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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II is the 2022 entry in the Call of Duty franchise and a sequel to the 2019 reboot of the Modern Warfare series. The sequel was generally well-received by critics, though some players were critical of its Skill-based matchmaking system while other internet users made memes about one of the game's main characters, Ghost.
Activision announced a sequel to Modern Warfare as well as a second iteration of its battle royale title, Warzone, on February 11th, 2022. On June 8th, 2022, Activision released the first trailer for the game, gaining over 32 million views in five months (shown below). After a brief beta release in September of 2022, the game released on October 28th, 2022.
Modern Warfare II had a strong online presence even before its release. On January 27th, 2021, the subreddit for the game was created, and as of November 17th, 2022, it has over 439,000 members. The game gained over 767,000 followers on Twitch within its first three weeks of release. On October 30th, Cr1TiKaL posted a video review of the game, giving it a 75/100, gaining over 1.4 million views in two weeks (shown below).
The release of Modern Warfare II reignited the debate over skill-based matchmaking in video games, thanks in large part to streamer TimTheTatman declaring he would not stream multiplayer of Modern Warfare II due to the feature.
TimTheTatman shared that there's a low chance that he'll stream MW2 multiplayer.— Full Squad Gaming (@fullsquadgaming) October 24, 2022
The reason: Skill-Based Matchmaking pic.twitter.com/Rw5997SmQ6
On October 25th, 2022, Twitter user @its_natclayton tweeted, "the SBMM discourse is so nakedly driven by people who need to farm easier games to fuel the Content Mill and falls apart immediately the second you consider what it's like for the newer players getting stomped on," gaining over 260 retweets and 2,400 likes in three weeks (shown below).
Ghost is the commonly used name for the character Simon "Ghost" Riley in the 2022 video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II. The character is recognizable for his skull mask, which he never removes in the series. Though the character had appeared in previous Modern Warfare titles, his 2022 iteration developed a significant fandom on social media.
Ghost quickly developed a fandom among Modern Warfare II fans on social media. On TikTok, a remixed audio clip featuring Ghost talking with Soap about his mask posted by @momentsofgaming has gained over 1 million likes in three weeks (shown below, left). The audio has been used in over 200 videos as of November 10th, 2022, with many commenting the pair sound like they're flirting. Another example posted to TikTok by @tophathunni gained over 136,000 likes in one week (shown below, right).
Ghost Staring, also known as Ghost Gaze or Ghost's Dreamy Eyes, refers to several images of Simon "Ghost" Riley looking at another character (Soap) from behind his skull mask. Online, the images gained virality shortly after the game's release as reactions in memes, inspiration for fan art and for simping purposes, with one clip also spawning a bruh moment video caption format.