To say "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" was highly anticipated would be an understatement. Activision generated $400 million in sales on the game's first day of release, breaking a record set by "Call of Duty: Black Ops" last year.
With that sort of interest in a military-related game, we thought we should get some insight into the development process from the development team. Here's what Robert Bowling, creative strategist at Infinity Ward, had to say.
Stars and Stripes: How much input from veterans and active-duty service members goes into the development of "Call of Duty" games?
Bowling: Active-duty service members and veterans make up a big portion of our community and provide invaluable feedback throughout the development of the game and are constantly providing input. Especially when it comes down to the personality and detail of the weapons, gear and tactics we use in the game. You can easily look at the textbook stats of a weapon and look at a standard-issue piece of gear right off the assembly line and get all the details you need, but what makes the game is the feedback from our military counterparts and players who are able to delve into the personality of their weapons, what makes them unique in their look and feel, the language and tactics used in the field and most important how they alter and adjust their gear and loadouts to be more functional in the field.
What kind of feedback to you typically receive from servicemembers after a game is released?
We get a lot of positive feedback from servicemembers, especially when we highlight some of the more obscure roles in the military. I distinctly remember when we first featured the AC-130 Spectre Gunship in "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare" and started receiving emails and calls from crew members currently serving in them. In addition, our military players are some of the most passionate multiplayer community members we have and are always providing feedback on weapon balancing and gameplay mechanics they'd love to see.
What's something you hope servicemembers will notice in "Modern Warfare 3"?
I hope they notice and appreciate the amount of detail that goes into every weapon. We use servicemember feedback, in addition to going out and getting hands-on time with every weapon we put into the game to really get the feel of every weapon. Its weight, how that impacts your speed, the way you reload it, the sound it makes as the magazine scrapes the side when removed and replaced, how your gear shakes and moves. Sometimes we have to rely fully on our military fans for reference on weapons we're unable to get our hands on, such as the XM25, which is featured in "Modern Warfare 3," something we had to reach out to our Delta Force counterparts and relied on for input.
"MW3" appears to be facing some pretty stiff competition this year. What will set it apart from its competitors and from previous versions of "Call of Duty"?
The defining difference of "Call of Duty" is its ability to be both deep and accessible to a wide audience by offering a unique experience regardless of the type of player you are. It has the cinematic single-player campaign which is drastically different from the multiplayer that anyone can pick up and have fun playing, whether they're good or bad at it, but has enough depth to keep them hooked until they become great. MW3 keeps up with that winning formula and constantly deliver new moments and experiences.