Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Won't Be Going Too Crazy With Colorful Cosmetics, Say Devs

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Won't Be Going Too Crazy With Colorful Cosmetics, Say Devs

Don't expect neon colored gun skins in this Call of Duty.

Beneath the military exterior of Call of Duty, it tends to shed its demeanor in its cosmetics. Just last year I paid $2 to customize my guns in Black Ops 4 with a cherry blossom skin. I felt it was a low point for me in terms of impulse buys, but it's something that a lot of Call of Duty players seem to do, as much as they also want the shooter to stick to its camouflaged roots. (Only my guess is most don't see a pastel pink skin and think, 'gimme!' like me.)

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is looking to be the exception to the rule. How character and gun cosmetic customization ends up looking has been a big point of discussion in the grander Call of Duty community as of late. At a Modern Warfare multiplayer event this week, I asked multiplayer design director Geoffrey Smith and animation director Mark Grigsby if any such colorful cosmetics would be making their way into Modern Warfare's otherwise more grounded style.

While not particularly a muted color palette, it won't be colorful and crazy either. | Infinity Ward/Activision

"I don't think that's possible with Joel [Emslie, the art director]. He has a very, very specific taste," Smith says as the two developers laugh. "And I think that all of us really want to make sure that everything kind of stays in the vein of what we're making. As soon as you start adding those out into the environment, it starts kind of getting away from it."

Still, they're apprehensive to say there's zero chance of some flair coming to Modern Warfare—"I'm sure there's some wiggle room there," says Grigsby—it just might be more toned down in its cosmetic offerings than other recent Call of Duty games.

"In general, I think that when you start really saturating those colors, it starts breaking away from our aesthetic," says Smith. "Where we can still keep different bright colors, it's just we've gotta knock down the saturation to kind of sit within the scene. I mean, we work really hard to make everything kind of fit within the world; environment stuff to all these things and everything is balanced and light adjusted so any of the additional content that we put out should fit in that world."

The character models themselves are split between two factions: Coalition and Allegiance. Within each faction are different subfactions (inspired by "the entire world of badass groups") and unique characters where you can pick and choose your go-to soldier. In one, for example, you could play as a man with a cool poncho and aviator glasses; another looked like a dude I would avoid at all costs just on account of his preferred style of sunglasses. The two factions are described by Smith as being a throwback to the roots of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

"We really had these strong distinct sides back in the day, from Favela gang to Rangers, and we wanted to keep that aesthetic," says Smith. "A lot of the recent games have been more like, I guess you could say like PMC [Private Military Company], where everybody's just kind of their own person and they're all mixed ranks."

While Infinity Ward and Activision aren't discussing how microtransactions will work yet, Modern Warfare will not include a season pass, meaning all the maps added post-launch will be at no additional cost. It's introducing input-based crossplay too, so you can gather all your gamepad-playing friends on PC with your console pals. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is set to release on October 25 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Caty McCarthy

Senior Editor

Caty McCarthy is a former freelance writer whose work has appeared in Kill Screen, VICE, The AV Club, Kotaku, Polygon, and IGN. When she's not blathering into a podcast mic, reading a book, or playing a billion video games at once, she's probably watching Terrace House or something. She is currently USgamer's Senior Editor.

In other news

Disintegration Will Gradually Shutter Its Multiplayer, Starting Today

The bikes are setting back down on the ground.

Medal of Honor's VR Comeback Is Slated for a December Launch

Respawn's reboot is coming to Oculus headsets, as well as SteamVR.

Left 4 Dead 2 Is Getting a Massive Fan-Made and Valve-Approved Update

The Last Stand Update adds a new campaign and a whole lot more.

Quake's Soundtrack Just Got a Vinyl Remaster

Nine Inch Nails' classic tracks have been remastered for vinyl.

Need help?

Call of Duty Modern Warfare Weapons Tier List

Here's our guide compiling the Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2019 weapons list, including all weapon unlock levels, and more.

Borderlands 3 Shift Codes List (August 2020)

All the info you need on getting and redeeming SHiFT Codes in Borderlands 3, plus how to get Golden Keys to earn loot.

Destiny 2 Xenophage Quest - How to Get the New Xenophage Machine Gun

This is how to complete the Destiny 2 Xenophage quest, including all puzzles, and more.

Apex Legends Wattson - Abilities, Skins, How to Win With Wattson Apex Legends

This is our guide to Wattson in Apex Legends, featuring all her legendary skins, new abilities, tips, and more.