The debate: Is Modern Warfare 4 a Call Of Duty too far?

Yes – Hollers exhausted gun for hire Dave Meikleham

In the words of a suspiciously Aussie-accented William Wallace, what have we been fighting for? I’m pretty sure it’s not peace. After all, every new COD gets extra-explodey, regardless of how many warmongers I’ve offed in the previous entry. We all remember Modern Warfare 3 saying ‘au revoir’ to the Eiffel Tower, yeah? It’s certainly not change, either. Infinity Ward’s latest tour of duty did nothing to freshen the template. What we should really be battling for is revolution.

Modern Warfare 4

Black Ops 2 recently showed Treyarch is capable of new ideas, and it deserves another crack behind the heavily armoured wheel. But there certainly shouldn’t be another Modern Warfare. Captain Price and co’s WW3-level antics escalated the series to a level of bombast that’s going to be hard to top. And with Infinity Ward no longer quite the team it was, now seems like a good time to hoist the white flag.

COD will obviously continue. Well, unless Activision CEO Bobby Kotick suddenly decides he’s over that whole ‘licence to print enormous wads of cash’ thing. Going forward, though, the series should be less concerned with set-piece spectacle and more beholden to offering more freedom. If future outings can expand the divergent choices hinted at in Black Ops II, the war can yet be won. Just don’t expect me to enlist straight away.

No – Says kill/death ratio-obsessed evolutionist Phil Iwaniuk

A certain demographic wouldn’t even consider Modern Warfare 40 to be a COD too many. Some are just hellbent on answering the Call Of Duty, no matter how many recycled textures they spot. But what do hardened fans really enjoy about the games? If MW4 had just a single-player campaign, prospective buyers might be put off.

Six hours of gameplay for £40 is hardly a salivating prospect. On the other hand, if Treyarch focused on online play and released a multiplayer-only Modern Warfare 4 next autumn, would you buy it? I would, and I don’t even like getting shot at by Dutch teens all that much. I’d buy it because the series’ quintessential elements – the perks, the bittersweet grind of the rank system, the YouTube knife-throw videos – are all born of MMO gaming.

It’s the direction the franchise has been taking for five years, and the next step is a persistent world – a grid of territories for factions to facestab over. It couldn’t be achieved while working on a single-player element, but fans either berate the campaign for being more of the same, or slate multiplayer for balance issues and bugs. Something has to give.

Best of all is the message this hypothetical game would send to the also-rans chasing a slice of COD pie – that risk equals reward, and that we’re really not that enamoured with scripted air strikes and drone levels. Modern Warfare 4, I await you.