Modern Warfare 2’s campaign is full of interesting mechanics, and experimental missions, all presented using cutting-edge visuals, unappareled acoustics, and weapon animations that really do butter my biscuit.
Its narrative, on the other hand, ignores much of the events of the 2019 reboot, and focuses instead on a new character, while reimagining an intriguing dynamic between Ghost, and Soap.
Although a few of the Modern Warfare 2 campaign missions do call back to the original game - as well as other classic moments from the series’ long history - those of us who played the original Modern Warfare 2 were expecting the return of one particular moment.
CAMPAIGN SPOILERS TO FOLLOW.
We’re talking, of course, about No Russian, the controversial mission from the original Modern Warfare 2. The mission cast you as an American soldier working undercover as a member of a Russian terrorist’s squad. The group, lead by Makarov, infiltrated an airport in Russia and shot up the place.
Although you were never asked to, or rewarded for, shooting civilians, you accompanied a band of scumbags as they massacred innocents in one of Call of Duty’s most uncomfortable missions. The point of No Russian, of course, was for Makarov to incite war between the two countries by leaving the dead body of an American soldier at the scene, linking the attack to the US.
No Russian kicked off what ended up becoming a staple in Call of Duty: a content warning that precedes the start of the campaign, even if most other Call of Duty campaigns never actually featured anything close to the brutality of No Russian.
So, is there a No Russian equivalent in the new Modern Warfare 2? The answer is no, but Infinity Ward has not necessarily moved past it. After the end of the game’s credits, there’s a stinger where we see a terrorist assembling a pistol aboard an airliner.
The person shown receives a text from someone referred to as M. The text reads: “No Russian,” before the character – whom we don’t see their face – stands up to presumably commit the act.
M is most definitely Makarov in this instance, as he’s referred to by name in the game’s ending cutscene as the next target for Task Force 141 to go after. Makarov is, of course, the villain of the original trilogy, but he’s been mostly absent from the reboots.
If Makarov is indeed the focus of the next story arc, we’re likely going to see more of him in Modern Warfare 3, or possibly the reported campaign DLC coming in 2023, in place of a full-price Call of Duty title.
Which begs the question: are we actually getting a redo of No Russian? The terrorist on the plane sounds like either Captain Price or Ghost, so it wouldn’t make a lot of sense for them to be working with Makarov, unless the whole thing is a setup and the roles have been reversed somewhat.
It’s hard to say, but I doubt Infinity Ward would be interested in a No Russian 2.0 where the heinous terrorist attack takes place aboard a commercial airliner rather than at an airport. The nod to it is, however, a little concerning.
We may just be overthinking this, of course, and the post-credits scene may be little more than a cheeky callback, but that also doesn’t line up with what we’ve seen from the studio in the past.
Warzone 2.0 could be one potential avenue for this to play out. The story of the battle royale mode, which arrives only a couple of weeks after launch, is a follow-up to the events of the campaign. The new No Russian may simply be the inciting incident that kicks off the mode’s story.
Considering how the events of the original Warzone lead to the start of Modern Warfare 2 (in certain ways), this is a realistic possibility. And let’s not forget about Special Ops, which Infinity Ward officially confirmed will pick up where the campaign left off, so that could be one way to lead into it.
Whatever it ends up being, however, it’s unlikely to be a repeat of the No Russian we know. Just look at the Modern Warfare 2 campaign, where so many of its missions start in a way that suggests they’ll play out as a remake, only to take a turn and introduce something new.