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Modern Warfare 3 Leaked Images; Real Or Fake?

Felix Kemp
Call of Duty: Black Ops, Features, Modern Warfare 3
Call of Duty: Black Ops

Modern Warfare 3 Leaked Images; Real Or Fake?

Modern Warfare 3 is leaking media at such a rate I have to admit I'm almost worried. It doesn't bode well for the already troubled development that they can't even keep the story under wraps. And now Kotaku - the original progenitors of the leak - have yet more to show us, with key character concept art, multiplayer model and gun renders, and even the first in-game screengrab. But is this legit? Or do we smell a carefully fabricated hoax?

Modern Warfare 3 Leaked Images; Real Or Fake?

Let's start with the first screenshot, shall we? Set in a dark, dank tunnel with knee-high murky water, it appears to be a shot from the campaign where Delta Force attempt to capture Makarov's right hand man, Volk, by infiltrating his stronghold in France through the Parisian sewers. It's definitely Call of Duty, with the art and perspective all in keeping with the series' aesthetic. However, take a look at the shot below.

Modern Warfare 3 Leaked Images; Real Or Fake?

That's from Black Ops. It's the PSG-1 sniper rifle, which also features in this supposed Modern Warfare 3 shot. It's the same weapon, but that's not my point. Look at the model itself? Study it. Between the shot from MW3 and Black Ops, the gun model is identical. It's being held a little further away from the screen in the former, but I'm convinced that's the same model. So either Infinity Ward - and cohorts Sledgehammer and Raven - are importing assets direct from Black Ops code; or we have a very convincing hoax on our hands.

Modern Warfare 3 Leaked Images; Real Or Fake?

However, while I doubt the veracity of that particular screenshot, the rest of Kotaku's leak is very convincing. Above, we have three pieces of concept art featuring characters mention in Modern Warfare 3's plot leak. The Russian President, soon to be kidnapped by Makarov while thousands of foot above the ground in a plane due for America; Yuri, a Russian loyalist who fights alongside Price and Soap; and Volk, Makarov's right hand man hiding out in France.

It's convincing stuff, and having had a read of Infinity Ward's concept art book for Modern Warfare 2, the style and posing of the images is very in keeping with their approach for conceptualizing characters. And to further stoke the flames, Yuri appears to be based on the likeness of Avatar's Stephen Lang, and Volk looks very much like British thesp, Brian Cox. Call of Duty often manages to wrangle top-notch Hollywood voice actors - Black Ops featured fellow Avatar alumni, Sam Worthington, along with Gary Oldman and Ed Harris - so I don't doubt Infinity Ward might be modelling its characters on the voice actors they've wrangled?

Modern Warfare 3 Leaked Images; Real Or Fake?

But wait, there's more. Above, we can see a lineup of ten characters, probably from the multiplayer. I play a lot of Call of Duty - like, too much - so I can tell if these have simply been ripped from any of the past games. But their clothing and aesthetic matches none of the factions randomly distributed in any of the past title's multiplayer. It also gives us a glimpse at some of the weapons that might feature in MW3; the AK-47; its sibling the AK-74u; and the G3.

Modern Warfare 3 Leaked Images; Real Or Fake?

Then we have a shot of what appears to be an unfinished multiplayer map, replete with placeholder textures and very basic lighting. Now before you all cry foul and claim it's just a mod someones stumbled on, take a look at the shot below. It's concept art - very good concept art, at that - and it matches the placeholder map, like for like. It's legit.

Modern Warfare 3 Leaked Images; Real Or Fake?

And even though I originally pitched this article with a big dollop of skepticism, the character concept art, multiplayer maps and the shot above - a render of a new gun, the Magpul, a machine pistol that can fold in on itself - all seems so inherently Call of Duty. I'm seriously at a loss to explain how it could be wrong, other than the supposed screenshot?

Why not help me, Dealspwners? What say you? Real, or fake? [Kotaku]

Add a comment7 comments
john  May. 15, 2011 at 16:47

those characters are without a doubt from MGO (metal gear online)

Jack Harkness  May. 15, 2011 at 21:54

It looks legit to me. The derivation of the weapons follows IW's MO. The MP5 for example looks like one of the more modern versions, and they've changed it up again. It makes sense that they would do this, the MP5K replaced the older version but it's predecessor was loved and they messed with the dynamics of it. COD devs listen to the input of the COD community and take their gripes to heart. Some ideas are sub-par while other are great. Making a loved weapon of the series, once again, more accessible makes sense. The M4 also seems to fit the build, improve upon the design and upon the capabilities of all the weapons.

IW is always looking to one-up themselves, the COD franchise is known for that. While some think it's all copy and paste, it surely isn't. It follows an "innovation through constant reiteration" model. It allows you to change things without entirely messing with a game's dynamics. I'd say that it's a smart model to follow. Each iteration changes the game slightly, enough so that the players get something new, but not so much that the game isn't recognizable to consumer. Confusing the consumer wouldn't be a great idea; from what I've seen in the screenshots the changes are subtle, enough to give something new to the player and not so much as to confuse them. Now, I'm only taking this from a few weapon "screenshots" so I could be totally wrong. However, they're pulling from real life and improving upon the previous model.

I've looked at the screens, at the art and listened to the audio. I'm getting the impression that it's legit. SEAL Team Six is mentioned in the audio; however, we need to remember that they were also mentioned in COD4:MW and that it might not just be because of their recent mention in the news. The SEALs played a larger role in MW2 than they did in COD4, where they were only mentioned passively. It would make sense, since the American factions changed from Marine Force Recon to Army Rangers, that they would throw the SEALs into the mix. We all want to play badass, and who's badder than the U.S. Navy SEALs (Army boys, don't answer that, same goes to the Brits)? They like to say on the SpecOps/SpecWar side of things, they like to introduce new factions and they do their research. Involving ST6 isn't something that I would say I'm surprised about, I called it a while back. I mention this all because the involvement of ST6, in the leaked info, can seem a little off if you think about current events but also fits the build; it sounds more like careful planning and research than it does copy and past of current events to fulfill the needs of a hoax.

Like I said before, I've taken a look at all the stuff. It screams the style of IW, of the MW series. From the artwork and screenshots, to the character models and audio files. Although, we are talking about the internet - and anyone saying, "I saw it on the internet", is going to need a little more proof than that, no matter how convincing it all is. I'll go on and say that I believe what I'm seeing is genuine, you can come to a conclusion yourself. The world is full of poorly planned out hoaxes, this isn't one of those. If it turns out that this is another internet hoax we have bigger problems than it just being one, this would be a hoax like no other. This would be one carefully concocted , built to match the signature of a game that we keep close eyes on for any bit of legitimate information. Good journalism is based on solid information where the journalist makes observations based on patterns of information that followed before. If those patterns can easily be copied in a manner that fools even the best of journalist sites, we definitely have a problem. It goes further than just being a hoax, it goes towards destroying credibility. If you can fool one of the best, you can fool the general population and the general population does not like to be played a fool. That's how they would see it, that's how they would feel; and they would feel that way towards Kotaku.

I got off subject for a bit, ran off on a tangent. However, I think it's a point that needed to be made. This is all solid information. It seems legitimate and it makes you wonder if someone could come up with a fake that seems so real. I firmly believe that this is real information. I could go on about what I see, and what I don't see that makes me believe what I believe. However, it is up to the people seeing it to make up their minds. I'll go with it being solid information, I've inspected it carefully and to the best of my abilities. However, at the end of the day it's entire speculation. No one from IW told me that it was real. I just hope this isn't a new era of carefully planned hoaxes. So pick a side and defend it, I'll defend that it's true until it's proven otherwise.

The Flapper  May. 15, 2011 at 22:16

dude, i'm not sure about you guys but thats some fake stuff. i dont think its real. think about it... how can a leak so huge get out there? yup... i dont know how its possible... i mean you gotta see that its only like pictures and stuff. no real info. period. man... all you gotta do is draw something and copy the style of the cod people. anyone with the skills can do it... yup... thats what im thinkin. i dont know if you think a leak this big is able to happen but its not coming out till like november or something. the game aint even finished. thats all im gonna say about it. this dont even sound real.

Late  May. 16, 2011 at 11:27

Great post, Jack!
The progression of the COD series fascinates me. Folk always seem to complain that the game hasn't moved forward at all other than a few cosmetic changes here and there. But when you get used to the newer games and go back to the older ones (which you perhaps feel you preferred) there's usually a feeling of disappointment in my experience & observations; it just isn't as good as you remembered (or more accurately, you've undervalued the latest iteration).
Slightly off topic? Screw it.

As for the leaked info, it looks genuine - and it'd take a "helluva" lot of work to come up with a fake that convincing. For no real benefit. If it looks that convincing then I'm happy to take it at face value.
The PSG1 definitely does look like it's ripped from Black Ops. It's certainly possibly for two companies to digitise the same real life object and get pretty much identical looking results - but tiny details like the scope's lens cap hanging at the exact same angle? Unlikely. That's not to say they haven't used a few models from Black Ops, with the permission of Treyarch, though. Despite them usually going in different directions, there's clearly plenty of data exchanged between IW and Treyarch...

Felix Kemp  May. 16, 2011 at 19:43

It's odd, as Infinity Ward and Treyarch are less close siblings and more like step-brothers. Infinity Ward once claimed they didn't consider Treyarch's efforts actual CoD installments, so them sharing data sounds odd. That said, with West and Zampella gone, maybe Infinity Ward is playing nicer?

Jack Harkness  May. 16, 2011 at 23:21

Thanks Late,

I really appreciate that someone too the time to read my post. I agree with you completely on all those fronts. I agree with the progression of CoD, the opinion on the leaked info and the sharing of assets. I don't think it would be entirely odd if IW and Treyarch were to share assets, the two developers could form a friendship and at the moment IW needs as many friends as it can get. However, the PSG-1 screenshot can be a fake simply because it's the exact same one from Black Ops. Though, using an older asset as a placeholder, from a programmer's point of view, isn't a far fetched idea.

I can't wait for the game to come out, I'm really excited to see what 3 dev teams can do. It worries me, but under the supervision of IW staff I'm sure that the game will be beautifully executed. I'm not saying it isn't possible for it to fail, I'm just saying that CoD has not let me down so far.

Jack Harkness  May. 16, 2011 at 23:33

I see what you're saying Kemp. I'm under the assumption that the screenshot in question is fake. However, I don't doubt that IW and Treyarch would share assets; especially when under the watchful eye of Activision. On the other hand though, why would they take an older model of PSG-1 as a placeholder in a modern day shooter. It would be more efficient to use assets that were in MW2. The more I think about it, the more the SiQ seems fake to me.


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