Call of Duty Modern Warfare (2019)

From your everyday casual gamer to those who play for a living, the Call of Duty franchise is one of the most well-known and influential first-person shooters of the 21st century. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) is no exception to this. Developers Infinity Ward and Treyarch gloriously encapsulated the grittiness of war, while intertwining it with a story that questions the very idea of morality. The campaign is a perfect example of how surreal a video game’s digital space can be. By using a new cutting-edge game engine, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s campaign is arguably the most realistic and in-depth first-person shooter currently available on the market today.

The atmosphere of suspense holds throughout the entire game starting with the first mission.  You and your team are dropped into a forest via helicopter.  Talking is kept to a minimum as you trek through the dark forest.  The faint sound of crickets can be heard over the muffled steps of your feet as you make your way towards the objective.  Moonlight peers through the trees and the canopy above, creating the only barrier between you and complete darkness.  The environmental design choice by the developers here invokes a sense of eeriness.  The player is drawn in by the unknown, while the darkness almost seems to hold information that they do not know.  Everything is in this scene is quiet and still, yet almost to a point of discomfort.  There are no vivid or vibrant colors, shrouding the player in a sense of stealth and secrecy.


After walking through the woods in silence, the player comes to a hill where he is greeted by a gargantuan compound filled with bright lights and enemies. The environmental design is striking, as it almost completely negates the player’s original setting of the quiet and dark forest. The first signs of artificial light are seen, and the reality of the situation starts to set in. Yet the player remains undetected, only able to view the massive structure from a distance. However, that immediately changes once the player is able to call in a drone strike via a thermal marking camera. The screen is soon lit up with massive explosions, lighting up the sky with bright flashes of light. The environmental design in this scene captures the essence of destruction and carnage beautifully. The stark contrast between the blinding explosions in comparison the black backdrop of the night forest is an extremely tasteful use of color contrast and imaging techniques.



Once the drone strike is completed, the player must climb down the overlooking hill and run towards the destruction. The once quiet compound is now filled with flames, gunfire, and shouts. As the player shoots his way through enemies, the dark reality of what the drone strike has done can be seen. The environmental design does a great job of representing the truth behind war and its gruesome consequences. Charred bodies invoking the idea of suffering and death are littered on the ground, as almost everything in sight is engulfed by fire. The bright flames contrast heavily against the dark night, creating the only visible source of light aside from a few scattered light bulbs. Skeletons of trucks and jeeps can be seen smoldering in grey smoke giving off emotions of dread and emptiness.

As the player draws very close toward the all-important objective, they are greeted by a locked garage door with a bright red button placed beside it. Your character hastily puts on a gasmask, obscuring part of the screen which greatly adds to the realism factor of the game. The player proceeds to raise his firearm towards the door as it is slowly opened. The feeling of suspense grows quickly as the unknown is about to be revealed. Once inside of the garage, a quick search reveals no immediate threat within the vicinity, and the player is free to inspect the area around him. The player is then given the option to open a closed truck bed, and once opened, the reasoning behind the mission becomes quite clear. An enormous amount of poison gas canisters are shown and it is revealed that these are biochemical weapons that were going to be used for terrorist attacks across the United Kingdom. The environmental design of this scene plays a big part in the scene’s overall attitude. The canister towards the top right is marked with an unmistakable skull and bones giving off a sense of death. The canisters appear to have some sort of residue which provides a feeling of immediate danger or uncertainty.


Although Call of Duty Modern Warfare may just be a video game, it is a poster child example of how space and environmental design can have such a tremendous impact on the gaming world. From its smart use of colors to its realistic imagery and small details, Call of Duty Modern Warfare is an important example of what a gaming studio should strive to create. Its intricate flow and inner workings create a cinematic masterpiece that will be extremely difficult to replicate for upcoming installments in the franchise.