Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Dev Explains How Open Combat Missions Actually Work

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 has new Open Combat Missions that Activision says offer players greater freedom than any Call of Duty has before. But exactly how do they work?

In an interview with Xbox, David Swenson, campaign creative director at lead developer Sledgehammer Games, said these Open Combat Missions, or OCMs, add an “incredible” level of choice to the player.

OCMs offer the player a raft of choices for mission completion. You can, for example, go for a stealthy approach and use night-vision goggles and suppressed weapons to complete the mission without alerting enemies to your presence. If you want to go all guns blazing, you can use extra armour plates and wade in.

It’s worth pointing out you won’t be given an OCM that’s a dedicated stealth op, with silenced weapons to choose from. Rather, if you want to take the mission on stealthily, you can do that by only using a knife and playing the OCM as a stealth mission. Conversely, for an all-guns blazing approach, you can use one of the vehicles available in the mission for an assault. According to Swenson, OCMs can be challenging and “often” lead to multiple attempts to work out a satisfying tactic.

Some of the OCMs contain what are called Armaments, Modern Warfare 3’s campaign name for Call of Duty’s famous killstreaks. If you search your surroundings and find an Armament, you’ll get a tactical item, for example calling in air support. We’re not sure if this means Call of Duty’s classic UAV or AC-130 Gunship, but we do know Armaments are in the single-player campaign.

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Helpfully, you don’t need to actually kill any enemies to earn an Armament in an OCM, which means stealthy players can carry on being stealthy and still get one.

“If you want to sneak through the entire level, you can,” Swenson said. “There are also vehicles, cleverly hidden loot boxes, and weapon crates on these Open Combat Missions, some of which contain killstreaks which we are calling Armaments since you don’t need to streak any kills to earn them.”

The Call of Duty games are known for their cinematic, linear missions, and Modern Warfare 3 has these, with OCMs designed to “complement” the traditional campaign experience. It remains to be seen if these OCMs offer a truly sandbox experience, but it sounds like Modern Warfare 3 may get as close as any Call of Duty has so far.

Elsewhere, Modern Warfare 3 includes a Zombies mode set in an “all-new open world” in which players can team up to fight the Zombie hordes in the “largest Call of Duty zombies maps ever”. This is the first Modern Warfare game to include a Zombies mode.

On the multiplayer side, Modern Warfare 3 includes all 16 launch maps from the original Modern Warfare 2, and will see 12 new 6v6 maps come out post-launch. Activision will host an open beta across PlayStation, Xbox, and PC, with dates still to be announced (PlayStation owners get first access). Those who pre-order gain access to the campaign up to a week before release.

Modern Warfare 3 launches on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X and S on November 10.

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Wesley is the UK News Editor for IGN. Find him on Twitter at @wyp100. You can reach Wesley at [email protected] or confidentially at [email protected].

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