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Modern Warfare 3: 'Our engine is a Porsche - copy and paste critics have no idea'

Part two of our interview with Sledgehammer Games general manager Glen Schofield

Page 2 of 4

I would say there's stuff we brought across, probably more in audio and mood, atmosphere and pacing. I see it as there's a formula that we're trying to follow, but all rules are made to be broken, but in certain ways. We came in and saw that we could upgrade the audio, we saw that there was an attention to detail on another level that we could bring to it. The storytelling was a really big deal for us, a huge deal. I wanted to write a big back story with no holes in the plot, things like that, so we helped there as well. There are some massive moments in there, really big ones.

And also polish. I would rather polish three mechanics to a 95 than have five at 70. Infinity Ward agree with that. There were so many philosophies that we agreed on. Sometimes our processes were better so we used ours, sometimes theirs were. I really think the fans are going to get the benefit of two really good teams and best practises from both together.

Zoom

It'll be interesting to see if it feels like an Infinity Ward game or if it feels like there's something different in there this time.

Yeah, an Activision executive said: 'I think we've achieved exactly what we wanted. It feels like a Call of Duty game, but there is something intangible that I can't put my finger on. There's an influence in there for the positive.' And that's it for me. That's what I wanted, to make a difference without you really knowing what the heck it is.

Studio collaboration seems to be becoming more of a trend when it comes to developing big annual franchises. Beyond the Gun Game and One in the Chamber modes, has Treyarch been consulted or offered any other inspiration for MW3?

With the Theatre mode, we realised they had some issues with it, so we wanted to correct those in ours. [Treyarch boss] Mark Lamia is a friend of mine. But we really didn't talk too much. He's really supportive and we needed that in the beginning. We didn't know how good we would be with this engine, and everybody came back and he especially said, 'You guys have learned and picked up this engine faster than any team I've ever seen. You've gotten to a place it took Treyarch two years to get to.' So there wasn't a lot of discussions in terms of the game but there was encouragement because we were new.

Call of Duty continues to grow each year, with last year's Black Ops outdoing Modern Warfare 2 to become "the biggest entertainment launch ever". Black Ops has gone on to sell about 25 million copies. Do you think MW3 can top its launch and rival its sales in the long-term?

Zoom

I hear things like it could, but I'm more focused on quality. I want to try and entertain as many people as possible, but I also want to make sure it's of the highest quality. Right now, I'm more anxious about the Metacritic scores.

They're arguably different types of games, but Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 share the same genre, and EA's made clear its intention to wrestle market share from Call of Duty. Do you view Battlefield 3 as a particularly dangerous competitor for Modern Warfare, or is just one big game among many others?

My competition is Modern Warfare 2. It always has been and if you think back two years ago when we were starting on the project I didn't know anything about Battlefield. I started hearing stuff about it maybe five or six months ago, news coming out. I never got a chance to play it until we got the beta a little while ago. So as far as a competitor goes, by the time we saw anything of it, the window to make changes was closed.

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