Heller: A team that, after years and years of single-year development cycles, finally have the chance to open up and show what they've got. I feel like it's a little bit of an underdog story almost. Here's a team who's never actually had a chance to make a game with much time. Modern Warfare has come along a raised the bar really high and now the team says we've got to show what we've got, or else the players aren't going to want to play it - expectations are so high.
What happened to the hand-to-hand element in CoD 3?
Farrelly: It one of things - you try things out and if they work out you pursue it and if they don't you don't. That was a feature that, while it was a good idea at the time, maybe we didn't have enough time to develop it.
Do you think that CoD should have been delayed? Did it turn out to be a filler title?
Farrelly: I don't think it was a filler title. But because we're so focused on making the best game we can sometimes we try to put to much in the game for the time we have to develop it.
Farrelly: Biting off more than you can chew is a bit part of it. Look at the great games in the past year - Modern Warfare, Bioshock, GTA IV - what these games have in common is enough time to polish and iterate them. I think, as an industry, we're learning how important that is.
Farrelly: I think that if you have just three of four key feature, and those features are so highly polished that they're flawless, that's better than having a mixed bag of stuff that doesn't always work.
Coming back to World at War, how have you balanced the American and Russian missions?
Farrelly: I'd say it's a pretty even split. I can't got into exact percentages, but it's well balanced.
Farrelly: I think the interesting part will be that as you play one campaign versus another you're going to be playing a very different sort of game.
Medal of Honor Rising Sun springs to mind - being a WWII shooter based on the Japanese theatre of the war. The general consensus was that it was pretty poor. Did you guys learn anything from that?
Farrelly: Yeah, we learned not to make a poor FPS game. You start off with a great shooter, and then you build enemies and genres on top of that.
We dropped Modern Warfare AI into the Japanese soldiers and it just didn't feel right. You don't expect that enemy to act that way, right? We didn't know that until we did it. We thought that we would be able to get away with that, but we realised that you have to build a game specifically around that enemy, you have to have scripted elements and AI-powered elements that make you feel like you're fighting that enemy. Or otherwise you'll just be fighting the same Europeans you have in past CoD games, they just happen to have Japanese models.
CoD has always pushed the bar of what's expected from shooters, from sprinting to aiming down your sights, to the way you take damage - everyone does damage like we do damage now. As for Modern Warfare, I'm sure every game will be doing bulle penetration and a perk system. We want to show people how co-op is done the CoD way.
Talking of multiplayer, you said before that you wouldn't be taking anything away from the CoD 4 formula, only adding to it. Can you elaborate on that?
Farrelly: We recognise that CoD 4 is a great multiplayer game. We would not want to take that engine and then remove things from it. We're not going to keep in game types, for instance, that don't fit in with our game setting. But the philosophy of map building, the way the perk system works - that's a great foundation. And then on top of that we'll build new perks, specialty perks, and vehicles.