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

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So, to get that in addition to those huge moments that you expect, and maintain that 60 frames per second–which sells that smooth gunplay, that smooth control–I mean, that takes a lot of work. It’s work on the back-end of upgrading your streaming tech across all capacities, not only texture streaming, but audio streaming, too.

A lot of some of the minor details that the hardcore guys will appreciate, is adding situational awareness to audio and visuals and stuff like that.

Schofield: We’re putting out a lot of information–I don’t even know how much more data into a level than we were before–but to upgrade and get that kind of graphical fidelity and still have levels that are twice as big, took a ton of heavy lifting.

Some things that people don’t naturally see, but that go right to the gameplay, is in creating a whole new set of coding tools. And people go, “Well, how does that help?” It means we build faster now. We can build and iterate faster. And by having all those tools now that just let us build, we can go, "OK, that’s not good enough. OK, we built it. We iterate. We build it. Break it down. We iterate again." We are able to get almost twice as many iterations in the same amount of time.

People think we get all these questions about the competition, but the truth is that everyday that I go to work, I’m just thinking about this one game. I’m thinking about how do we make it better, and I could say that about everybody down there making the game. The only time I think about the competition is when someone points it out. Because you’re focused.

And what’s that focus on?

Bowling: From a tech standpoint, it all comes back down to the gameplay. At the end of the day, that’s our core philosophy. Will the player notice an increased benefit in playing the game and having fun? And if the answer is no, then it’s a feature that’s not worth focusing on.

Schofield: And obviously, audio is huge. Obviously getting more into the levels is huge when it all comes down. So there were three major areas.

(MORE: Black Ops Designer: "Certain People Will Never Love Multiplayer")

You talk about building and this game represents a co-development scenario with Raven, Sledgehammer and Infinity Ward working on single-player and Spec Ops.

Bowling: It’s co-development but across the board.

Across the board. So you guys have fingers in multiplayer as well?

Bowling: Yeah, it’s across the board.

So, how does that work? Are you guys just like batting builds of the game back and forth?

Bowling: We build from the same tree. So we use the same tree. We’re all checking into the same game in everything we do. We have always worked as very flat organization as Infinity Ward on the previous Call of Duty; it’s always been very much a group effort.

So, the biggest challenge at the beginning was finding out logistically how do you introduce an entirely new team into that system? And once you figure out the logistics and they’re in the system, it’s all about just working together and building-up.

The best man for the job is the best man for the job. The best idea will always come to the top, regardless of where it’s sourced from. Then it’s all about playing to each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They [at Sledgehammer] have fucking geo-builders that are amazing and will build out a level and then go, “The lighting guys [at Infinity Ward] can come in and do great things with that environment.” It’s playing off each other’s strength and weaknesses like that, is what sells it.

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