabs him some more while he pathetically begs and pleads for his life. In short, Russians in Modern Warfare are evil, weak, stupid, and cowardly. This portrayal would have led to the developers being absolutely eviscerated by critics had it been applied to a more politically-sensitive group, but Russians are apparently very much acceptable targets.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • During the "Clean House" mission, there is a certain door on the third floor that hides a few enemies, who will shoot through it and maim one of your friendlies. Due to the game's use of destructible environments, it is perfectly possible for you to shoot through the door yourself from the stairs as you come across it and kill those hiding behind it. Not only does this save Alpha 3-2 a trip to the infirmary, Price will also commend you for your keen intuition, and this nets you an achievement (appropriately named "Wall Hax") for your troubles.
      Price: Good call on the door, Garrick.
    • In the same mission, there is a mother and a baby in the house. If you open the door, she will run and grab her baby. If you shoot the mother while she's carrying the baby, an NPC will pick up the baby and gently put him back in the crib.
    • During the mission "Embedded" at one point the player is required to pick up a cinder block in order to bypass some soldiers quietly. Not only does Farah have special dialogue if you beat a soldier over the head with the cinder block, if you for some reason decide to carry it through the entire mission with you, when hiding amongst the bodies in the mass grave, Farah will ask you to drop the cinder block to blend in.
    • During the Butcher's interrogation, if you aim the gun at Price and pull the trigger without any bullets loaded, he'll simply flash you a cheeky smile and quips;
      Price: Would be a shame if that was loaded, wouldn't it?
  • Dynamic Entry: Instead of stopping to open a door manually, players are given the option to either destroy it with gunfire or explosives, or sprint right into it to throw it open and surprising whomever hiding behind it. Be careful not to blunder into Claymores or a gun muzzle waiting for you, though.
  • The Empire: Known in-game as the Allegiance. They are headed by the Russian Federation, and are represented by their Spetsnaz along with various militant and mercenaries groups that are allied with them (Jackals and Chimera respectively).
  • The Ending Changes Everything: Prior to the game's ending, you wouldn't necessarily know that this is the Ultimate Universe to the earlier Modern Warfare trilogy.
  • Enemy Mine: By the end of the campaign, thanks to Al-Qatala (under the leadership of someone who is heavily implied to be Khaled Al-Asad) seizing control of Verdansk, the capital of Kastovia, and military-grade hardware, Russia, in particular their moderates such as Nikolai and Kamarov, have decided to join forces with the United States and the United Kingdom in dealing with the threat.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Shown several times during the game:
    • One incident in "Clean House" has a "hostage" horrified when you gun down their captor, followed by an attempt at Avenging the Villain.
    • Certain missions have the player conducting a SAS raid on suspected AQ houses. In a certain instance, an AQ sympathizer can be found clutching her baby as the player breaches the room she's in, and much later in the campaign one can be found comforting her son in the back room as the player is doing the rounds on the men outside. The latter woman will shoot back in self defense, and unlike the first one, cannot be left alive otherwise the objective won't advance.
    • Played painfully straight with The Butcher, who is normally a tough nut to crack, but caves in extremely quickly when his wife and son are being threatened.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Barkov's forces, aside from dealing with Farah's Urzikstani Liberation Force, are also dealing with the equally ruthless Al-Qatala group led by Omar Sulaman.
  • The Faceless: Ghost and the multiplayer-only characters Nikto, Mace and Kreuger. Nikto wears an odd balaclava/ballistic mask hybrid (after being disfigured by Al-Qatala), Kreuger has a sniper veil similar to Rainbow Six Siege's Nokk, Ghost and Mace wear almost identical balaclavas with a skull motif.
  • The Federation: Collectively referred to as the Coalition in multiplayer. They are represented by the British SAS, NATO Warcom, and American Demon Dogs.
  • Fictional Counterpart: The rescue workers that rescue child Farah from being buried in rubble have distinct white helmets similar to the Syrian Civil Defense organization.
  • Fictional Country: Urzikstan isn't real, although it draws inspiration from other nations in the Middle East and could easily double for any infamous war-torn area in the region. Kastovia isn't, either, but Verdansk is clearly based on Central and Eastern European cities, and "St. Petrograd" is a clear stand-in for Sankt-Petersburg.
  • Final Boss: Quite unusually for the series, especially the Infinity Ward games, the game actually has a full-on in-game final boss fight against a Juggernaut at the very end, which is followed by a more typical-for-the-series Cutscene Boss confrontation with General Barkov.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Averted, one stray shot can kill civilians in a tense situation, though the game isn't instantly over for it. Killing too many nets you the checkpoint reset, however, and certain situations and kills are crossing the line, such as shooting the baby in "Clean House".
  • Flawless Token: Farah, 100%. Arabic woman. Watches her mother and father die in front of her as an 8 year old child. Attacked by several soldiers and forced to kill them - again as a child. Captured and spends 10 years in prison, enduring abuse and torture. Somehow becomes a commander of the resistance movement inside prison, because the resistance apparently decided a great choice for a commander of their military organization would be a teenage girl with zero military experience (or experience in anything besides being an 8 year old and a prisoner), zero access to learning materials or training, near certain extremely severe physical and mental damage, and who can't even be spoken to without going through the dangerous trouble of smuggling messages in and out and prison. Successfully leads her squad of other abused female Arabic prisoners with zero combat training to overpower dozens of trained soldiers, all while severely starved and dehydrated. Becomes an ultra-super-badass insurgent leader who is somehow far more knowledgeable than her white Western male colleagues from elite American and British units. So utterly dedicated to her morals that she's willing to immediately turn on her beloved brother when he uses weapons she doesn't approve of. Accepts the clueless US Military Command incorrectly classifying her equally flawless movement of freedom fighters in stride. Has to be convinced to seize an opportunity to take revenge on the man who imprisoned and tortured her, because it means acting aggressively instead of defensively. Immediately offers to sacrifice herself when the mission requires it.
  • Gangsta Style: During night-time operations in both single and multi-player modes, any guns equipped with IR laser sights will be aimed in such a manner (only turned 45 degrees rather than the full 90), as most optical attachments are not compatible with NVGs.
  • Guide Dang It!: If you acquire the Tomogunchi Watch, you won't have any direction on what to do with the thing because the game doesn't explain it at all. You'll need to source information from other places (like YouTube videos) to get a complete understanding of what goes into caring for it and how to level it up.
  • Gun Porn: Turning away from the traditional attachment system of past titles, the 'Gunsmith' feature runs on this trope. Weapons can be customized with various attachments such as barrels, stocks, magazines, sights, lasers, grips, and underbarrel launchers, with each attachment reflected both visually and statistically on the weapon.
  • Harmful to Minors: The whole flashback mission to Farah's childhood.
  • Hate Sink: The Barkov-led Russian forces portrayed through most of the game are vile war criminals who torture, interrogate, and kill Urzikstan citizens (including children) under the vague premise of "being terrorists" when the Urzikstanis just want to live peaceful lives. They also indiscriminately use chemical nerve agents against civilian targets. The Al-Qatala "freedom fighters" are portrayed as slightly A Lighter Shade of Black, playing up the Well-Intentioned Extremist role claiming they fight for Urzikstani freedom from foreign oppression but involving acts of terror against western societies that haven't acted directly against them (and they also kill children), and moreover, according to multiple in-game conversations, they may even have done these before the Russian invasion. Ultimately neither are portrayed as anything but evils that must be eradicated and the forces led by the Karim siblings act to quell both sides (Barkov for invading their homeland and oppressing their people and Al-Qatala for giving their people a bad name, which is implied to be the reason for Barkov's invasion in the first place).
  • Hellish Copter: Plenty of helicopters are shot down throughout the course of the campaign, many times with the player still on board, and Spec Ops begin with your chopper being beaned by an RPG and spiraling out of control. If you're wondering why this happens so much you're probably new to the series.
  • Heroic Mime: Averted, unlike in the original Modern Warfare; Kyle, Alex and Farah are quite talkative even when they're being played.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: Vehicles in the Warzone battle royale mode are afflicted with this, as they have different hitboxes depending on the type of object it's interacting with (ie Is it colliding with level geometry/destructables, or another player?). While there is no dissonance if the vehicle hits the former, there is if it's hitting a player, as its player damage hitbox actually extends well beyond the vehicle model itself, to the point where not even hard, indestructible cover can keep a player safe from a roadkill.
  • Hollywood Silencer: A bit downplayed compared to prior titles, as suppressed firearms can still be rather loud and audible when fired. Then there are also the oft-memed oil filter silencers found in Embedded, which are yoinked out of unused cars or motorbikes. They're universal, "one size fits all" baffles that can be snapped onto every gun you could find in the level, including the hidden .357 magnum revolver which shouldn't logically work. Regardless of whether you're firing a weapon chambered in .45 ACP or .50 AE, the gunshots are never louder than a simple cough. This type of suppressor is available to select pistols in multiplayer as well.
  • Homage: Infinity Ward continues their tradition of copy and pasting set pieces from their favorite action movies into this game.
    • "The Embassy" is reminiscent of the film 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi where our heroes must fight their way out of a U.S. Government building and fend off an attack from rogue terrorist fighters as they try to sneak up onto your compound through a grassy field in the dark.
    • The second half of "The Wolf's Den" puts Alex and Farah inside a set of underground tunnels, just like the ones near the end of the film Sicario, where both the female lead and her male lackey are placed in a tense CQB scenario.
    • And who didn't think of Zero Dark Thirty whenever the S.A.S. had to do a midnight breach and clear? They even gave them their own set of GPNVG-18s.
    • In a video game example, during the Piccadilly terrorist attack, Price throws a hostage fitted with a suicide vest over a railing to prevent collateral damage, in a scene reminiscent of the end of the trailer for the canceled Ubisoft title Rainbow Six Patriots.
  • Hostage Situation: It occurs several times during the game where you can either attempt to rescue the hostage, watch them die, or Shoot the Hostage. Sometimes the hostages turn out to be The Mole and will attempt to gun you down if you manage to "rescue" them.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: The Combat Stim tactical equipment somehow near-instantly heals all wounds when used, regardless of severity, and returns the user to tip top shape in mere moments. It can even revive players in bleedout instantly when used as the Medic class' skill in co-op, healing all manners of injury in less than three seconds. A self-revive version of the Combat Stim is available in the Warzone game mode.
  • Implacable Man: If you're able to score the necessary fifteen kills to summon a Juggernaut suit to the battlefield (or get lucky from a care package crate), the game is essentially won from that point onwards thanks to the insane amount of punishment one can take and how effortlessly it cuts through the enemy ranks. You can be felled in the suit (and doing so will drop the Juggernaut's minigun) but even the combined efforts of an entire team won't topple the Juggernaut immediately and you will definitely be able to do some damage before going down, turning the game into a Mook Horror Show at least for a while.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Averted. Many children are killed numerous times throughout the campaign, usually within the player's view. The Embassy formally begins with The Dragon of that chapter's main villain coldly shooting a young boy in the back with his Hand Cannon, and a young Farah Karim could be gunned down by invading Russian troops during her Whole Episode Flashback. To put icing on the cake, the player themselves could partake in this during Clean House, to a baby no less, though this nets them a checkpoint restart and a What the Hell, Hero? moment if done a second time.
  • Injured Player Character Stage: The level "Captive". Although it's less injured and more "weakened by 10+ days without food and water". Your reloads are slower than usual and you stumble when you move.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: The campaign characters look exactly like their actors, especially Farrah. For the multiplayer operators, this is an exception - only a few (Mara, Talon and Otter) do.
  • Interface Screw:
    • Using the oil filter silencers in Embedded dampens the report of your guns, but they are huge. Depending on the weapon, the level of obstruction varies, but generally, you might as well forget about aiming, as even with optics attached the sights barely clear the cans themselves.
    • Warzone has a ring of poisonous gas which slowly restricts the playing field. Players can survive longer in the gas by picking up a gas mask, but it partially blocks one's view. layers can risk not picking up a mask to avoid the animation of taking off the mask when re-entering the circle.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Juggernaut near the end of Into the Furnace. Players who were used to seeing Juggernauts as slow, lumbering Mighty Glaciers will be in for a big Oh, Crap! moment when this one starts sprinting. And he is faster than the player despite being decked in full heavy armor and lugging around a PKM machine gun.
    • The Juggernauts in Spec Ops could also sprint, but due to the miniguns that they wield, they fortunately don't do that very often unless the player is at a good distance away.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: The game's file size is only 61 GB, but has its Campaign, Multiplayer, and Spec Ops modes all in separate downloading files (with the Campaign requiring TWO separate downloads. The game is expected to have as much as 175 GB in storage space by the time game support dies down.
    • And that's not getting into the shaders that the game seems to be constantly installing somehow. Almost every time the game is booted on, it has to install something, preventing the player from actually playing it until it's done, which could take anywhere from a few seconds to ten minutes. Trying to play anyway will cause the game to be very wonky for a few minutes after starting a match or campaign level.
  • Mêlée à Trois: The war in Urzikstan involves Russian forces commanded by General Barkov vs Farah's Urzikstani Liberation Force vs Omar Sulaman's Al-Qatala.
  • Mini-Boss: The Russian Juggernaut under Barkov's command in the last mission is essentially this, being a unique small boss fight that isn't seen a lot in Call of Duty games.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Defied when Alex is told to rescind all ongoing affiliation with the ULF upon the ULF being labeled as terrorists themselves in the wake of Hadir's use of the chemical agent he stole. Alex flatly stands up to his order and says he won't tolerate being told who he is allowed to ally with and will trust his gut as to the causes he fights for.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • During the mission "Highway of Death", Hadir and Farah decide to test Alex's sniping skills. One of the targets is a watermelon, and hitting it leads to Hadir remarking that "[Alex's] fruit killing skills are remarkable." Just a few words off from Gaz's memetic line from the original Modern Warfare's tutorial.
      • This one gets a second gag during the Warzone Practice scenario, when, upon activating a Contract pickup, mission control remarks that "Your contract accepting skills are remarkable."
    • In the mission "Going Dark", Captain Price pulls up a disoriented player character and says "On your feet - we are leaving!" This is one word off from Price's quote in "Crew Expendable" back in Call of Duty 4.
    • As Price drives headlong at a police roadblock, he mentions his gameplan is "shock and awe", namedropping the infamous mission from Call of Duty 4 that saw the American forces get trapped in a nuclear explosion.
    • One mission sees the protagonist tailing an enemy HVT through hostile-infested streets to capture him alive, with said HVT nearly getting away at the end of the chase, only for an ally to literally crash into and disable him. Is this "Old Comrades" or "Takedown"?
    • Present in Verdansk and the entire setting for the Superstore multiplayer map are Atlas corporation superstores. A comparatively humble beginning for a future global superpower. Especially since, hidden in the center of the store, are boxes marked "whiskey" which are filled with artillery shells.
  • No-Sell: AI Juggernauts in this game are markedly much more resilient than their prior counterparts. For one, high-caliber weaponry like the Desert Eagle or AX50 no longer stumble them with headshots, even with Stopping Power rounds, and they could laugh off several belts of concentrated machinegun fire while high-explosives only deal slightly above-par damage to them. Not even several cluster strikes landing smack dab on their heads could do much more than momentarily inconveniencing them for a bit. Flash grenades still stun them, sure, but only for a few moments as they are a lot less affected by them than they used to be.
  • Nostalgia Level
    • Three new maps introduced in Season One are Call of Duty 4 classic maps "Vacant", "Shipment", and "Crash" with some redesigned elements to update them for Modern Warfare's gameplay style (particularly actionable doors). In addition, the "Port of Verdansk" Ground War map also has Vacant as part of its map design.
    • Season 2 brings back "Rust" from Modern Warfare 2.
    • Season 3 returns "Backlot" from 4, now called "Talsik Backlot". A late Season 3 update also added "Hardhat" from Modern Warfare 3.
    • The entire map of Verdansk in Warzone features modified maps from Call of Duty 4 and Modern Warfare 2, including "Killhouse", "Broadcast", "Vacant", and "Scrapyard".
  • Not the Intended Use: Pistol-Whipping. While ostensibly meant to be used as a last resort against close enemies, it is bar none the easiest way to gain large amounts of experience for your sidearm, especially when using the Fast Melee perk. As pistols are generally considered to be impractical and unreliable, many players instead wield them as glorified blackjacks due to Fast Melee being one of the earlier perks available to them. With a Fast Melee pistol, one could just zip around the map or wait around corners and then bopping everyone on the head for massive XP gain, since melee kills award a Nosebreaker bonus on top of the usual 100XP. Buttstroking enemies using larger firearms with similar setups also work, but they're better off used for shooting instead, and there are other, more useful perks to use with them than Fast Melee.
  • One-Hit Kill: While there are a handful of weapons that can one-shot player in both core multiplayer and in Warzone (even with full health and armor), all but one of them can't actually one-shot kill (only one-shot down) enemy players in Warzone unless it's a free-or-all Warzone match, or the target was the last member of their squad that's up/alive. Enter the Crossbow, whose bolts can one-body a full-health player if they have less than 25 points of armor, or one-hit them in the head regardless of health/armor (Does exactly 250 damage, equal to a player with full health and armor). While that's still not a one-hit kill, we're instead going to look at the 'explosive bolts. While they deal the same amount of damage on impact as a regular bolt, it's the timed explosive charge on it that makes it a one-hit kill, as the explosive charge does enough damage to a downed player to kill. Long story short, if a player gets downed by the impact of an explosive bolt, the explosive charge will immediately finish them off with no chance of revival.
  • Obligatory War Crime Scene: Both the Russian Forces under Barkov and Al-Qatala are shown committing numerous war crimes, ranging from using chemical weapons on both civilian and military targets to executing unarmed civilians by the dozen. That said, the good guys aren't above resorting to necessary roughness as well, such as bringing in "The Butcher's" wife and son in order to hold his feet to the fire. Kyle, being someone with a moral compass compared to the ruthless despots he's fighting, does question what measure is needed in order to ensure security for the world but ultimately agrees that they're still fighting for the right cause.
  • Obviously Evil: The name of the game's resident terror group Al-Qatala is literally "The Killers" in Arabic, and they don't seem to exist for anything but killing and massacring others. For reference, their real-world inspiration Al-Qaeda's name translates to "The Foundation" in Arabic. The first words of their leader in the opening are literally "We are the Killers. We fight without sorrow. We wage war without sympathy. This is the only way to live....and die."
  • Present Day: The game released on October 25th, 2019 - its story begins just one day earlier on October 24th.
  • Press X to Die: Sadly for the boy at the embassy, his only options are to take a bullet to the back of the head or for you to open the door and let The Butcher in, getting shot yourself as you do.
  • Politically Correct Villain: The very first lines of the game are from the leader of the evil Arabic Middle Eastern Terrorists announcing that their movement is completely secular ("Our war is not for our faith"). Needless to say, the odds of such a group arising are extremely low.
  • Proxy War: Farah's forces are being backed by the United States against Russia. From Laswell's perspective, this keeps her and the CIA's hands clean and the US out of foreign affairs that could blow up if they crossed any lines while still pledging support to defeating known terror organizations and war criminals. The only US operative on the ground is Alex, who is really there on a mission to find a toxic nerve agent that was stolen during an earlier mission, but he gets involved with Karim siblings' overarching fight against Al-Qatala and Barkov as well.
  • Qurac:
    • Urzikstan is a pastiche of Middle Eastern countries: it's Arabic-speaking and has a geography similar to Syria, despite being located next to the Caucasus, but also has the -stan suffix found in countries that historically belonged to the Persian sphere of influence, as well as having the Simorgh of Persian mythology on its emblem. The rebel fighters have a combination of Arabic, Persian, and Turkic names.
    • Urzikstan’s flag, unlockable as a player nameplate background for competitive play, is heavily influenced by Chechnya’s Ichkeria regime, overthrown by Russia in the Chechen wars.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Hometown: When a very young Farah shoots an AK-47, the cumulative effects of recoil from the full-auto fire causes the rifle to fly right out of her hands, as she's not strong enough to handle it. Similarly, Farah and Hadir try to move its deceased owner's body to retrieve the weapon, as it was tethered to him and had fallen on top of the rifle as he expired, but can't because an adult's corpse is far too heavy for them to move. Later on in the first flashback mission, Farah finds a revolver, but her low strength means that she's unable to overcome the heavy trigger pull for the double-action trigger (requiring her to fire it in single-action by manually cocking the hammer first, which increases the delay between shots), has difficulty bringing the revolver to bear and keep it steady whilst aiming (thus giving the player a prompt to hold down sprint to steady it as if it were a sniper rifle), and almost like with the AK earlier, the weapon's recoil on each shot almost causes her to lose her grip on it.
    • Unlike many games, killing a civilian or two in the crossfire of an intense battle doesn't auto-fail the mission. In any war, some civilians will inevitably end up as collateral damage, even in wars waged against unambiguously evil foes, and the "good guys" must accept that. As a result, the command gives you some wiggle room. However, you will fail if you kill too many, showing that while some civilian deaths are inevitable, Western militaries do still try to minimize them.
  • Recycled Title: Subverted. Similar to Need for Speed (2015), there isn't a game with this specific title. There are games titled Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2/3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Mobilized, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare — Reflex Edition, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered, but not a game simply titled Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
  • Regenerating Health:
    • The classic regenerating health mechanic that's been a mainstay of the franchise since Call of Duty 2 returns in the multiplayer beta, after sitting out the previous entry, and works just like in previous games (health immediately goes back to 100% after at least 5 seconds of not being hit). However, the Wounding effect applied by the Frangible Bullets gun perk can delay health regeneration, while the Stim Shot equipment item, similar to Black Ops 4's first-aid injectors, gives the player the ability, twice in one life, to skip the wait time and immediately go back to full health.
    • This mechanic is preserved in Warzone, with armor plates adding extra hit points.
  • Renegade Russian: Barkov is hinted to be this; one of his men suggests that Moscow doesn't know of all the evil deeds he's committing in Urzikstan. At least in 1999. It's possible by 2019 he's acting with the full support of the regime in Moscow. Of course, this makes the Russian government at absolute best incomphensibly idiotic, to be ignorant of such atrocities.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Al-Qatala's own definition of kicking out foreign oppressors (both the Russians and the Western nations) in the name of Urzikstan's freedom is by committing unhinged violence within their own country and performing terrorist attacks both in Russia and Western Europe, much to the dismay of the Urzikstan Liberation Force who genuinely want independence and peace in Urzikstan.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: Compared to the Al-Qatala, Urzikstan Liberation Force (ULF) only wants to end Barkov's military occupation in Urzikstan, and by far is the nicest Urzikstan independence fighters around. Even Farah admits that it is the people like AQ who give the Urzikstan people a bad reputation of being terrorists by other countries.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The campaign draws strong inspiration from events of the 2000s and 2010s:
    • The terror attack on London takes parts from the 2005 Piccadilly line bombing and the 2015 Paris attacks.
    • The conflict in Urzikstan is a thinly-veiled take on the Syrian Civil War, with elements of the Chechen wars and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan mixed in.
    • The embassy siege and compound assault is heavily based on the 2012 Benghazi attack.
    • Averted with the abandoning of Farah's resistance group. That was just coincidence.
  • Ruritania: Kastovia, a region in the Caucasus and the setting of several early missions, is clearly based on Abkhazia.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: Well, reboot difficulty drop at any rate. Compared to previous titles, the game is pretty tame when it comes to difficulty levels. Sure, on Veteran the player is still a Glass Cannon who dies in an instant, but so are the enemy, who no longer spawn infinitely from Clown Car closets or Grenade Spam like it's going out of style that once made the series infamous. Now, enemy spawns come in reasonably strong, but surmountable numbers, that can be defeated if the player knows what they're doing, and barring certain segments, once sufficient ground has been covered, they will stop spawning. Checkpoints are much more liberal than before, if only slightly more random. By series standards, the Veteran difficulty in this game seems to be more on the level of Hardened in prior titles, and Realism only adds the caveat of having a very minimal HUD while you play, so while this is by no means a walk in the park, it is much less maddening than the games preceding it.
  • Setting Update: Despite the plot at large still checking many of the boxes of the old Modern Warfare trilogy, the settings have been bumped up to Present Day instead of still taking place from 2011 on upwards. Along with this, many returning characters have had their entire backstories rewritten, some of which are implied to be entirely different people from the original, and those that aren't have been largely given an Age Lift, the most prominent example being Captain Price. As a result of the setting update, many of the series' staple firearms and tech pieces have also been eschewed in favor of more "modern" equipment.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • When reloading from a partially-empty magazine, your character will visibly retain the old magazine while loading the new one, justifying why the old magazine's ammo gets added back into the ammo pool and why you're not throwing magazines away and somehow still carrying an absurd amount of One Bullet Clips.
    • Without Sleight of Hand, the MP5's charging handle is always locked back, even on half-empty reloads. This is actually the recommended procedure when changing magazines with the MP5, as inserting a magazine while the bolt is closed, due to the extremely short space between the top of the mag and the bottom of the bolt, can be quite difficult and even possibly damage the mag's feed lips.
    • All of the ammo/magazine conversion options for specific weapons are actually possible in real life. The MP5's 10mm conversion is one of several available for the platform, turning it into an MP5/10 with a straight magazine. The AUG is designed to be extremely versatile and adaptable, and can easily be converted from an assault rifle to an SMG through the use of a different barrel, bolt and magazine well adapter.
      • This isn't entirely perfect, however, as "converting" a weapon to use new ammo only changes the magazine model, while the rest of the gun still remains the same for the most part. This effect is most visible with the AUG, which retains its 9x19mm barrel even when rechambered into 5.56x45mm.
    • The .357 has a very slight delay between pressing the fire button and the in-game gun firing, to reflect the heavy double-action trigger pull of the revolver. The .357 found in Hometown has no such delay, due to young Farah firing it in single-action.
    • During Clean House, the squad will call out which floor they're advancing to; during a similar manoeuvre while on a joint op with the marines, the SAS will call out building "decks" instead. British and American English have different number systemsnote  for building floors, "decks" is an international standard.
    • Some weapons allow you to switch between semi-auto and full-auto. If you do so, the selector switch on the side of the weapon will be changed to the appropriate setting, in contrast to earlier games where the selector would, most commonly, be permanently modeled on the safe position. It's not perfect, though, such as the AUG being animated to switch modes by flicking the safety on and off.Explanation 
    • The P90's translucent magazine visibly depletes as it fires, allowing you to track how many rounds have been fired visually.
    • Firearms will visibly produce smoke from the barrel when firing and in the case of the 725 over-under, from the chambers when ejecting shells.
    • Firearm casings will produce different sounds depending on the terrain they're ejected over; a round will produce a different sound if it falls on concrete versus soft ground.
    • Zig-zagged with the FAMAS. On the one hand, the reloading animation clearly shows magazines loaded with steel-cased ammunition, which was a requirement for this specific rifle platform owing to overpressurization issues when feeding standard brass-cased rounds, which could cause rupturing, weapon malfunctions, or even injury to the user, as well as accuracy problems if not using specific 55-grain bullets. On the other, its model has what appears to be a Remington ACR gas block out front, despite the FAMAS not even being gas-operated. It's also animated to switch fire modes between burst-fire and semi-auto with a lever behind the magazine; in reality, that switch selects between burst-fire and full-auto, with the selector ahead of the trigger switching between automatic and semi-automatic.
  • The Stinger: Thanks to the Evil Power Vacuum in Urzikstan created by the deaths of Omar Sulaman and General Barkov, a new face has emerged as the commander of Al-Qatala and taken an aggressive stance against Russia: a bearded man with sunglasses who is heavily implied to be Khaled Al-Asad from Call of Duty 4. Price, Laswell, Nikolai, and new face Kamarov gear up to engage in a joint NATO-Russian op, based on intel received from Laswell's FSB counterpart in Russia.
  • Strapped to a Bomb: Happens twice in the campaign. Once to an innocent Londoner, who picked a bad time to visit Piccadilly Circus, and a second time to Al-Qatala's leader Omar Sulaman who decided he'd try some too, knowing that Alex and Farah are coming for him.
  • Tactical Door Use:
    • Most doors are now dynamic parts of the maps they are on, and can be opened and closed at will to gain or deny passage. They can be opened in either direction, which could help with ambushing one's enemies, or setting up traps for the would-be intruders. How quickly they are opened is left entirely at the player's discretion, who could slowly creak them open to get a drop on the enemy hiding in the next room. Or, if they player so choose, they could always pull a Dynamic Entry by smashing the door in and taking whoever is hiding behind them by surprise.
    • Claymores work wonders with this, as the doors help to conceal them from enemy players, who often won't realize they're walking head-first into a mine until it has already exploded.
  • Tempting Fate: Early in the mission "Embedded", Alex and Farah overhear a group of Russian soldiers talking about how the commander of the Urzikstani rebels is a woman. One of the soldiers then confidently says, "I will not be killed by any woman." Take a guess at what happens to him not even a minute later.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Farah and Hadir's origin story. Farah wakes up in a pile of rubble, feet away from her mother's corpse, and is dug out by rescuers, who pass her back to her extremely-relieved but saddened father. They barely get a moment to reunite before they are forced to run from invading forces who massacre civilians (including children) and barely make it back to their home, where Hadir has been waiting. Just when they think they can wait it out, a soldier enters the building and a physical confrontation ensues with their father, netting the latter fatal wounds in the process. Farah and Hadir manage to kill the soldier by stabbing him several times with a knife, then using his own AK-47 against him. Their father lives long enough to impart some passing encouragement to stay alive before he dies, and they are forced to flee, wearing gas masks and sneaking through areas populated with piles of bodies. Just when they think they've managed to escape (by stealing a truck), they're captured by Barkov and the Ultranationalist forces and locked up for nearly a decade before their eventual rescue by the British SAS. After all that, it's no wonder why they became freedom fighters.
  • Ultimate Universe: Price and MacMillan's attempt on Imran Zakhaev's life also occurred in this timeline in Pripyat, except that apparently this time Imran didn't survive the assassination (though the way the dialogue is set up leaves it ambiguous, and the opening cinematic for Operation Paladin mentions a rather suspiciously bald and one-armed "Mr. Z"), and now his son Victor leads the Russian Ultranationalists. The game's campaign ends with Price selecting 3 recruits to form Task Force 141 to hunt down Victor - Kyle "Gaz" Garrick, John "Soap" MacTavish, and Simon "Ghost" Riley, whose files were all pulled by one General Shepherd. Meanwhile, in Urzikstan, the Al-Qatala has rallied under the banner of a person that looks exactly like Khaled Al-Asad.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: In the mission "Embedded", the player as Alex is required at certain points to bring around a cinderblock with them to get past guard checkpoints, or they would be gunned down otherwise. What's unusually uninteresting about this is that Russian soldiers standing guard don't seem to notice anything wrong with a worker lugging a bloodied brick around, going into random rooms and taking paths into places he would have no business carrying one into, such as the areas underneath the helipads. They also cannot hear the sound of bricks thudding against the ground whenever the player has to drop them to do anything. The Guards Must Be Crazy, indeed.
  • Version-Exclusive Content:
    • The Survival mode is initially only available to players on the PlayStation 4. For the rest of the player base, it is gated behind a 1-year exclusive period and won't be available until October 2020.
    • The content of the three "classic" operator packs (War Pigs, Crew Expendable, and All Ghillied Up) can only be obtained by pre-ordering certain editions of the game, or buying at least the Operator Edition at launch. As of November 2019, the packs have still not been made available for individual purchase as DLC, and will likely continue to stay that way for some time.
  • Villain Has a Point: Despite his iron fist rule on Urzikstani people, Barkov does have a point in wanting to eliminate Al-Qatala, who are arguably even more dangerous than he is. They've already proven capable and completely willing to stage terrorist attacks against foreign countries including America, Western Europe and Russia. In addition, the moment Barkov is finally eliminated, Al-Qatala seizes on the Evil Power Vacuum to take control of Urzikstan and eventually launch an invasion on Russia itself, further validating the point of his reasoning on invading Urzikstan.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: If you invest in it (either by buying the pack it's in or the Season 3 Battle Pass), you can use the "Tomogunchi Watch" on your wrist, which lets you maintain a little virtual pet in the style of the Tamagotchi. The pet reacts to your performance in-game and evolves depending on how well you care for it (it thrives off of game performance such as kills, objective captures, and other things and each pet has an affinity for what it likes you to do).
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment:
    • Each mission includes a "Collateral Damage Assessment" stat, and civilian deaths at the hands of the player negatively affect the ranking the player receives for the stat upon mission completion.
    • Shooting the baby in "Clean House" instantly resets you to a prior checkpoint, telling you that "children are non-combatants". Continuing to shoot the baby after the reset will make the game say "Are you serious?", before kicking you out of the mission and back to the menu screen.
  • Wham Shot: Near the end of "Highway of Death", the player is prompted to open the trunk of a truck so Hadir can utilize some "powerful explosives", which turns out to be the toxic gas that was stolen back in Kastovia.
  • What You Are in the Dark: You have the option of opting out of interrogating the Butcher by threatening his wife and child.
  • With Cat Like Tread: While there are many different ways to stealthily approach the competition, the multiplayer operators will call out enemies in the vicinity should they spot them, potentially giving their own locations away. This could, and has, ruin many an attempt at flanking or executing otherwise unaware targets. This behaviour no longer exists in Patch 1.06, where operator callouts can only be heard by their player and their own team.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Several characters gun down women without hesitation, including the player character.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Several characters show no qualms with harming children.
  • Would Not Shoot a Civilian:
    • Averted. The Russian occupation forces under General Barkov don't hesitate to retaliate against the Urzikstani civilians because of "terrorist" attacks.
    • The good guys and our player characters follow this trope, up to a point. One or two accidents are let slide, but killing too many, or specific cases (like shooting the baby in "Clean House") will boot you back to a checkpoint. If a "civilian" picks up a weapon or you're ordered to open fire, though, they're fair game.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: CIA and SAS team up with Farah's Urzikstani rebels against the Al-Qatala and rogue Russian forces. Meanwhile Al-Qalata call themselves freedom fighters against foreign oppression but their actions are just plain terroristic (particularly since they also launch attacks against NATO countries, which has nothing to do with the Russian occupation of Urzikstan) and no one but themselves agree with their methods, including their own countrymen. Barkov's forces simply call everyone in Urzikstan a terrorist regardless of what, if anything, they did.
    • This trope starts swinging around when the U.S. military labels Farah's forces as a terrorist organization after Hadir goes rogue.
    • The inverse also occurs in Multiplayer mode with Jackals subfaction, a Russian backed African militant forces who like Farah's own ULF also call themselves freedom fighters against Al-Qatala extremism, but while ULF were fully backed by NATO, the Jackals were labeled as terrorist group instead, which is not unlike Russia's own treatment to the Urzikstani freedom fighters.
    • One of the quotes that pops up when you die cites the trope.

Alternative Title(s): Call Of Duty Warzone

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