Now this is happening. A new countdown for Modern Warfare 3 has appeared online, placing the announcement reveal squarely in the middle of this year's Game Developers Conference. What's more, some suggestive dog tags have been doing the rounds... bearing the name of one Colonel Shepherd. More after the break.
UPDATE: It's a trap!
Activision: "There seems to be a great deal of speculation about the next Call of Duty project. Let me be clear that we are not revealing yet. Anything indicating otherwise is a hoax."
Findmakarov.com is now live and displaying a constantly-ticking timer that's set to reach zero in the middle of GDC 2011. It's a prime time for a reveal- and we'll keep you updated by the wire. Considering that Makarov has survived two titles, he's long overdue for some full metal jacket justice.
That Videogame Blog has also received a set of bloodied dog tags that belong to Colonel Shepherd, a character (and villain) from Modern Warfare 2. As well as pointing us in the direction of the countdown site, these tags also display the phrase "End The War" - which suggests that we could be counting down to the final part of a trilogy rather than a prequel. Only conjecture, mind.
So what do we know about Modern Warfare 3? The newly-restaffed Infinity Ward is set to be behind the third iteration in the controversial series (now that Activision have gotten shot of its chief creatives and caused dozens of key members to quit their positions), and rumours abound that Sledgehammer or even Raven software might be on point to help out.
There have also been a fair few rumours about Ghost making a return. Whilst his status at the end of MW2 was fairly conclusive (and a bit... hot), it's possible that the fan-favourite character might make an appearance in flashbacks or as part of a full prequel to the original Modern Warfare. The tags and "find Makarov" slogan seem to put paid to this idea, however.
What do you expect from Modern Warfare 3? Will Infinity Ward and Activision need to pull out all the stops in order to win back your respect? Sound off in the comments, soldier!