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How to play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s campaign early

Pre-ordering the FPS gets you campaign access a week early

Five operatives stand as if they’re on the cover of a nu-metal band in key art for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Image: Activision
Ari Notis (he/him) is a guides editor at Polygon, where he writes, edits, and shepherds service-oriented articles about the biggest games du jour. He previously worked at Kotaku.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, a first-person shooter not to be confused with 2009’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 or its 2020 respray, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered, isn’t officially out until Oct. 28. But you can play its campaign early — so long as you pray at the sacred altar of pre-orders.

Publisher Activision has been on a bit of a tear urging players to pre-order the 47th entry — if we’re being technical — in its long-running series of military shooters. Earlier this month, the publisher announced a raft of multiplayer cosmetics that’ll be available to those who finish the campaign. (See the full list here.) Access to the campaign itself will start to roll out later this week, according to an FAQ on the game’s official website.

When can you play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s campaign early?

You can start pre-loading Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s campaign on Oct. 19. (It’ll be 72 GB on PC at launch.) You can start playing on Oct. 20. Dates for pre-loading the full game, including its multiplayer component, are partitioned by platform:

  • Xbox: Oct. 19, 1 p.m. EDT
  • PlayStation: Oct. 20, 7a.m. EDT
  • PC: Oct. 26, 1 p.m. EDT

There are a number of other key dates in the release window. to be aware of. The multiplayer preseason runs Oct. 28 through Nov. 15, allowing you to rank up and unlock gear. On Nov. 16, the game’s official multiplayer season begins, alongside the ballyhooed rollout of Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 — the next iteration of the immensely popular Call of Duty battle royale. Then, on Dec. 14, the game’s cooperative Special Ops mode will see the introduction of raid-style missions.

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