SOUND OF THE CROWD
A major contribution to Call Of Duty's immersion was the excellent sound effects - from the desperate click of a pistol out of ammo, to the major explosion of a tank shell smashing into a nearby building - all helped by the team's previous efforts of recording every weapon sound from the actual vintage weaponry. "The sounds that were there were good, but there wasn't enough," argues Vince Zampella. "So, we're going over it again with another pass and taking it up a level. We've got a new sound designer with 12 years of industry experience, and he's really into World War II. It's about bringing up the level of ambience - everything that should have a sound, does."
Enhancements include weapon sounds that scale correctly and change tone over distances, bullet impacts and ricochets that sound appropriate for the surface they hit, and even weather-related effects for correctly modelled wind gusting through streets and rain impacting on crates, rooftops and other objects.
"Also, the acting for the soldiers is better. This time they sound tired, they're screaming their lines and so on - it's got much more of a real battlefield feel. Along with the Battle Chatter, the overall sound adds to the colour and chaos of the war experience, bringing the battlefield to life."
As well as the original arsenal of COD weaponry, Infinity Ward has also had to sample more than 15 new weapons for Call Of Duty 2. For starters, there are more semi-automatic rifles such as the Germans' Gewehr 43 and the Soviets' SVT-40, but all nationalities get their own pistol too, including the famous Webley Mark 6 revolver for us Brits.
WWII x 10
How excited should you be by now? Well, if you're not thrilled by the thought of a Call Of Duty game with open-level gameplay, vehicles to drive, three different non-linear campaigns (including a brand new North African setting), beautiful new shiny graphics, immersing sound, new weapons including smoke grenades and the promise of new multiplayer modes, then I'm leaving the world of videogames forever, to set up an agrarian commune in Slovenia.
The truly fantastic bit in all this is how pumped up Infinity Ward is with its new game - you can hear it in the voices of the entire development team. "While we're proud of what was accomplished in COD, we still had many innovations that we didn't have time to include during the last game's development," says president Grant Collier. "Now with our own engine and a bigger team, we feel that with Call Of Duty 2, you'll see a glimpse of what the future of videogames holds for everyone." It appears my friends in the Eastern European organic vegetable business will have to wait for me a little longer...