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Call of Duty • Jun 12, 2019

Call of Duty dev reveals how bullet drop will work in Modern Warfare

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Call of Duty dev reveals how bullet drop will work in Modern Warfare
Call of Duty

Infinity Ward art director Joel Emslie discussed key changes to game mechanics in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare at E3 on June 11, namely their new approach to weapon ballistics.

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The original Modern Warfare trilogy is among the most iconic game franchises in history, which puts a lot of pressure on Infinity Ward to get the next game right - but that doesn't mean they're not taking any risks.

Emslie, who previously worked on the first two Modern Warfare games before leaving to join Respawn Entertainment, explained how gunplay mechanics have changed now he's back working on the franchise.

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Infinity Ward
2019's Call of Duty will be a "reimagining" of the Modern Warfare franchise.

Past CoD games have all used a system called 'hit-scan' for bullet registration. Put simply, this means that the moment the weapon is fired, the bullet lands on its target instantly, with no 'travel-time' whatsoever.

This is crucial, particularly for multiplayer modes, where more realistic weapon and caliber characteristics are not conducive to competitive gameplay, where balance and consistency is king.

However, at least for campaign, the new game will incorporate bullet trajectory into the gameplay. Emslie reveals: "If you're firing a DMR or sniper rifle, you have to really take into account bullet drop, and in one case, maybe a little bit of windage."

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This isn't the first time bullet drop has been incorporated into Call of Duty though; it is prominent in Blackout, Black Ops 4's battle royale mode, and played a major role in one legendary mission from the original Modern Warfare.

In the classic 'All Ghillied Up', which is regarded as one of the finest FPS missions ever made, a young Captain Price is instructed to account for bullet drop and wind speed/direction, before taking (and missing) the crucial shot at Imran Zakhaev, the game's chief antagonist.

Infinity Ward
CoD 4 had the first use of bullet drop and wind (and even the curvature of the earth) when lining up a shot.

Emslie's explanation may give some fans of the series cause for concern, worried that it could be transposed to the multiplayer portion of the game.

The developers have made it abundantly clear that what applies in one mode, will apply in all. Narrative director Taylor Kurosaki explained: "Whether you’re playing in co-op or multiplayer or single-player, you’re playing in the same world, the rules are all the same."

Whether this means that bullet drop, penetration, and even windage will also be considerations in multiplayer is unknown, but if so, players may be in for a bigger surprise than expected come October 25 when the game releases. 

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Infinity Ward, Modern Warfare