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This year's most realistic World War Future shooter is released this week in both the US and Europe : Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Thanks to the XCN we got an interview about it to put here. It gives answers about why they didn't do COD3, or WW2 for that matter, how the beta's been and much more.

Answered By: Robert Bowling, Community Relations Manager, Infinity Ward

Be honest – were you getting sick of being asked whether you thought the WW2 FPS was running out of steam?
Truthfully, of course I was, but I get tiresome to hear gamers say anything is running out of steam because in game development I just don’t think it’s possible. Any concept can be horrible, whether done for the first time or for the 20th time. On the same note, any concept can be Game of the Year the first time or the 20th time. I don’t think we ever slipped in our ‘A’ game when it came to making stellar WWII FPS and I’m confident we could have made plenty more amazing ones. It was more a matter of wanting to throw everything out and challenge our selves to work from a completely creative slate.

Could you fill us in on the development history of Modern Warfare, and why Infinity Ward didn’t work on CoD3?
Conception for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare started quite a while ago, as the core team here at Infinity Ward has wanted to make a Modern Warfare game for quite some time, with actual development starting on the game right off the heels of Call of Duty 2. We’ve had two teams working on both single player and multiplayer portions of the game from day one giving every aspect of the full game every bit of attention and development resources possible, which leads into why we weren’t behind Call of Duty 3, we simply were focused on making sure Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare had absolutely everything it need and the time to make that happen. In short, conflicting schedules. Treyarch did a great job taking the reins and handling Call of Duty 3 while we worked in secrecy on Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare to get it to what it is today.

Was there always an intention to bring Call of Duty into the modern age?
Always, at least with the core development team that has been working on WWII games for longer than the war actually lasted. Modern Warfare has always been something that would allow the team to really flex their storyline muscle as we could base it around a completely fictional war, with fictional battles, fictional characters but seeded heavily in realism of modern warfare and dealing with very real action and scenarios.

Call of Duty always prided itself on historical accuracy – how has this attitude translated into the new fictional setting?
While the storyline is based around a fictional set of events, the action and scenarios that modern soldiers encounter and triumph over in modern warfare is equally as real as the historical battles we portrayed in past games. It’s still about infantry boots hitting the ground, sending rounds down range, and fighting a well trained, well funded force of enemy dirtbags.

In addition we spent a lot of time making sure everything in the game was as accurate as we can, spending a lot of time with US Marine forces, heading out to a local military base in California to get some hands on time with their tank squadron, going through MOUNT / CQB training, filming and studying every movement as well as mo-capping quite a bit. We also went out to the firing range to fire and record on-site all of the weapons used in the game to make sure we had the perfect feel and sound to the modern weapons you’ll be using in the game.

Everything in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is seeded in real-life, you’re using virtual versions of real weapons in real world scenarios. So it’s not too far from what we’re use too except this time around we got to take the reins of creativity and full craft a great plot around the action instead of the action around a historical plot.

Could you give us some background into the conflict portrayed in Modern Warfare and where your inspirations came from?
Essentially you’ll play as several different soldiers throughout the game, from a Private in the US Marine Force Recon in the Middle East against some militants causing havoc in the desert led by their leader Al-Assad. While at the same time, there’s something going down further north in Russia by an ultra-nationalist force that would like to see Russia revert back to the days of Stalin. You’ll switch back and forth from US Marines in the Middle East to British SAS in Russia as you fight through the campaign and slowly start to realize that these completely different conflicts could some how be more deeply related to one another as paths and storylines start to cross.

What kind of gameplay advantages does moving into the modern age offer?
Moving into Modern Warfare has allowed us to introduce a lot of cool new gameplay features utilizing modern weapons and modern tactics. For example throughout Single-player and even in multiplayer via kill streak rewards players will be able to call in a variety of support to their aide. Everything from UAV Recon (Radar) in multiplayer, to strategic airstrikes to soften up enemy lines or take out squads in single player and multiplayer, and even helicopter gunship support to give some suppressive five and help you out from the air as you fight. As I said, in single player these support tools come into play at various times throughout the campaign but in Multiplayer UAV Recon, Airstrikes, and Helicopter support are part of a new Kill streak reward system, where your rewarded for getting 3, 5, and 7 kills in a row without dying. We’ve also introduced Bullet Penetration into the game that takes your weapons ballistics and the environment into account when playing, allowing high ballistic weapons to fire through thin / weak materials such as wood, plaster, or thin sheet metal. This changes the entire face of multiplayer and makes you really have to take your environment and your weapon into consideration when going into a fire fight. It’s no longer just about getting to cover, it’s about getting to hard cover.

And what challenges does it create in terms of visuals, sound and gameplay balancing?
Balancing is always a big thing in multiplayer games, it’s something that can make or break your game in a lot of ways. With Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare we’ve introduced a new system called Create A Class where players can fully customize their character to their play style by choosing their weapon load out and their three perks. Since we have a vast amount of weapons (over 30) in multiplayer, there’s a lot you have to make sure meld well together. We can balance weapons, attachments, special grenades, and perks more easily with create a class and default classes by making it a ‘give / take’ relationship. So if you want some really powerful attachment like an M203 grenade launcher, you no longer will be able to take 2x RPG’s as your first perk for example.

Call of Duty has always offered players a variety of characters and roles to play – is Modern Warfare upholding this tradition, and give you give us some examples?
Ohhh yeah, there’s a huge variety in how you will fight the enemy in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. I’ve already talked about how you will play as both US Marine Force Recon and British SAS and while both of those forces fight very differently, there are specific one off missions where you’ll fight as completely different soldiers than those two. For example in one level you’ll take the role as a pilot of an AC-130 gunship providing air support for troops on the ground. I don’t know if you’re familiar with an AC-130 but it’s essentially death from above as it hovers over and provides precise and deadly fire from it’s 25mm, 40mm, or 105mm howitzer cannons. There are also several flashback missions which play into the story linen where you’ll take the role of one of a two man sniper team behind enemy lines near Chernobyl. The environments you’re fighting in as each force is quite different as well, with the British SAS taking a more stealthy suppressed fire approach as they clear Cargoships in the middle of the sea and infiltrate behind enemy lines in Russia, the Marine Force Recon take a bit more ‘brute’ force approach with coordinated airstrikes and full on ground pounder assaults with heavy armor support.

What types of weaponry will players be able to wield in Modern Warfare? Are there any cutting edge or experimental weapons?
We’re all about this being Modern, so players will take hold of a wide assortment of weapons currently being used around the world by US, British, Russian, and Middle Eastern forces. Not only stock versions of these weapons, but we’ve outfitted them with attachments and modifications from the grips to the sights giving players a wide variety of options when it comes to how they like to fight. This applies to both single player and multiplayer, while in single player you’ll come up against some heavy resistence that requires some exclusive weaponry such as the FGM-148 anti-tank guided missile which is designed to target the weakest part of a tank’s armor, it’s top.

Will the player be able to commandeer or drive any vehicles?
In Single-player there are several missions which are oriented around vehicle support, as I said at one point you’ll man an AC-130 gunship in the sky with a few other vehicle missions which we’re keeping under wraps for the player to experience themselves.

The trailers seem to suggest the conflict in Modern Warfare will ‘go nuclear’ – is that correct, and what will the experience be like for the player?
I’m not at liberty to say regretfully… I’d love to tell you… but of course… I’d have to kill you.

What role does your squad play in Modern Warfare? Have you expanded the tactical options?
Like always in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, you’re not some lone do it all hero. You’re a soldier, and soldiers never fight alone, so as you make your way through the campaign you’ll always been surrounded by your allies fighting along with you. We like to put players in the role of the standard infantryman, so you’re never the ‘leader’ or CO of your squad telling them what to do, you’re just another one of the grunts. In Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare we’ve made your squad very recognizable and relatable, their guys you’re going to care about and know their names, their guys you’re going to grow to learn their personalities and not just a nameless squad mate who comes and goes.

How successful has the recent Beta been?
The Xbox 360 beta has been a huge success. Thanks to the enormous amount of feedback we received from it we’ve been able to really fine tune and tweak the multiplayer experience before we hit launch on November 5th. The community has been instrumental in the crafting of multiplayer and thanks to the stat tracking we did behind the scenes throughout the beta we were able to see how it would be like at launch and make sure we were prepared for it.

What were you hoping to achieve with the Beta? What sort of lessons are you hoping to take away from it?
Essentially the Beta was the chance to stress test the game. It’s one thing to test internally with 100 or so people in-house and see how it plays from home with that many people, but it’s entirely different to see how it players with half a million people all across the world and all playing differently. It allowed us to really optimize multiplayer by addressing everything from networking, matchmaking, and spawning feedback to weapons, maps, and create a class updates.

Finally, what’s next for the Call of Duty series? Is it still possible for the series to visit another time era?
At this point, I think just about anything is possible. Our main focus though is to just keep raising the bar and making games that we’re passionate about and that our community can get passionate about because at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.

Thanks for your time!

rob230
rob230
Commented on 2007-11-06 12:51:42
Robert Bowling (FourZeroTwo) must really need a holiday lol!! he's been promoting this game and working with the COD4 community for ages now.

Looking forward to this landing on my doorstep later this week!
In reply to
JonM
JonM
Commented on 2007-11-06 13:40:57
Getting it later today. Great interview.
In reply to
Skitspel
Skitspel
Commented on 2007-11-06 14:06:52
Im going to war this friday.. and I can't whait! ;D
In reply to
Uli
Uli
Commented on 2007-11-06 14:33:18
most important question is missing:

why is there no co-op at all?
In reply to
EvilMonkey
EvilMonkey
Commented on 2007-11-06 14:37:46 In reply to Uli
Posted by Uli
most important question is missing:

why is there no co-op at all?
true. that would've been killer...
In reply to
kring
kring
Commented on 2007-11-06 15:24:39
I heard the single-player was only 5 hours... is that correct? seems weak for $50 if true.
In reply to
rob230
rob230
Commented on 2007-11-06 16:07:52
It's only 5 hours if you're a COD regular playing on easy, you can sprint through pissing on everything, but if you play like that you deserve a slap
In reply to
Ryoma135
Ryoma135
Commented on 2007-11-06 16:12:13
i read its 5-6 hours on normal, ill do it on the hardest setting.
In reply to
ManThatYouFear
ManThatYouFear
Commented on 2007-11-06 16:59:00 In reply to rob230
Posted by rob230
It's only 5 hours if you're a COD regular playing on easy, you can sprint through pissing on everything, but if you play like that you deserve a slap
lol at easy :D
In reply to
jioann00
jioann00
Commented on 2007-11-06 17:41:43
5-6 hours of QUALITY GRAPHICS AND GAMEPLAY is fine by me thanks

i wouldnt want it to be any longer personally, else i wouldnt bother finishing it

i havnt got round to finishing bioshock yet :p
or forza...
or the last boss on gears

... infact i havnt botherd to complete many of my games :(

did halo 3 on heroic myself though in about 8 hours.

ok im rambling now..
In reply to
type105x
type105x
Commented on 2007-11-06 18:29:40
dam all that i am going onto the hardist mode 1st ^___^ like i did with COD 3 >.<...even know when i fin it ..it did.nt give me the points lol

Can,t Wait =D
In reply to
MakyoDetector
MakyoDetector
Commented on 2007-11-06 21:20:36
From the description this is veering a tiny bit in the direction of neocolonialist propaganda. Somebody could even interpret the game as a war crime under the Nuremberg principles. What a giddy concept :). But that is entirely theoretical. I guess they gotta invent some enemies somewhere and Fox already laid the groundwork for "evil hajis in the desert". What I'm really saying is, I don't think any game depicting real armies exists in a vacuum outside the real world.

Also, British SAS in Russia?! That's a tad provocative. But I bet in the game the SAS are invited - no, begged - to come to Russia because they are paralyzed and can't handle the Stalinists. All that's missing is the local population greeting the player with flowers.
In reply to
GangstaNip
GangstaNip
Commented on 2007-11-06 23:34:51
People complaining about how short the game is probably need to be informed that this game strongest point is multiplayer, i quickly learned that after playing the beta, game is the best multiplayer ive played in a long time. That said, the single [player is well worth playing, the 5-8 hours of single player in COD4 is fun and intense as hell, does not disappoint at all. Game is worth every penny you pay for it and more.:)
In reply to
Getpwned
Getpwned
Commented on 2007-11-07 00:23:25
nice interview.

so the game is as long as Gears of War and God of War? Awesome. I kind of "liked" those games.

Anyway, I've been playing the meat of the game, the campaign. It's AMAZING.
In reply to
GriftGFX - He can also<br>ban your ass!
GriftGFX
Commented on 2007-11-07 10:14:21 In reply to Getpwned
Posted by Getpwned
Anyway, I've been playing the meat of the game, the campaign. It's AMAZING.
Is the campaign really the "meat" of the game? I've been playing the MP, which comes with 16 maps, is extremely well balanced and extremely deep.. and it's AMAZING. Personally, I'll spend much more time in MP than the campaign, and there's plenty of content there, so for me that's the real core component that matters.
In reply to
About the game
Platform
X360 PS3
Published by
Activision
Developed by
Infinity Ward
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