Modern Warfare 2 takes players to the snow-capped peaks of Russian mountains, across the deserts of Afghanistan and into the streets of Rio de Janeiro, and introduces a new co-operative Special Forces mode to back up the single-player campaign.
That's all according to a 10-page cover feature in the latest issue of US magazine Game Informer, which says little about the game's online elements but details plans for various missions in the story mode.
"The gameplay is wide open and has a lot of variety," Infinity Ward president Jason West told Game Informer. "In terms of the story... well, any good story is on rails." The game is set against the backdrop of continuing Russian instability, with a new baddy, Makarov, using Zakhaev's demise as justification for naughtiness.
Players will have to deal with the realities of flawed intelligence, however, and missions will evolve as a result. In one example, the player and a computer-controlled version of "Soap" MacTavish assault a mountain base in a blizzard with the intention of blowing it up, but then the player spies a satellite in a building and has to nick some information about it before escaping.
Rigging explosives involves creeping through the blizzard, which dramatically reduces visibility, and using a mixture of a heartbeat sensor and MacTavish's thermal vision to either evade or neutralise guards. Once the jig is inevitably up, there's an escape on snowmobiles.
Other missions include hunting down an arms dealer in Rio, which evolves into a running gunfight with militia among fleeing civilians, and traipsing across rope bridges through hidden valleys in the vast open of Afghanistan, which is all rendered at the game's requisite 60 frames-per-second. Then it's back to Russia, apparently, to try and disable AA guns interfering with UAV Predator targeting.
Special Forces mode, meanwhile, is "in the spirit of Mile High Club", according to West, who told Game Informer that it will use tricky scenarios that didn't make it into the single-player game and thus have no relationship with the difficulty curve.
"[Co-op] made a lot more sense here," West said, explaining that the levels were designed with two players in mind. Co-op tweaks include an on-screen arrow pointing to the other player, and a mini-map highlighting your relative locations.
There's no word on competitive online multiplayer, or whether Special Forces is playable over the internet, but West did tell Game Informer that the studio likes "making people famous", and that it hopes to convince Microsoft and Sony to let it tweak variables like spawn logic without issuing a full patch.
Finally, West addressed a couple of criticisms of COD4, saying the team is "actively trying to eliminate" the issue of endlessly respawning enemies, which was based on the way scripting responded to your movement through the level. He also said he was "very happy with Modern Warfare 1 and the length of it".
Check out the full preview in the latest issue of Game Informer, and presumably look out for more previews soon, or go back over the two currently available videos for kicks.
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