Call of Duty: Modern Warfare had its multiplayer reveal this week, and perhaps the biggest talking point was the lack of a mini-map.
Infinity Ward's decision to ditch the mini-map for Modern Warfare marks a significant change for the series. In its place is a Skyrim-style compass set at the top of the screen.
I played a handful of hours of competitive multiplayer at Activision's preview event in Los Angeles this week, and initially found it hard to adjust to the lack of a mini-map.
My muscle memory had trained me to glance at the mini-map every few seconds to get a jump on my enemies. And while the compass does flag enemies, it does not offer the same level of awareness.
Now the dust has settled on the multiplayer reveal, Call of Duty fans are debating the lack of a mini-map in Modern Warfare - and it's sparked a vociferous debate. Most are lamenting the loss of the mini-map, saying they're concerned it'll encourage things like campers and slower, more cautious play. Others supporting the move say it'll encourage map awareness and increase the skill ceiling of the competitive multiplayer experience.
As I wrote in my Call of Duty: Modern Warfare preview, the decision to ditch the mini-map is in keeping with Infinity Ward's philosophy of creating a more strategic shooter compared to previous games in the series. There are more tactical options, such as a door breach system, a focus on map exploration as opposed to standard three-lane maps, and night vision modes that strip away the HUD. There are also modes featuring a lot more players than the standard 6v6, with 10v10, 20v20 and a ground war mode for 100 players all planned for launch.
Since the reaction to the lack of a mini-map, Activision has clarified Modern Warfare will display an outline around your teammates when they're obstructed by walls and geometry, although this feature wasn't in the build available to play at the event. And it's worth pointing out players are able to access a mini-map via killstreaks such as the personal UAV.
"We owe it to Infinity Ward to try out the beta with no mini-map and give it a chance," wrote 22Hz on the Modern Warfare subreddit in a post that's been upvoted 1200 times.
"Once we start to learn the maps, and with teammate outlines, I feel like the absence of a mini-map won't matter nearly as much as we think it will. We all should definitely try it with an open mind and see how it honestly feels after the first week of the beta."
It'll be interesting to see whether Infinity Ward makes any adjustments to the game based on feedback to the upcoming beta, or sticks to its guns. For me, the lack of a mini-map is a refreshing change for the series - and that's very much a good thing.