Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III and other video games that feature Dubai

A new map lets players explore a fictional skyscraper, though its not the first to use the city as a backdrop

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III's map is set in a fictional resort called Hadiqa 6 Star, which sits on top of a high-rise building. Photo: Activision
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Activision, the developer of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III, recently revealed the game will feature a new map set in Dubai.

It is set in a fictional resort called Hadiqa 6 Star, which sits on top of a high-rise building. The map is dynamic and is surrounded by some of the city's most famous buildings, reminiscent of the views from Burj Al Arab. The company made the announcement during an event that hosted 12 content creators in the emirate.

The game is a remake of 2011’s Modern Warfare 3 and was released in November. It features different seasons in which players are given access to new maps, weapons and player skins.

However, Call of Duty is not the first game to feature Dubai as a setting. Since Tom Cruise climbed Burj Khalifa in 2011's Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, designers have tried to recapture the magic and potential of the emirate in their games.

Here are others that use the city as a backdrop.

GoldenEye 007 (2010)

The James Bond remake of the Nintendo 64 game was released a year before Cruise's stunt but featured a stage set in Dubai. GoldenEye 007 follows the events of the film closely and rarely deviates.

But for the remake, designers decided to move the location of the military auction that was originally set in Monte Carlo in the film to Dubai. The change of location reflected the emirate’s rising status in the world, making it an ideal location for a spy game.

The Dubai stage set features two locations, an exhibition centre and a yacht docked next to it. The details of the stage make it feel as though players are walking through the UAE’s International Defence Exhibition and Conference (Idex) with attack helicopters hanging from the ceiling and tanks out on display.

Hitman 3 (2021)

In Hitman 3, Agent 47 is sent on a mission to the Scepter, a stand-in for Burj Khalifa. The mission takes place on a high floor of the skyscraper, surrounded by clouds on the terraces.

The objective is – as it always is for Agent 47 in the Hitman games – to take out a target in the most discrete way possible. To achieve this mission, stealth and deception are required.

The stage is particularly good at recreating the feeling of being in a Dubai high-rise building, with non-playable characters even walking around in kandoras. The interior design also matches the luxury and gold-strewn accents of Dubai’s most opulent hotels.

Racing games

Several racing games have chosen the emirate as a setting in the past with some creating fictional racetracks, while others adapted Dubai Autodrome.

In 2010’s Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, Dubai features as one of the main cities alongside Chongqing, China, and Rio de Janeiro. The stages primarily feature street races with an added element of evading the police.

Project Cars (2015) features the Dubai Autodrome as one of its stages, bringing the city’s premier racetrack to life in the game with a good amount of detail to the surrounding buildings.

Meanwhile, 2019’s Xenon Racer also has fictional locations in Dubai that bring out its modernist style. With the game set in the future, it is possible to imagine how the current landscape would evolve and build on top of the city's existing identity.

Updated: April 08, 2024, 8:01 AM