As the multiplayer scene continuously finds ways to increase its player count, be it a 64-player round of Battlefield V or a 100 participant strong game of Fortnite, it's perhaps interesting to consider that the next big hit may only require a fraction of that. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's alpha test gives you access to its all-new Gunfight mode this weekend for free, and it needs just four players to excite us.
Gunfight is a 2-vs-2, round-based multiplayer mode that asks you to eliminate the enemy team. It sounds basic enough, but it's the amount of strategy that simplicity can bring about when combined with its map design which has impressed us the most. It feels like the most lethal version of Paintball possible, taking place on tiny maps where just sticking your nose out and taking a look at the area around you could result in a flurry of bullets coming your way.
Because of that, Gunfight feels like a mind game. Will you take the high ground to gain a perceived advantage, when in actual fact your opponent already has their red dot sight lined up on your position? On the next round, do you instead charge down the middle of the map in an attempt to outwit the enemy? The give and take of territory always play a major role in the flow of any multiplayer match, but its importance couldn't be greater when you're only a second or two away from a headshot the moment you spawn.
The dynamic of having just one other person to rely on can also lead to new strategies. Due to the fact that the round is over as soon as the enemy team is wasted, sacrificing your teammate actually becomes a viable option. If you're communicating, setting up in a position with a great view of the entire map could be advantageous should the opponent take potshots at your buddy as they grab their attention with what should be an easy kill.
We anticipate that more and more tactical approaches will come to the forefront as the weekend progresses, but even the basic battle of attrition has us enthusiastic about how Gunfight could evolve come October. It's not perfect – we hope there's a variant where you can respawn and aim for a certain score rather than winning a set amount of rounds – but what's on offer this weekend shows real potential. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare may lack a Battle Royale mode, but it looks like 96 of those players don't even need to turn up to the party.
Have you had chance to sample Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's new Gunfight mode yet? Do you like it as much as we do? Share your tactics in the comments below.