Modern Warfare 2 players are having a “blast” on Santa Seña Border Crossing, a new map centered around explosive close-quarters fighting on the US/Mexico border. While some pro gamers are confused by a map where everyone gets annihilated by explosions in the very first minute, Santa Seña has been welcomed by many players for its straightforward layout and tense gimmick.
Santa Seña breaks away from the traditional 3-lane structure of CoD map design, channeling players through a maze of abandoned sedans and jack-knifed semi trucks. The dense traffic results in an absurd amount of explosive vehicles laid end to end in a more or less straight line, each one leaving behind a waist-high scrap pile to use as cover.
Each vehicle explosion not only deals lethal damage to anyone nearby, it also kicks up an obscuring cloud of dust and smoke, quickly transforming Santa Seña from a minivan minefield into a brutal, bumper-to-bumper shootout.
But not everyone is ecstatic. Esports org FaZe clan mocked the map on Twitter:
🚨 BREAKING: Call of Duty reveals designer of Santa Seña Border Crossing in #MW2 pic.twitter.com/9SQQELNT01October 28, 2022
Another popular COD Twitter account, TheGhostofHope, placed the map at the bottom (opens in new tab) of their day-one ranking. “I refuse to believe a level designer made this by choice,” pro player Muddawg wrote on Twitter (opens in new tab), saying that the map doesn’t present players with interesting options of where to go. Even a passionate meteorologist dived in (opens in new tab), calling it “the worst multiplayer map ever released in any game.”
Pushing back against this criticism, players were quick to counter that series favorites like Nuketown, Shipment, and Rust all deviated from the 3-lane design format. Reddit user CredDefensePost911 says “I’m having a blast on this map. In single-life modes the cars are a really fun mechanic, and in respawn modes they’re all blown up within a minute.” User MurfMan11 followed by saying that Santa Seña was “100% my favorite map that I played last night.”
A few more enthusiastic comments that floated to the top of Modern Warfare 2’s Reddit page:
- “I think this map is hilarious not every map needs to be serious. It’s very convenient for launcher challenges too lol” —rj2448
- “The map is actually really fun, i don’t really see the problem with the cars either since they’re all done exploding after the first minute.” —antoza
- “I love this map, so hectic and all weapons are viable here. Snipers can go on top, shotty cab be used cqb etc. Everything has a place in this map” —fatedninjabunny
- “I like it because it has completely different gameplay. Not every map has to be small and 3 lane. One map that has completely wacky gameplay is fine.” —danyaylol
- “Especially if you get the Javelin, thing is hilarious to randomly fire off at the start of a one life mode and see how many people you can kill.” —Mazzanti
Every map doesn’t need to be some boring 3 lane competitive snoozefest.October 27, 2022
The discussion around Santa Seña highlights a divide between the casual and hardcore playerbases in expectations around map design, with many casual players welcoming the dynamic and unpredictable chaos of explosive car-to-car combat. So far, Santa Seña is an early PC Gamer favorite. Our very own Morgan Park (opens in new tab) noted that Santa Seña has a distinct flow compared to the other launch maps, forcing players to slow down and engage in prolonged gunfights. With limited avenues for flanking, and the ability to detonate the cover that your opponent is hiding behind, the eruptive opening salvos give way to a much slower and methodical pace.
Ultimately, Santa Seña seems to have struck a chord with players who want more unique and interactive maps in the Modern Warfare 2 roster. Of the 10 6v6 maps in at launch, a few others also fit that bill: there’s Crown Raceway, a box-shaped arena set during an active F1 race, and Zarqwa Hydroelectric, an urban battlefield with a network of underwater tunnels.