Modern Warfare 3 is set to beat the pre-order records previously set by Call of Duty: Black Ops, and become Activision’s best seller of all time. In an attempt to understand the buzz surrounding the title, we talked to Infinity Ward’s Robert Bowling to find out how the player experience that we expect from a Call of Duty title has evolved since the series’ previous installments.
ShopTo News: Where does Modern Warfare 3 take over from Modern Warfare 2?
Modern Warfare 3 picks up a couple hours after Modern Warfare 2, Washington DC is burning by the end and the war has escalated up the eastern seaboard, you’re fighting in New York alongside Delta Force who’s trying to push the Russians out. That’s only one side of the conflict, because the war is now spreading into Europe, London, parts of Germany, Paris, Africa and parts of the Himalayas. It’s really going all over and as you fight, you see how this conflict is pulling these different cities into it. More importantly, we find out what happens to Task Force 141 from MW2, their either dead or on the run. The world has changed completely for Task Force and we see how this plays into the conflict.
STN: In the teaser trailers you show the different locations, you had France, Germany, London. How do these locations play into the story?
They all have a very integral role in how this conflict develops. Why is it hitting these major cities and more importantly, you’re seeing how the tactics and rules of engagement change in these cities. All these locations have different personality, based on why the war is there and what type of war it is at the time. So, that really impacts the type of gameplay that you’re seeing and how the story unfolds. We’re not going to dive into details because that’s something that you want to experience. It’s exciting to see how the variety constantly changes when you’re fighting with these different forces, in Germany it might be armour division or British SAS.
STN: Is Modern Warfare 3 going for a more cinematic feel in comparison to MW2?
From a story standpoint Modern Warfare 3 is all about that super cinematic action movie experience. The big difference this time is we’re taking those huge set piece moments, you know and expect from a Call of Duty game, and we’re putting them in places you’ve never seen before. This is the first time we’re coming out the outskirts, into the heart of the major city, and that completely changes these types of events.
STN: How big is the story in total?
The story is massive, it is literally taking you everywhere.
STN: Roughly how long does it last?
That I don’t know yet. Right now, we’re still in development. Our big philosophy is letting the story dictate the length of the game. Then, if there are moments and locations that we wanted to do, that we didn’t fit into the story; that is where we bring them out and put them in our Spec Ops mode.
STN: How has the player experience been improved?
From one standpoint, the gameplay is constantly changing. You’re constantly getting a variety of missions; one moment you might be boots on the ground, next moment your flying through the streets in a helicopter, next you’re underwater trying to get to a sub. You’re constantly being put in these new scenarios and more importantly, those scenarios are spawning gameplay mechanics like the ability to have a dual scope system that allows you change your scope on the fly, change up your tactics based on how the environment is. One moment you’re fighting in the street with a magnifying scope, flip it down and start clearing rooms with a close range optic; that’s just in the single player campaign. We still have our Spec Ops survival mode, which is an all new mode which brings in a lot of features that people love from multiplayer, like progressive rankings and unlocks which constantly let you change your tactics based on the enemies.
STN: The new service, Call of Duty Elite, is that integrated into Spec Ops on the same scale as it is for Multiplayer?
I can’t say yet. We haven’t dived too deeply into all the features that Elite is going to take advantage of, but it’s being built from the ground up to fully integrate with Modern Warfare 3.
STN: In the new Spec Ops modes you have the armouries that you can buy guns and killstreaks, is there any more added on to that to aid the player?
There is, as you’re ranking up through Spec Ops because it has progressive ranking you’re constantly unlocking new things that you can buy and use to change up your tactics. We’re really customising the experience per map, so the pacing you had and experienced on Dome might be different from a larger map or a smaller map, where we’re really crafting the experience based on that.
STN: In Spec Ops, will there be moment where you’re caved into a corner or different scenarios that will test the co-op abilities in the game?
Constantly! The game is constantly throwing different types of enemies at you and those enemies have different tactics and ways they approach. You will have guys that are very kamikaze and coming at you with bombs strapped on their chest forcing you to retreat out of your area that you got comfortable in. At the same time, air support is in the air trying to pin you down to try and put you back in the cover and also you have different juggernaut types. So you have all these conflicting tactics forcing you to stay on your toes and change the way you’re fighting.
You can pre-order Modern Warfare 3 from Shopto here (PS3), here (PC) and here (Xbox 360), ready for its November release.