At X'09 Infinity Ward was showing of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 behind closed doors. Although nothing new of the campaign was being shown the demo from E3 was playable and looking better than ever. Refinements have been made to the visuals and the graphics were looking fantastic. One of the developers stated that what they have done in Modern Warfare 2 would have been technically impossible in Call of Duty 4 and the improvements are evident from the size and detail of the environment and models. The technological improvements in MW2 are so great that in order to do the same thing in terms of level design in CoD4, loading times would have been required.
Along with the new texture streaming, MW 2 will be running at 60 fps and 1080p resolution. Also, characters have a new lightning system known as 'hero lightning' which helps them blend in with the environment and look more natural and realistic. From what was shown during the playable game, the models looked fantastic and the visuals are a really big step up from its predecessor.
The improvements in the AI should also be noticeable as how your enemies fight will depend on the scenario. During a mission in Rio de Janeiro you'll be fighting against militants in a map focused on vertical combat. Since these enemies will be inexperienced they won't act like typical military personnel and will have guns jam on them, act 'insane' and show off their unfamiliarity in combat. The sound for MW 2 is also getting the all star treatment as Hans Zimmer, the man behind the soundtracks of Pirates of the Caribbean and The Dark Knight has done all the sound work for the game.
Modern Warfare 2 is set five years after the events of CoD4 and even though Infinity Ward is still being tight lipped about the story, a few things are known. There will be two side to the story, Task Force 141, comprised of international members (including some Canadians) and the US Rangers. These two sides will take on different gameplay styles as Task Force 141 will be centred more on stealth type gameplay and the US Rangers more on squad combat.
One of the members of the development team described working on MW 2 as almost creating 3 separate games. The campaign, multiplayer and Special Ops. Steps have been taken to improve and balance the multiplayer experience in number of ways. You will now have the ability to customize your kill streak to your play style. Also, perks can be upgraded, for example Commando which is a knifing perk can be upgraded to Commando Pro which will increase the range and speed your knife will have. Also, to help balance online play, MW 2 introduces death streaks. If you die a certain number of times in a row you'll be able to use abilities such as Clone, which will allow you to copy the load out of the leading player and use all his or her configurations until the next time you die. Another example is Painkiller which will give you added hp at the start of the round to give you a chance to survive longer and start making a comeback. You can really tell that they put a lot of time and thought into improving the multiplayer experience. Another major change that was noted is that secondary weapons can now be shotguns, launchers (grenade or rocket assumingly), smg's or handguns. When you're using weapons other than handguns though the delay between pulling them out will be longer so if you are pulling out your secondary to use in a last ditch effort to take down an enemy, using a weapon other than a pistol may be a bad idea.
Special Ops was playable during the showing and this is something to get excited about. It was explained that during the development of the game bits and pieces that do not fit into the single player story are normally scrapped altogether. Instead of doing that, these missions were turned into co-operative levels which will pit you and a friend in varying scenarios against groups of enemies. The mission which was shown off took about 5 minutes to beat but it was stated that this was one of the shorter levels and some of the larger co-op maps are up to 5 times as large.
The confusion around whether Modern Warfare 2 was going to be a part of the Call of Duty franchise was apparently more to set Modern Warfare 2 apart and establish it as a true sequel rather than separate it from the Call of Duty series. It is its own game still set within the CoD universe. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is likely be every bit as good, and likely better than CoD 4: Modern Warfare and will be available November 10th 2009.