While you’re counting down the minutes until your first killstreak in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, players and pundits alike are feverishly predicting what we can expect from Infinity Ward’s latest shooter. Modern Warfare 3 supposedly ties up the trilogy’s story, so we can safely assume certain characters and situations will return. We can also look at the first two Modern Warfares and other games in the Call of Duty series to guess what might or might not happen in MW3. We don’t condone gambling, but that won’t stop us from setting odds on what to expect from this eagerly awaited shooter.
- Beefy dudes with British accents and elaborate facial hair. As we learned in Ricky Gervais’s Extras, SAS doesn’t stand for Super Army Soldiers. That doesn’t mean Modern Warfare can’t depict the British Special Air Service as a badass brigade of unstoppable and immaculately mustachioed superwarriors. Part Motorhead, part Zartan’s Dreadnoks, and pure bad news for the enemies of freedom, SAS soldiers Soap MacTavish and Captain Price will definitely be back in Modern Warfare 3, which makes these Odds: 1 to 1.
- A playable character dying a sudden, unexpected death. Remember the nuclear explosion that kills Sgt. Jackson in Modern Warfare? How about the shocking double-cross at the end of the infamous “No Russian” airport level in Modern Warfare 2? In Modern Warfare 3 every playable character will die repeatedly during every single level. At least that’s probably what will happen when I play it. Odds: 2 to 1.
- The New Global Economy of Death. Like its predecessors, Modern Warfare 3 will assuredly focus on more than one theater of war. It’s a series hallmark to combine the globe-spanning jet-setting of James Bond with every possible villain from a 1980s action movie. From fictional Middle Eastern dictatorships to crumbling Soviet ruins, expect to visit every corner of the globe and kill everybody you meet. If you find yourself on a rickety old train jostling from Paris towards Istanbul, the only murder mystery will be whether or not the number of men you kill will hit triple digits. Perhaps you’ll tackle Triads in Hong Kong or an enclave of Ultranationalists in a hidden base inside an underwater volcano. Maybe you’ll detour to the palatial compound of a South American drug czar, hopefully encountering a long-incognito, century-old Nazi war criminal in a sly nod to the series’ history. Either way you would fill up your passport fast, if improbably skilled supersoldiers needed passports. Odds: 2 to 1.
- Monosyllabic nicknames that may or may not be shared by 1990s alt-rock bands. Soap is basically a given, but expect him to be joined by brand new tough guys Bush, Sponge, Reef, Lit and SAS mess cook Cake, who can whip up a mean meal while rappelling down a cliff, all without losing his signature pork-pie hat. Most notable of the new additions is the smug yet simplistic Train, whose obnoxious homilies will get stuck in your head no matter how hard you try to forget them. Odds: 3 to 1.
- Bloodshed in the Burger Hut. In Modern Warfare our enemies directly attack America’s most cherished institutions: the strip malls and fast food joints of suburbia. At some point in Modern Warfare 3 we will probably all watch helplessly while our buddies and fellow marines slowly bleed out on the floor of a thinly veiled rip-off of a Hardee’s in Generic Suburb, USA. And that still won’t be the most depressing thing you’ve ever seen in a Hardee’s, fake or not. It’ll be all-you-can-eat slaughter, still for around sixty bucks. Odds: 3 to 1.
- A playable post-credit sequence. When you beat Modern Warfare, after sitting through a typically interminable video game credit sequence, you’ll find a short bonus mission where you rescue a kidnapped VIP on an airplane. Modern Warfare 2 doesn’t have a playable epilogue, but it does let you roam around a museum full of trinkets from the campaign after you beat the game. Recent non-Modern Warfare Call of Duties drop you directly into zombie-filled survival modes after the credits. Expect Modern Warfare 3 to split the difference with an action-centric epilogue that hints at the plot of Modern Warfare 4. Apparently, in Modern Warfare 3’s originally planned post-credit sequence, an eyepatch-sporting Samuel L. Jackson was supposed to introduce you to Activision’s other top heroes, including Tony Hawk, Pitfall Harry, and Daft Punk from DJ Hero. Sadly that ending was scrapped after certain recent games underperformed at retail. Odds: 3 to 1.
- A one-off mission that completely changes every rule of the game. The first Modern Warfare famously put you behind the targeting screen of an AC-130 gunship. Many gamers were blown away by the realism of that scene, while others were disturbed by how closely this mission resembled video footage of actual warfare from Iraq and Afghanistan. Another AC-130 mission is unlikely, but don’t be surprised if Modern Warfare 3 makes some kind of detour from its non-stop first-person shooting. I could see a high-tension submarine battle, with the perspective shifting to the view from a periscope. Can you stop the rogue Soviet nuclear sub without forcing it into meltdown? Or maybe Modern Warfare 3 will detour into outer space for a retrofuturistic dogfight straight out of Star Wars. Hell, Halo did it. Odds: 5 to 1.
- Thank you credits to Jason West and Vince Zampella. Sure, the former heads of Infinity Ward might get a thank you credit for the work they did building the franchise. And Activision CEO Bobby Kotick might win an Oscar for his cameo in Moneyball, and start off on the path that leads to the unlikeliest EGOT of them all. Odds: 100,00,000,000 to 1.