Activision’s Field Generals Talk ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3’

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I saw that in "Mind the Gap," where the Tube stations still have people in them.

Bowling: Yeah. So the military has control of New York currently, especially in the parts that you’re fighting in, where London is different. It’s still very much a highly populated city. It hasn’t escalated to the scale that it has in America yet. And that impacts the gameplay; that impacts the rules of engagement and how you approach each mission, and the immersion. So, I wouldn’t say it’s a one glove fits all sort of deal.

Schofield: And if you noticed, there’s details in both the Manhattan level and in the "Hunter Killer" level in which you’ll see signs, it had said, “evacuate.”

I did see that roadwork sign in "Black Tuesday"…

Schofield: So, the idea there is that there was enough time to evacuate the different areas but we make a point to show some devastation with the Holland Tunnel being flooded, too. What we wanted to get in there is that people were escaping. They were getting away or leaving.

So you’re embedding story inside the environment.

Schofield: Yeah, if you watch that movie Battle: Los Angeles, there’s parts of that where the streets are completely empty. They were able to get some of the people out.

So, let’s talk about tech. You guys haven’t talked very much about the engine yet or anything like that. The game looks great, but I feel like you’ve come under some criticism that it also looks too familiar—the bones of what has come before are still very apparent.

Are you guys ready to talk about that? What’s powering it? What are the changes? I saw incredible particle effects at the beginning of the Manhattan level where the glass from the building is raining down on you. And that seemed to be of a scale that the previous games hadn’t been able to achieve. Can you guys talk about the engine at all?

Schofield: There’s a ton of verticality to show now. You look at the other levels and we’re just as big in footprint, but now we’re tall as well.

Bowling: We’re always expanding on the technology of the previous game. We never just recycle an engine we used before; we’re always building on top of it. The key difference and the key design philosophy that we keep is we never just write code to write code.

We’re always building code for a specific reason that is tied to gameplay, that is tied to solving a problem from a previous game. In Modern Warfare 3, our focus was on maintaining that core integrity of high-speed, 60 frames-per-second gameplay, in addition to, like Glen said, blowing it out in terms of scale. Because the urban environments that we’re fighting in now are completely different from what you’ve seen. They’re denser. They’re more populated. The scope of them is so much larger.

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