FOG OF WAR
The plausibility of Advanced Warfare is talked up so much by the studio thanks in part to its jaunt into the future, but also because of the deep respect it has for Call Of Duty 4.
“At that point, we were all making games,” says Schofield, who was developing the first Dead Space when Modern Warfare was released. “But we played it and we were like, ‘All right, well, let’s go back to the drawing board.’ I wanted you to feel like you’re really in those places, like they did.”
“The game is at the top of almost every developer’s list,” Condrey says. “It’s the perfect intersection of art, design and audio. You know when you’re just crawling through the grass and all you have to do is crawl… [It’s] a simple mechanic we’ve used a billion times, but you’re so scared when the troops are coming down on you. We still look for those opportunities.”
Sledgehammer has had a chance to develop a Call Of Duty of its own already, of course. The division of labour on Modern Warfare 3 is anything but clear – Sledgehammer and the shattered Infinity Ward handled various parts alongside Raven and Neversoft – but the game changed the studio’s direction. Sledgehammer had, in the six months before starting Modern Warfare 3, produced a prototype of Fog Of
War, a thirdperson game set in Vietnam, bearing the Call Of Duty name and drawing on the expertise Schofield and Condrey’s team showed on Dead Space.
“When we came on board, we all agreed that we were going to make a thirdperson Call
Of Duty game,” says Condrey. “That included [the focus on] story. They [Activision’s representatives] were all big fans [of Visceral’s games], and at the time it was like, ‘Can we make something like that with Call Of Duty?’ So we spent a lot of time with it. The reason why we got Modern
Warfare 3, I believe, is based on what we did in those first six months. It was story-based, high quality, produced at speed and our own take on COD, and now we get to realise that in the firstperson space.”
There are hallmarks of Visceral’s work in
Advanced Warfare and at Sledgehammer. Condrey: “We’ve come from publishers who mandated, ‘Everyone’s on this tack, and you are all going to work this way.’ Activision is not about that at all. We were stunned. They firmly believe that independent studios is the right way. Treyarch makes great games, but they work differently to us. Infinity Ward has a different methodology that’s got them great results. We have our style, and we’re all inspired by what others do better than us.”