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.”

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