When it was originally released, Call of Duty Modern Warfare suffered from a terrible bug where very cutscene brought about terrible stuttering that completely broke the immersion. The issue was ongoing on all platforms, but the stuttering was much more prevalent on Xbox and PC.
Note: This issue is similar to what some Overwatch players are experiencing when playing the game on PC.
After investigating this particular issue, it turns out that you can resolve the problem in a couple of different ways:
- Installing the latest hotfix -Since the game was originally released in 2019, Infinity Ward (the game developer) has released a number of fixes that ultimately took care of the issue. Apparently, the problem was occurring due to the fact that the cutscenes were unnecessarily pushing the CPU to 100% even though all the scenes were pre-rendered. To make sure that this doesn’t happen, simply install the latest patch available for COD Modern Warfare.
- Using the ideal Graphics settings – As it turns out, there are a lot of graphical settings with the potential of pushing your CPU to 100% which might make you experience cutscene stuttering. You can avoid this entirely by adjusting the graphics settings of Call of Duty Modern Warfare in a way that relieves the pressure on your CPU.
- Move the game on external storage – A weird fix but one that a lot of affected users have successfully used is to move Call of Duty Modern Warfare on an external drive. This is confirmed to work on both consoles and PC and should allow you to reduce the screen stuttering during cutscenes.
1. Download and install the latest patch
If you’re only interested in playing the single-player campaign of COD: Modern Warfare, chances are you never went online. However, by not doing this, you’ll also miss out on the entire suite of hotfixes that Infinity Ward has released these past two years, including the patch the fixes the cutscene stuttering issues.
As it turns out, in most cases, the problem was occurring due to the fact that the game was pushing the CPU at 100% even though all the cutscenes were pre-rendered and didn’t require processing power.
Fortunately, Infinity Ward has released a patch that completely fixes this. However, the deployment will be different depending on the platform that you’re using.
On PC: Simply open up the launcher you use to launch COD: Modern Warfare (Battle.Net or Steam) and see if you currently have any pending updates for this game. If you do, follow the on-screen instructions to install the pending updates.
On Xbox One and Xbox Series X: If you’re encountering this issue on an Xbox One or Xbox Series S or X console, you’ll receive a notification once a new update is available. However, if you missed the notification, you can just press the Xbox button (on your controller) to bring up the guide menu, then access the Updates section and install the pending update for Call of Duty Modern Warfare.
On Playstation 4 and Playstation 5: If you are connected to a Playstation Plus account, you won’t really be able to launch the game unless you update it to the latest version. But you play without internet, chances are you have a lot of pending updates piled up waiting to be installed. Connect your console to the internet, then access the Download tab and installed every pending update.
In the event that installing the pending COD: Modern Warfare update that fixes this issue is not an option for you, move down to the next potential fix below.
2. Using the ‘ideal’ Graphics settings for COD: Modern Warfare (PC Only)
If you’re still suffering from the cutscene lag in Call of Duty Modern Warfare on PC and you don’t have the means or the desire to install the update that fixes the issue, you can also alleviate the problem by tweaking your graphic settings.
However, keep in mind that this method is only confirmed to work in scenarios where the PC is more than capable to pass the medium requirements of the game.
The following Graphics settings have been confirmed to work by a lot of affected users that we’re encountering the issue on PC.
Open up the game, then access the Settings menu and access the Graphics tab.
Once you’re inside set the following settings:
- Render Resolution – 100
- Aspect Radio – Automatic
- Sync Every Frame (V-Sync) – Enabled
- Custom Framerate Limit – Custom
- NVIDIA Highlights – Disabled
- SDR Color Space – 2 2 (SRB)
- Texture Resolution – Normal
- Texture Filter Anisotropic – Normal
- Particle Quality – High
- Bullet Impacts – Enabled
- Tesselation – Disabled
- Shadow Map Resolution – High
- Cache Spot Shadows – Enabled
- Cache Sun Shadows – Enabled
- Particle Lighting – High
- DirectX RayTracing – Disabled
- Ambient Occlusion – Both
- Anti-Aliasing – SMMA T2X
- Depth of Field – Enabled
- Filmic Strenght – 1.00
- Word Motion Blur – Disabled
- Weapon Motion Blur – Enabled
- Film Grain – 0.25
If this method was not applicable or you already adjusted the settings and noticed no improvements, move down to the next potential fix below.
3. Move the game to an external HDD (if applicable)
As it turns out, a lot of affected users have managed to fix the issue entirely by moving the game on an external storage device. This is confirmed with both consoles and PC versions of Call of Duty Modern Warfare.
There is no official explanation on why this is effective, but affected users are suspecting that moving the game to an external drive takes some pressure off the CPU due to the way the game is built.
Keep in mind that if you’re already on a next-gen console version, you will only be able to move the game to an external storage device as long as it meets the speed specifications:
SuperSpeed USB 5 Gbps or later
250 GB minimum, 8 TB Maximum Capacity
On Xbox Series X / S: You will only be able to connect those NVMe SSDs that are using Microsoft’s proprietary technology. As of now, the official Seagate Storage Expansion card for Series X is by far the best option.
On PC, you can use any external storage but be prepared for longer loading times if the external drive is slowing than the internal one.
After you manage to move the game to external storage, launch Call of Duty Modern Warfare once again and see if the stuttering issues in cutscenes have now been resolved.