When Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg stood on stage at Call of Duty XP and said a design tenet of the series was "epic realism", there was an audible guffaw from the crowd. How could anybody ever claim realism from the series which is famed for detonating a nuclear missile in Earth's atmosphere?
Glen Schofield, Sledgehammer Games co-founder, paints it as "plausible reality" - the idea that these unthinkable things could almost happen. But is he right? Could these events ever really happen?
Me? I think the Modern Warfare series is what Michael Bay would work on if he was actually talented.
The Iron Lady is the name of the Modern Warfare 3 mission Activision has chosen to show as part of its latest publicity tour, which immediately conjures up an image of Price and Soap fighting an enraged Margaret Thatcher - and for the sake of drama, let's just say she's been mutated by radiation and is now 60 feet tall.
Actually, though, it's set in France and has Delta Force (we're still not allowed to see Soap and Price in action) schlepping it over central Paris as they try and extract a high-value target from the city. Their identity, we are told, is a bit of a massive spoiler. I'm 90 per cent certain it's not Maggie.
For a series that succeeds based on the strength of its set-pieces, this level opens with a goodie; a plane falling out of the sky towards the player, its rotor blades kicking up chunks of ground as they come to an abrupt halt and splinter away.
Frost and the rest of Delta Force leg it into a bit of cover, and then the camera pulls up to have you piloting an AC-130. This is familiar territory - I've seen a similar mission twice in the last week - but at least Modern Warfare 3 tries to jazz it up a bit; you get a picture-in-picture display of Delta Force at one point, as well as the sight of jets on a bombing run and an entire screen of enemy tanks amassing on the ground.