It turns out Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 mentioned the bombing of Piccadilly Circus
Back to the future.
One of the more controversial missions in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare sees the player respond to a terrorist attack on Piccadilly Circus. But it turns this is quite an old idea - like, Modern Warfare 2 old.
THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD.
An eagle-eyed Call of Duty player took to the Modern Warfare subreddit to post a screenshot of 2009's Modern Warfare 2 showing a newspaper clipping found in Makarov's safehouse. The appropriately-named redditor NuclearFPS pointed out one newspaper in particular carries new meaning in the context of the recently-released Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, as it reports on a bombing in Piccadilly Circus.
Piccadilly campaign mission shown in MW2 from r/modernwarfare
The report, continued on another page from the newspaper nearby, reads:
"The explosion at Piccadilly Circus was heard for miles in every direction. Ryan Lastimosa, a tourist from the US, was watching the Changing of the Guard less than a mile away at Buckingham Palace when he heard a 'loud boom'. 'The ground shook so hard that we were practically thrown to the ground.' 59 injuries from falling debris alone were reported in the vicinity of the palace. Royal Marines stationed around the area responded in conjunction with local police, but no suspects were apprehended. The death toll continues to rise, as emergency workers dig through the rubble with the current count at 407.
"'The quantity of explosives was substantial but conventional in nature,' said a spokesperson for Interpol. 'The question is one of logistics - we are working on that at the moment. The transport of such a large quantity would have been prohibitive in that area.'
"Some have speculated that Makarov used a modified subway car in London's Underground packed with explosives, set to detonate on arrival at the heavily trafficked station in the heart of London."
Now, while NuclearFPS suggests this newspaper clipping is, essentially, Modern Warfare's Piccadilly Circus mission in Modern Warfare 2, and therefore a quite astonishing decade-long foreshadowing of 2019's Modern Warfare soft reboot, it's not quite the case. For a start, the clipping describes an attack different to the one in last year's shooter, whose explosion came from a van driving in the street, not a tube carriage. And the clipping talks about Vladimir Makarov's "revenge". Makarov isn't in 2019's Modern Warfare (as far as we know, anyway).
Here's 2019's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Piccadilly campaign mission:
And it's not like 2019's Modern Warfare Piccadilly Circus terrorist attack is the first Call of Duty to feature a bombing in London. Modern Warfare 3 had a rather disturbing mission set in London that saw women and children murdered by a terrorist bomb near Big Ben. Clearly, bombing London has been something of a running theme in the Modern Warfare games.
Still, it is fun to see old ideas in a new context, and what has been for years a throwaway newspaper clipping most Modern Warfare 2 players will have missed suddenly become interesting.
I do like me a bit of Modern Warfare timeline befuddlement, and this newspaper clip certainly sparks it. Is the new Modern Warfare a prequel as well as a soft reboot? It's ending, which I won't spoil here, certainly ties into the original Modern Warfare games. But then the Modern Warfare reboot is set in 2019, whereas the original was set in 2011. So it can't be a prequel to the old games, can it?
But is it a prequel to a new set of Modern Warfare games?