Modern Warfare 3’s latest trailer includes snippets of in-game footage that have set tongues wagging within the Call of Duty community.
While it’s clear from the trailer (below) that Modern Warfare 3 will see Captain Price and company attempt to take down franchise antagonist Vladimir Makarov once and for all, fans are speculating about the missions and settings the campaign may include.
The headline here is a potential fresh take on No Russian, one of the most controversial video game levels of all time. The original No Russian is a mission in 2009’s Modern Warfare 2 in which the player participates in a mass shooting at a Russian airport. While the player is not forced to shoot any civilians, and can even skip the level, No Russian was a graphic depiction of civilian death at the hands of terrorists that caught the attention of press and politicians across the world.
Fast forward 14 years and Call of Duty fans think we’re in for a fresh take on No Russian. Modern Warfare 3’s Makarov trailer includes a brief clip showing panicked civilians in what looks like the Verdansk Stadium. There’s a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ shot of the badge of fictional football team Verdansk Sparks, confirming the original Warzone and Modern Warfare 2019 setting returns.
Given Verdansk was nuked (supposedly destroyed for good, if you believe the developers) in 2021, fans speculate what we’re actually looking at here is a flashback mission that reveals Makarov orchestrated the invasion of Verdansk all along. According to this theory, the player will get a first-person look at this invasion in a new take on No Russian.
The Invasion of Verdansk, dated March 3, 2020, acted as a prelude to the war against Al-Qatala. The conflict includes the Siege of Verdansk Stadium, in which Al-Qatala attack, causing panic among a crowd of football fans who were on their way to a game. Al-Qatala troops end up killing hundreds of civilians, eventually taking control of the stadium. The theory is Modern Warfare 3 includes a flashback mission that makes this siege playable, a No Russian-esque mission that sets up Makarov as the game’s big bad.
This is 100% Verdansk people.
— StickySnipes (@StickySnipes) August 9, 2023
Taking this theory a step further, redditor Equinox_106 suggested the live action portion of the Makarov trailer, which shows the terrorist in a prison of some sort, is actually showing us Makarov in the Verdansk Gulag, waiting to be freed during the invasion.
Countering this, however, is the suggestion Modern Warfare 3’s take on the original No Russian is instead a level set on an airplane. In a post-credits scene from 2022’s Modern Warfare 2 campaign, Makarov sends a terrorist cell to hijack a Russian airliner with civilians onboard. Makarov orders them “No Russian” via a text message just before they start the attack. Perhaps Modern Warfare 3 thrusts the player right into the chaos on the plane.
Of course, all we have is speculation for now. But the marketers at Activision know exactly what they’re doing: teasing the Call of Duty fanbase with nostalgia-fuelled nods to 2009’s much-loved Modern Warfare 2 and the original Warzone experience.
We’ll find out more on August 17, when a Modern Warfare 3 event is set to take place within Warzone. The game itself comes out November 10.
Wesley is the UK News Editor for IGN. Find him on Twitter at @wyp100. You can reach Wesley at email@example.com or confidentially at firstname.lastname@example.org.