As the world gears up for the official Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II reveal coming soon (at the time of writing), many have wondered if the game will have mod support, considering the news about the game coming to Steam and the game's rumored inclusion of a map editor. Unfortunately, this is a doomed dread, so in this article, we'll explain why Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II won't have mod support.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II's Map Editor
Recently, news broke that Modern Warfare II is going to come with a custom map editor, so many think mod support, well, that's just a natural extension of map editing, right? Well, no. Especially not in the way Infinity Ward is reportedly conceiving of the map editor in Modern Warfare II.
Reportedly, the map editor in Modern Warfare II won't allow you to build new maps or remake existing maps from the ground up a la Halo's classic Forge functionality that truly does give total map editing control to gamers and allow them to create whatever they could possibly imagine. This is not the story of Modern Warfare II's map editor.
This particular map editor is supposed to allow for only relatively minor alterations, like moving around cover, objects, some smaller structures, that kind of thing. It's meant to be able to allow players to change up the flow of gameplay on a particular map, not radically change it into something it's not.
This is not in line with the spirit of mods. Modders, especially, hate modding games that restrict or limit mods to some small fraction of what their functionality could encompass. It's much more likely that Infinity Ward is planning on a map editor not because the studio is building up to mod support but instead because perhaps the biggest criticism of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) was its map design.
While Infinity Ward is also, reportedly, returning to a more classic Call of Duty design for maps in Modern Warfare II, an even basic map editor would be a great stopgap to help keep players happy even if the studio doesn't completely hit the mark with maps. For example, if there's a particularly disliked map, a player could make a custom edit of it addressing its major issues and post it; Infinity Ward could verify it; and then people could play that version of the map instead of its default configuration.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, Crossplay, and Steam
The news also recently broke that Modern Warfare II would be coming to Steam on PC for the first time in years. Many were happy about the news, and undoubtedly Modern Warfare II will get many of Steam's traditional features, but some went on to think that this was a signal mod support would also be coming to PC, especially when you considered Steam's built-in mod support with the Steam Workshop.
This is not the case. Many major publishers bring games to Steam to merely run games with all their exclusive services and launchers anyways. But beyond that, Call of Duty is a different franchise today than it was back in the past when mod support was a more regular feature of the PC versions of CoD. The biggest change? Crossplatform crossplay.
On PC, Call of Duty games have always been niche, so before Modern Warfare (2019) introduced crossplatform crossplay, PC CoDs would usually just fail to fill lobbies pretty quickly after release, killing communities. Crossplay has made the games on PC a lot more accessible, but it also means that Call of Duty games have to be designed with both consoles (of different generations, too) and PC.
Unfortunately, modding on consoles just isn't really a thing in any real way. Even with Skyrim's famous console mod support, the mods you can actually install and use on console are pretty basic. This isn't just restricted by the console makers but it's also restricted by storage sizes and internet connection speeds, making it more of a difficult thing to do easily on console.
So, mod support would almost necessarily have to be exclusive to PC, creating exclusively PC lobbies that would quickly fail to fill, and ultimately cater to the smallest section of the CoD fanbase: PC players. When you think about it like this, mod support really doesn't make a lot of sense.
Call of Duty as a Live Service
Up through Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Call of Duty wasn't a live service. The games came out, there were occasional updates, and usually, a number of DLC packs on top of that. That was it. Starting with Modern Warfare (2019), Call of Duty became a live service, meaning that the games were updated more regularly and a suite of new content (for free) would be pushed out over the course of the year a Call of Duty game was on the market before being effectively replaced by the next one.
More than ever before, Call of Duty is an always-online, social experience. It's highly curated by the developers, and it's constantly being tweaked and updated. This kind of system doesn't work very well with mods. It's like with Apple devices: this sort of walled garden necessitates a lot of hands-on work delivered to you over the internet, so creating mods that tweak a particular version of the software on a particular platform is kind of philosophically at odds with the general live service model.