Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is a 2011 First-Person Shooter video game, made by Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games and published by Activision. It is the sequel to 2009's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the eighth main game in the Call of Duty franchise, and the final game in the Modern Warfare storyline started by Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
After the events of the previous game, the U.S. manages to turn the tables on the invading Russians, who are forced to withdraw from the American East Coast. Two months later, a planned peace treaty between the two countries is interrupted when Russia invades Europe. Now it's up to you to stop the invasion, and hunt down Vladimir Makarov once and for all.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 contains examples of:
- Adjustable Censorship: You can skip the "Davis Family Vacation" mission. Interestingly, the ending of the previous mission "Mind the Gap" changes to account for your choice, instead ending with the truck you stopped exploding right in front of you rather than the mission quickly fading out into "Davis Family Vacation", in which the truck explodes and kills the Davises.
- African Terrorists: Modern Warfare 3 has the African Militia. They have bases of operation in Sierra Leone and Somalia, and are shown to be a bunch of thugs who kill civilians For the Evulz and help smuggle chemical weapons into Europe for Vladimir Makarov.
- Artistic License Ships: The Russian navy in New York harbor is presented at much closer range than they would realistically be in an actual amphibious invasion in order to have the cinematic view of the fleet against the New York City skyline and to allow the Delta Force team to get close undetected.
- Been There, Shaped History: It turns out that Yuri was there when Zakhaev's arm was shot off, watched the nuke go off in the first Modern Warfare, and was supposed to join Makarov in the "No Russian" airport massacre, but Makarov gut-shot him in the underground parking lot after Yuri had a change of heart and attempted to warn the authorities. Yuri even managed to crawl up to the main terminal and was steps behind Makarov, Private Allen et al., trying to stop them before passing out from his injuries (although he couldn't aim for shit in the state he was in anyways, so it's unlikely he could have done anything). Makarov himself gets this treatment for most of that scene as well, showing him as the driver that got Zakhaev safely away after he was shot, and as the one who personally detonated Al-Asad's nuke. Both games' remasters call back to this: the Call of Duty 4 remaster places Makarov and Yuri in the jeep they were in during the MW3 flashback - where you can kill Makarov to get the "Time Paradox" achievement, but get a game over for friendly fire if you shoot Yuri. Modern Warfare 2 Remastered does more-or-less the same thing during No Russian, bringing Yuri's failed attempt at stopping the massacre.
- Bittersweet Ending: Makarov has finally paid for what he's done and the war's come to an end, but nearly everyone who worked to get that far, including Soap and Yuri, are dead, and the world still had to fight a war in which millions of people died, essentially, for nothing. London is devastated in the chemical attacks and most of the European capitals suffered a similar fate.
- Bolivian Army Ending: Sandman and the rest of the Delta team (except Frost, who is absent for some reason) stay behind to allow the others to escape, fending off a large amount of soldiers. To make matters worse, the diamond mine collapses on them.
- The Bus Came Back:
- Wallcroft and Griffen, Soaps teammates from the Cargo Ship mission in the first game, return as Marcus Burns SAS teammates.
- The Russian Loyalists make a return since the first game as well, having fled after the Ultranationalists won the war.
- Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Averted. France is merely one of the many European countries the US comes to the aid to. You fight alongside the GIGN, who prove themselves to be very capable. Also while Delta ultimately take Volk down, the GIGN were the ones who found him. France is also one of the countries NATO manages to hold onto; Germany, meanwhile, is clearly falling. GIGN troops are also a support option in Survival, and are extremely durable and more than able to hold their own against anything short of a Juggernaut.
- Climactic Elevator Ride: Halfway through the last level, Price and Yuri ride an elevator to the final battle with Makarov and his goons.
- Continuity Nod:
- In the intro cutscene to "Black Tuesday", when Overlord requests for Special Mission Units near New York to take out the Russian jammer, a unit of Marines and a unit of Rangers can be seen for a quick moment just before we are introduced to the Delta Force unit Metal. The Marines and the Rangers are respectively, the main U.S. Military Force featured in Modern Warfare 1 and Modern Warfare 2. They even reuse the icons used in Modern Warfare 1 and Modern Warfare 2.
- Price's conversation with Baseplate in Modern Warfare 3 is a callback all the way to the first mission (chronologically) in the entire Modern Warfare franchise, 'All Ghillied Up/One Shot, One Kill', as it was revealed that Baseplate is Captain MacMillan from Modern Warfare 1:Price: It was Makarov. The bastard slipped through my fingers in Sierra Leone. What does MI-6 know?
Baseplate: (sighs) You're on everyone's shit-list, John. There's no way I could get you clearance.
Price: Don't give me that! You still owe me for Pripyat. I'm calling it in.
- Soap's field journal in the Modern Warfare 3 Hardened Edition reveals Price's race horse is called MacGregor.
- From the same journal as above: "What the hell kind of name is Ghost?", echoing Price's quote from the training mission of Call of Duty 4: "What the hell kind of name is Soap?"
- The family briefly seen in England is named Davis, the same as Call of Duty 2's British Player Character.
- In the first SAS mission in Modern Warfare 3, you have two invulnerable NPCs with you: Wallcroft and Griffin. If these two names have an inkling of familiarity to them, they were part of the assault team in the first SAS mission in Call of Duty 4, and they were also generic names for British soldiers in Call of Duty 2.
- After Makarov orders the nuclear bombing of Al-Asad's capital in a flashback, Yuri comments "This wasn't war, this was madness." which is a virtual callback to Chernov's line "This is not war. This is murder!" in World at War.
- The end of "Down the Rabbit Hole" in Modern Warfare 3 is one to Find Makarov: Operation Kingfish. In Kingfish, an injured Soap is dragged to the chopper, as Price stays behind to cover them. Price insists the chopper leaves, despite Sandman demanding it wait for him. In "Down the Rabbit Hole" an injured Yuri is dragged into the chopper as Sandman, and the rest of Team Metal, cover them. Price insists they wait for Sandman, but he tells them to leave. Price survived, but Sandman presumably doesn't.
- Another one that ties in the Four Horseman; Al-Asad and Zakhaev both used Desert Eagles to shoot player characters and teammates. At the end of Modern Warfare 3, Makarov gets a hold of one and immediately points it at Price, who is then the Player character, then kills Yuri with it when he pops back up.
- When the team first rescues Price, the first thing Soap does is hand him back the pistol he used to kill Zakhaev at the end of the first game. And in Modern Warfare 3, Price places it upon Soap's body in tribute after he dies.
- A Day in the Limelight: We get a mission with an SAS team in England. And who's in charge of the team? None other than Wallcroft and Griffen, the two operatives that appeared very briefly in the first game during "Crew Expendable".
- Deadly Road Trip: The Davis family's vacation to London, which ends with the family getting killed in Makarov's gas attack of Europe.
- Death of a Child: We see a little girl on vacation with her family get killed by a truck bomb full of poison gas.
- Didn't See That Coming: Played straight and averted at the same time in the 3rd game when Yuri got punched down a staircase by Price. Yuri obviously did not expect Price to punch him or else it would not have worked so simply. The player, however, probably saw it coming from a mile away, not just because Soap planted the seeds of doubt about Yuri within Price moments earlier but because betrayal isn't exactly unheard of in a Call of Duty game.
- 11th-Hour Superpower: The last level puts the player in Juggernaut armor, not seen anywhere else in singleplayer, and then allows you to rampage with it by marching directly into the teeth of multiple waves of enemies, backed up by RPG teams, without any cover to hide behind... and without needing any. Then you're stripped of your armor by an attack helicopter and have to proceed normally for the rest of the level.
- Exact Words: After (what remains of) Task Force 141 corners Waraabe, Price tosses a canister of toxic gas that he deals with and promises a gas mask in exchange for information on Makarov's bomb-maker. He spills and Price fulfills his end of the bargain...he just forgot to mention the bullet to the face that came with it.
- Godzilla Threshold: The stakes of Makarov getting the nuclear launch codes are so high that even Overlord is willing to allow the disavowed Task Force 141 to join an official U.S. military operation to rescue the Russian president, even giving them control of some of their assets.
- Gravity Screw: On the Russian plane in Modern Warfare 3, the pilot loses control for a moment during which everyone inside gets weightless. In the middle of a firefight.
- Immediate Sequel: The Task Force 141 segment of Modern Warfare 3 starts with Soap still critically injured and being rushed for emergency treatment following the skirmish with Shepherd.
- Just Plane Wrong: The intro to the second mission has dialogue by F-22 pilots preparing an attack run, only for the cinematic to clearly show F-15 Eagles. Additionally, their drop tanks are mislabeled as bombs, and they are also shown as firing "JDAM Missiles" at the target - even ignoring that such a thing does not exist (as a JDAM is a conversion kit for unguided bombs), what's actually fired is an AIM-120 AMRAAM, a dedicated air-to-air weapon.
- Punched Across the Room: In Modern Warfare 3, Yuri opens a door to a basement and gets punched down a flight of stairs by Price.
- Red Herring: In the cutscene preceding the 'Turbulence' level in Modern Warfare 3, Harkov's name is labelled 'inside man', implying that as the Russian President's bodyguard, he's actually working for Makarov. Nothing comes of this, however, as Makarov murders Harkov just like the other bodyguards at the end of that level.
- Redemption Equals Death: Yuri defected from the Inner Circle when it became apparent just how insane they were. He spends the game trying to kill Makarov, and ultimately dies preventing Makarov from killing Price, giving Price to opportunity to finally kill him.
- Shot to the Heart: At one point, you need to press X to do this to Soap.
- String Theory: Price has one to try to track Makarov and down. It later also becomes a Shrine to the Fallen.
- Technology Porn: The game showcases some of the U.S. Military's latest toys, including an F-22 dropping JDAM GPS-guided bombs (they only got this ability later in their production life) in a cutscene and V-22 Ospreys, used in a mission to rescue the Vice President.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The Eiffel Tower collapses as a result of collateral damage during a battle in Paris. Nobody present says or does anything in response to this. The destruction of one of the most iconic landmarks in Europe—if not the entire world—isn't even brought up in news reports.
- Weaponized Animal: In Survival Mode, on harder maps, attack dogs may have C4 strapped to them.