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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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]