Call of Duty: World at War

Interview: How Treyarch wants to exceed expectations...

It's going to be interesting - Call of Duty 4 lands in our laps and, almost out of the blue, turns out to be one of the best FPS games ever and the game that would topple Master Chief's domination of Xbox Live.

Now we've got CoD: World of War on the way. It's not by Infinite Ward - it's in Treyarch's hands. And it's not in a modern era, it drags the series back to the all-too-familiar WWII series.

That was a controversial decision. But Treyarch says that despite that, the new game can still show players plenty of new tricks, and hopes to set a new standard for WWII games.

Senior producer Noah Heller and creative lead Rich Farrelly tells us how they intend to blow your expectations clean out of the water when WaW arrives later this year, and just how good the Wii version is looking, too. Read on...

You had everyone speculating over whether or not the series would return to WWII after such a successful run in a modern era with CoD 4. When do you think games will be finished with WWII?

Noah Heller: I think it will be a long time before WWII is done. The real line here is whether you can tell new stories and whether you can present something in a contemporary and new fashion.

The consumer doesn't want the same old thing, and if you deliver that, he shouldn't buy it any more than he should buy a repeat police drama or a Grand Theft Auto game set in the same genre. The challenge to us was to present something new.

Rich Farrelly: For instance, with CoD: Modern Warfare, arguably there are a lot of modern-era war games out there. But what they did is come into the market and redefined it.

That's what we want to do with the WWII genre - we want to press the Reset button, we want so say: "This is not the WWII you're used to seeing. This is something new. Yes you're firing similar weapons and yes, you've seen these locations before, but this is nothing like you've ever played."

Heller: We're not coming in to be second best. The only way we're going to make a WWII game - the only way we're going to make any game under the Call of Duty name - is if it's the best in the genre, and any genre that we enter we want to own it.

We're getting rid of the number in Call of Duty for a very specific reason. We want you to know that when you're playing CoD: WaW, you're playing the best WWII game ever. Likewise when you're playing Modern Warfare, and when you're playing any game called Call of Duty. So the bar for us isn't that this is another game in the genre, it got to be the best game of the genre. Players only have time for the best games. They only have time for the best games that show polish and passion and love from the team.

What did you think of the reception to you last game, CoD 3?

Heller: I'd say that one of the things that it's hard for a player to understand is that CoD 3 was in development for about eight months. It's very hard to make a great new game [in that time]. CoD 3 is a very good game, and it sold well. But it's not the game that this team could have made if they had the time to polish it. Even so, with two years on this game for the first time ever, we're going to pull it from Rich's cold fingers when it's time to put this game into the box.

That's the real difference between this game and CoD: 3 - we have the time to iterate and to make things feel right.

Farrelly: Our game is actually is very close now to where we were at with CoD 3 when we were trying to wrap it up. So we have the game laid out, and now we're got time to iterate things, and see how they work. See if the level orders are correct, if the flow is good, take out events that seem superfluous, and that don't meet the very high standard set by us and our predecessors.

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