Opinion – Can Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Really Win Game of the Year?

Published 10/21/2023, 2:25 PM EDT

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It’s another year for Call of Duty fans, just like every year, to witness a brand new installment’s release. This time, it will be Modern Warfare 3 from Activision. It’s mainly developed by Sledgehammer’s team. However, similar to previous titles, it may also end up failing to be even considered for the race of Game of the Year. Not because it will be a bad game, but because of a key reason that simply prevents it from being more than ‘just a best-seller’.

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If any COD fan is wondering why no game in the series has won the prestigious crown at The Game Awards so far, there’s a big reason why it’s been the situation. Modern Warfare 3 may also end up being just another popular FPS title in 2023 – but it won’t likely emerge as the GOTY contender.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is ‘not a complete’ single-player title

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Unlike critics’ top favorites like Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Baldur’s Gate 3, and the recently launched Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, Activision’s upcoming FPS premium won’t be a true single-player title. It’s been something that has remained constant with every year’s winner at The Game Awards. One can simply take out the list from all nine editions. 95 percent of the GOTY award winners have been single-player RPGs. To have a better clarity, here’s the full list from 2014 to 2022:

Game of the Year winners:

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  • Dragon Age: Inquisition – 2014
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – 2015
  • Overwatch – 2016
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – 2017
  • God of War – 2018
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice – 2019
  • The Last of Us Part II – 2020
  • It Takes Two – 2021
  • Elden Ring – 2022

Except for Overwatch (a Multiplayer first-person shooter from Blizzard), the rest of the eight GOTY titles fall under the singe-player category. Basically, they all focus more on storytelling, characters, and a lengthy gameplay to provide a wholesome experience of witnessing a specific narrative stretching out from start to finish.

Yes, Call of Duty has got its Campaign-based installments but most of them fail to hit the criteria of a dedicated ‘single-player-only’ title. How can you compare something taking only eight or nine hours to roll the credits with titles featuring content worth 30 or 50 hours? That’s the simple difference. Plus, Campaign is just a part of COD games since they have to fulfill the Multiplayer aspect as well. Which, in turn, leaves them with no chance to be considered for the final list of nominees fighting it out for the ultimate award. This is the case with Modern Warfare 3 too.

There’s no originality in Modern Warfare 3 to win Game of the Year award

Previous Call of Duty titles, in the past, have been nominated in the final list for the top crown. However, they haven’t succeeded in winning due to lacking the factor of originality. It’s because award-winning contenders are also judged on the basis of how much unique and original their content is. In this case, the RPGs that generally end up gaining great receptions feature a certain plot, storyline, and overall presentation that gives something different. But is it the case with COD as well?

Every year, gamers witness the release of a new shooter installment from Activision. The format remains the same and the content mostly remains unchanged. In some cases, the single-player Campaigns also end up being no different. The upcoming title in Modern Warfare 3 can be considered as a perfect example. It will be a direct continuation of 2022’s Modern Warfare II. The events will follow the same characters, although with a somewhat improvised plot. In its entirety, though, it won’t be a unique experience. In short, it’s extremely difficult to make a sequel feel unique and original, right? For a franchise like CoD, it surely is.

On the other hand, 2023’s potential GOTY candidates like Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, Baldur’s Gate 3, and Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom have a USP of their own when it comes to what they offer to the players.

The verdict?

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It seems unlikely for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 to actually win Game of the Year title this December. Yes, it may end up clinching the awards in Multiplayer or Best Action categories, but not the ultimate crown itself. Maybe it’s time for Activision to focus more on creating something new in the long-running FPS series. Bringing installments in the ‘same franchises’ is good to generate revenue, but it won’t be enough to win GOTY.

The publisher should invest in expanding the fan-favorite IP in a new direction, featuring titles with an extensive single-player content, originality, and a much longer Campaign to the say the least. The latter is something that really needs to be introduced in the near future – sooner than later.

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Until then, fans will have to wait. But they can surely hope for Modern Warfare 3 to be a good shooter at least, given the fact that its predecessor wasn’t up to the mark. Probably that’s the one thing that will make all the COD players deeply satisfied, more than anything else.

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Written by:

Mintu Tomar

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Mintu Tomar is a senior eSports writer at EssentiallySports, whose passion for video games is unmatched. Having written well over 2000 articles, Mintu is a die-hard fan of Call of Duty. A journalism postgraduate, his extensive knowledge of the industry and insightful commentary have earned him the respect of many prominent figures, including actors, and podcast hosts.
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Edited by:

Rohan Karnad

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