Modern Warfare 3 re-uses assets, internet goes apeshit
November 11, 2011

What do you get when you’re part of the development team that is tasked with pumping out new releases of the best-selling franchise of the generation year-on-year? What do you get when you have three different studios working  and collaborating on individual aspects of a game, another team handling a port, and two different publishers taking care of localisation?  What do you get when half of the key staff from one of those  studios leaves mid-way through a somewhat troubled development? What do you get when, working to a strict, global deadline and under immense pressure, you manage to put out another AAA title in a franchise that’s regarded by many as the pinnacle of its genre?  The answer to those admittedly long-winded questions should be “why, a bloody great big pat on the back, Rory”. Unfortunately, what you actually get is some whining sod moaning about a van.

Horribly, and almost comically, underestimating the sheer amount of work that goes into a top-tier, annual release like Call of Duty, Chris Hawke over at Gamer’s Guide to Life recently put out an admittedly very well-written and humorous article, simultaneously slamming Infinity WardSledgehammer GamesRaven SoftwareTreyarch and Neversoft (seriously, all those studios worked on MW3) for one of the most paltry, insignificant and frivolous ‘offences’ that’s ever been brought to light.

During a trailer for Modern Warfare 3, Chris happened to notice a parked Marley & Griffin van, which, shock and horror and “oh my god won’t somebody think of the children?!”,  also featured in Modern Warfare 2. This, he says, “represents laziness…copy-and-paste design…a lack of ambition and, perhaps most irritatingly, a lack of pride”. Now, let me just start by saying that I don’t particularly have an issue with Chris or his article; it was an amusing read and he did raise a valid point or two. However, to say that re-using a two-year-old asset from a direct prequel to a game in the same series, timeline, setting and canon as itself is, frankly, ridiculous.

I understand some of the points that Chris raises – Activision make hundreds of millions of dollars from the CoD franchise every year, and their competitors at DICE are going balls-to-the-wall to ensure that their latest offering inBattlefield 3 is a huge step up from its predecessor. I understand if he doesn’t agree with the design philosophy inherent in the CoD franchise. I understand if he thinks Bobby Kotick is a bit of a cock. But what I don’t understand is how he can be so vexed about the recycling of an asset that he feels the need to write an article about it, and I know I’m being massively contradictory there.

Despite explaining how he’s lost his faith in Modern Warfare 3 over this pesky vehicle, he goes on to say that he’ll buy the game anyway as it’s ‘unavoidable’ – it’s not, because I’ve managed it. He then goes on to cite Half-Life as a ‘classic’  which, in his view, “went the extra mile to make the best experience humanly possible”, apparently overlooking Valve’s tendency to recycle assets themselves. This is why I can’t take the article seriously.

Enough about poor Chris, though; it wasn’t actually him who particularly cheesed me off, more the discussion that arises around this topic time and time again. At some arbitrary point in time between the releases of Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops, it apparently became cool to slate and slanderise the Call of Duty franchise. I’m by no means saying that Infinity Ward are a perfect developer or that their games are the pinnacle of the industry – I’m more of a Battlefield man, if you must know – but if you make the claim that a re-used van in Modern Warfare 3 is going to hinder your enjoyment of the game in some way, you’re completely and utterly nuts.

Ironically enough, Battlefield 3 has an absolute ton of re-used assets from Bad Company 2, and the ones that were developed specifically for it are copied and pasted all around the different multiplayer maps – take the interior of the buildings in Seine Crossing, for example, or the shipping crates in Kharg Island shamefully ripped from its predecessor. It’s almost unmissable, but does it make the game any less enjoyable? In my opinion, no, absolutely not. In any way. At all.

Besides, maybe Marley & Griffin just has a really big infrastructure.

 – Rory

Watch the first Modern Warfare 3 gameplay trailer
May 24, 2011

Infinity Ward just posted up your first glimpse at Modern Warfare 3. Luckily for them, all the countries in the trailer just so happen to have an ‘E’ in their name somewhere, which they have oh-so-cleverly exploited, using the titular 3 as that ever-popular vowel/entactogenic drug.

The trailer ominously ends with the logo ‘WW3’ before the former ‘W’ flips on its head, to its final resting place – MW3. It’s coming this year and it’s going to own your soul. Spooky stuff.

– Rory

Modern Warfare 3 to feature a ‘larger, epic scale’ and destructible environments
May 10, 2011

Another day, another example of how healthy competition is good for the industry – Modern Warfare 3 will feature larger maps and destructible environments. DICE fired some warning shots at Activision’s Call of Duty studio earlier in the year, claiming that their project, Battlefield 3, had been designed to ‘take down’ the ludicrously popular CoD series.

It seems that DICE is experiencing some return fire, though, as MW3 will supposedly feature “a much larger, epic scale” and that the game “will explore the lead up to a blossoming set of engagements that could pull in other countries, creating a potential World War III scenario”.

It was also noted that “the game will feature large, urban destructible environments.” in line with Battlefield‘s Destruction 2.0 mechanic. DICE’s Frostbite 2.0 engine has been built from the ground up, specifically for the Battlefield series, whereas Call of Duty still runs on a heavily modified version of the Quake 3 engine; for Modern Warfare 3 to feature fully destructible environments to the extent of the ones showcased by Battlefield 3, it would require a complete engine overhaul, which seems unlikely.

Familiarity, it seems, does not breed contempt in the CoD camp. As such, destructive environments are likely to be of a much more conservative nature in MW3, but it surely won’t hurt to have them.

– Rory

Modern Warfare 3 reveal next month
May 7, 2011

What? Another Call of Duty title? Why would Activision want to release another entry into a series that’s practically guaranteed to break all kinds of silly sales records and generate record prof-

Oh.

Yes, it was inevitable, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting; The Official PlayStation Magazine teases that they will feature a worldwide reveal of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 in next month’s issue. The franchise has been a phenomenal success this generation, particularly following the release of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Its blend of cinematic campaigns and addictive, accessible Online multiplayer has seen the series break all kinds of entertainment sales records, but up until now, it was helped by a lack of direct competition.

This year, though, EA have said their gorgeous, graphical showcase – Battlefield 3 – has been designed to compete with Call of Duty, and from what we’ve seen, it’s certainly looking like a worthy competitor to the successful shooter. All fighting talk aside though, Modern Warfare 3 is all but set to outsell loo roll, sliced bread and the Bible.

No information is available concerning platforms, but the Wii and 3DS are likely to receive their own, outsourced, iterations.

– Rory