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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 ending explained

Dan Lipscombe

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| Last updated 

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 ending explained

Featured Image Credit: Activision

The ending to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 comes a little too early for some, but for many the cliffhanger-style ending and post-credits scene will have you begging for more. What do these scenes mean for the franchise? What do the dramatic moments point to for Modern Warfare 4? There’s a lot to learn, so let’s dig in.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 campaign is playable early for those who preordered

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This article will dig deep into the ending of Modern Warfare 3 and the post-credits scene. So this is spoiler territory. You have been warned.

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Spoiler warning: This article contains major spoilers for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Still here? Okay, either you’ve finished the short Modern Warfare 3 campaign, or you just want to dive into the spoilers with a carefree attitude. Whichever camp you fall into it’s time to discuss Makarov, John ‘Soap’ MacTavish, and General Shepherd.

The Final Mission

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Makarov
Makarov

In the final mission of the campaign, Task Force 141 (TF141) is storming through the London Underground tube system in an attempt to foil the plans of Vladimir Makarov who plans to detonate bombs, caving in the tube tunnels, killing thousands. We play this mission As Captain Price, leading his men through a claustrophobic mission filled with plenty of action and tube trains running down unexpected henchmen.

The biggest moment comes when the team is trying to defuse the bomb waiting for them. As the first action is taken to defuse the C4, Makarov and some of his goons rush the squad and we see ‘Soap’ come to blows with the ultramilitant leader. Sadly, Makarov gets the best of John ‘Soap’ MacTavish and shoots him in the side of the head, killing him instantly.

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Despite our readiness to fire back, Makarov escapes into the tunnels and into an inevitable sequel which we assume will be Modern Warfare 4. The team has no time to mourn their fallen soldier. We return to defusing the bomb and the scene closes with the camera pulling out on Gaz, Price, and Ghost standing around Soap’s body.

Modern Warfare 3 Ending

Soap and Ghost
Soap and Ghost
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Before a final and poignant goodbye, we see General Shepherd and Graves testify in court for their actions against TF141 in Modern Warfare 2. Shepherd denies giving a command to kill Price and the squad, while Graves turns on Shepherd and confirms the General gave the order creating a commotion in the court.

The emotional ending takes place after the court scene and we see Captain Price, Ghost, and Gaz standing on a cliffside sprinkling the ashes of MacTavish into the wind. Each man says their piece and comforts one another. Well, as much as three double-hard soldiers will do in the world of Call of Duty. At least we didn’t have to press F to pay our respects.

The credits roll and the game has ended. But, following the lead of basically every other piece of media out there, a post-credit scene plays out.

The Post-Credits Scene

Shepherd
Shepherd

We see General Shepherd enter his office back at headquarters. It’s nighttime, the General closes his office door and sits at his desk. Picking up a pen he turns to paperwork, but we all know someone is sitting in the dark, and this is revealed after Shepherd turns on his desklamp. Captain Price leans out of the darkness for a little chat. But why?

Towards the end of Modern Warfare 2 we see General Shepherd turn traitor on TF141, setting his Shadow Company onto the British soldiers. Because he wants to be a hero and fulfill his narcissism he orders Graves to kill Price, Gaz, Soap, and Ghost. Of course, Shadow Company takes a battering and Shepherd goes into hiding until he pops up halfway through the Modern Warfare 3 campaign. Much to the disgust of TF141.

From this moment, Shepherd is on thin ice, with each member of the squad threatening his life. Now let’s go back to that darkened office where Price is smiling down at General Shepherd. Shepherd asks how John Price got into his office but already knows he was betrayed by Laswell, who works above Price and shares a dislike for Shepherd.

Shepherd reaches underneath his desk for a pistol, but not before Price can raise his own handgun fitted with a suppressor. A back-and-forth between the two raises the tension with Price taking aim at Shepherd and ending when Shepherd says that he won’t beg for his life. Taking the shot Price kills the General and exits the office quietly. Credits roll. Again.

What does this mean for Modern Warfare 4?

Farah
Farah

Captain Price may have a target on his back for the murder of Shepherd, but he will also be out in the world attempting to hunt down Makarov. Of course, what Makarov’s plans are, it’s hard to tell seeing as his financier was taken down during the campaign of Modern Warfare 3. So he has no money to finance his plans, as far as we know.

Likely, Laswell will still overwatch the task force and provide support, but if the American military put separation between TF141 and themselves, we may not see such well-thought-out and planned missions without air support and equipment provisions.

How does TF141 recover after Soap’s death? What this means for the team going forward is hard to say. Will Soap be replaced? If he does, it’s clear that the likely person to step into his shoes is Farah Karim, the leader of the Urzikstan Liberation Force, even if it’s just as a more constant supporter. Price and Farah have a close working relationship, so she would work best with the team.

There are no details on Modern Warfare 4. We don’t even know if that will be the next Call of Duty game or whether there will be a one-off in the vein of Vanguard or Black Ops. Fans will likely want to know what happens next in the Modern Warfare story, but given the retaliation and backlash over the length and quality of the Modern Warfare 3 campaign, Activision might take some more time to breathe before we go back to TF141.

Topics: Call Of Duty, Modern Warfare 3

Dan Lipscombe
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