FourZeroTwo Q&A For MW3

villan4eva Jun 11, 2011

  1. villan4eva

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    As a follow up to E3 2011, @fourzerotwo » decided to host a questions and answers session for the community.

    Robert Bowling, Creative Strategist for Infinity Ward, decided to follow up E3 2011 by hosting a public Q and A session». This event was held on the social media site Reddit, which is a social news site where members can share messages, images, videos and external web links. Bowling started this session mid-afternoon and has been answering community questions ever since.

    Events like these allow the community to directly get in contact with fourzerotwo. It is faster than discussion via email or forums and there is not message character cap like there is on Twitter. During Black Ops development Josh Olin (Community Manager for Treyarch) hosted similar Q and A session via Twitter and alternative chat services. They are a great way to get additional details and clarification on what has been publicly released about the game.

    Below you will find every question answered by Bowling, so be prepared for a long read. The topics covered include mostly single player, special ops and general develop questions, but there are also some multiplayer topics covered. Questions asked are in the blue and Bowling's direct answers are in gray. Let’s dive in!

    Much thanks to site member GhOst.» for keeping this topic» up to date with the latest replies. Here are a few highlights:

    The Dolphin Dive will not return to MW3
    Currently there is the ability to "quickscope"
    IW plans to fully support MW3 post-launch (includes hot fix ability)
    OMA , Commando , Second Chance have been dropped from MW3
    Spec-Ops mode is confirmed to only be 2 players max



    Alot of the MW3 footage looked very similar to MW2, what is MW3 doing to differentiate itself from previous games both in terms of singleplayer and multiplayer?
    From a story stand point, Modern Warfare 3 is a direct sequel - picking up just hours after Modern Warfare 2 ended.

    The big difference, from a single player campaign standpoint, in Modern Warfare 3 is the scale of the levels you're fighting in. Like going through the streets of Manhattan both on foot and in-air, or Paris, or London, or parts of Africa. The sizes of the campaign levels are massive, which required a lot of work in terms of advancing the streaming tech to not only get to that level of scale but to maintain the game running above 60 fps at all times.

    From a multiplayer stand point its all about polish and balance. Taking all the feedback from Modern Warfare 2, building up from the core design philosophy of Call of Duty 4 (the simplistic beauty of fast paced gun on gun focused gameplay), keeping what we loved, losing stuff we (including you) didn't, and adding in stuff that will change up the way we play.


    The size is great, but are they more open? I like games like Fallout, where you can wander through surroundings, instead of being sheparded down a narrow path. If I'm in Manhattan, can I just turn down any street and run into a group of enemy soldiers, or is there a pre-determined route?
    The single player campaign is all about delivering a cinematic experience with set piece moments and massive action. However, we know you want open (let me decide how to tackle this) gameplay and that is where we've really expanded on Spec Ops in allowing you to play out missions with objectives in more open areas that are not tied to the story. Furthermore, you can play every Spec Ops survival mission on ALL multiplayer maps that are completely open.


    Will there be a MW3 MP beta?
    There will definitely be an internal one, but we haven't decided or confirmed if there will be a public one. A public multiplayer beta is a give / take in terms of development schedule. It takes a good month out of your schedule to prepare it for public consumption and actually have time to incorporate the feedback.

    In the meantime, while that's decided, I've been flying community members out to Infinity Ward to see the game (not play yet) but to see and discuss it and give feedback. Furthermore, we will fly out members of our glitcher community to give the MP a run through its paces later in development to try to find map holes, glitches, and other exploits prior to release. We also have a full-time QA department.


    Will MW3 have long term support after the release? (Like Black Ops does)
    Yes. This has been an extremely major focus for us after MW2 and we've spent the last two years building our infrastructure in a way that will allow us to extend our post launch support. Increasing not only frequency (if needed) but speed of them as well as how we can expand the ability to hot fix and playlist updates to address concerns when possible while an full patch goes through the certification process.


    Multiplayer: Do I really have to pay extra to get the full features? and if so, what features would I get?
    Absolutely not. Multiplayer in-game has no fee or option to pay a fee at all. You buy the game and you get everything that everyone else gets, there is no option to buy advantages.

    What you may be referred to is the ELITE service that Activision is doing that allows you to check full detailed stats, create groups, clans, compete in competitions and tournys, and a lot more. That service is also free to all Call of Duty players, they have said they will include paid features that are optional but not have said what they'll be.

    The coolest free feature in ELITE that I will actually use is the ability to change your create a class from anyone online (or your phone / tablet) and push it to the game.


    Will there be Dedicated server for PC?
    I want dedicated servers for the PC version of Modern Warfare 3 and we are currently discussing how we can support them, however am not ready to confirm if they will or will not be part of MW3.

    The decision to create IWnet was a simple one, we wanted to make the PC version of our game more accessible. We were successful in this by introducing matchmaking and a lobby system. You could quickly find a game, but you did not have the control and consistency that our PC players have come to enjoy.

    In an ideal world, I would like Modern Warfare 3 to have both. The ability to the mass PC user to quickly get in a game by default matchmaking via IWnet. However, I would also like to accommodate our users who desire a dedicated server experience, whether by direct IP input or server browser support.

    These are the discussions we are currently having on how we can look at go back to our Call of Duty 4 philosophy of PC specific feature.


    Why should I buy MW3 instead of Battlefield 3?
    You should be buying both because they both will be stellar games. I refuse to say one ill word of Battlefield 3 or DICE because I think they're both fantastic and am good friends with several of the guys on the team.

    If you are a shooter fan, they are both fantastic games to own because of one reason. They are different.

    Each do their own thing in a fantastic way and it is refreshing to have the option for both styles.


    Despite Call of Duty being a team based game the gameplay encourages and rewards lone-wolves who ignore the objectives for kills, what's being done about that? Why for so long has a team based game been so focused around being a selfish douchebag?
    I completely agree and we have changed a lot of how XP, match bonus, challenges, rewards, and other incentives are distributed in objective gameplay, much on how we are encouraging gun on gun gameplay in TDM modes, in objective modes we are making it so being an objective focused player in objective gametypes.

    Furthermore, we have focused a lot of the new equipment additions in multiplayer to make sure were giving the objective player just as many tools to be better at playing the objective focused gametypes as we do a TDM player.

    Its not all about kills, we have to reward the defender of a bomb site, the flag runner, and the guy covering the flag runner, more so than the guy just getting kills and never going near the objective points.

    I read you loud and clear and while I can't go into further detail, this has been addressed.

    I'm a hardcore SnD player and a Dom player after that.


    I personally asked you 4 years ago for fully customizable buttons for cod titles to aid in disabled players ability to play your games. you kinda helped N0M4D. will you ever add 100% button remaps so every disabled gamer can enjoy the COD franchise?
    Yes sir, and this is something I've sat down and talked with our control programmers about early on when you request came in.We worked with N0M4D as well as got a full list of "ideal" controls from several disabled members of our community to try and make sure that the game controls were as accessible as possible for our community.

    I'm afraid we never got to the point of fully remapping of controls, but have taken every step to make it as accommodating as possible. I just met up with N0M4D yesterday at E3 to talk about this very thing.


    Will there be quick-scoping in MW3?
    Currently, you can still quick scope in Modern Warfare 3. Keep in mind though, multiplayer is always changing at this stage (new perks, new balancing, new everything all the time based on feedback), however our philosophy on that hasn't changed since MW2.


    Were you surprised at the backlash to COD: Elite?How do you feel about Battlefield's similar service?
    I was not surprised at all, because it positioned poorly and misunderstood. If I thought I had to pay for stats, groups, clans, the ability to change my class on the fly online or on my phone, and all the other features they announced. I'd want it for free too.

    Luckily, all that IS free for everyone, but people didn't know that.

    I think these are services that all shooters should eventually have one day, and I'm stoked we'll have them free to everyone for MW3 and am glad that DICE is doing the same.


    When can we see a preview of MW3 multiplayer?
    There is no date yet for Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer reveal yet. I hope, starting today with this thread, to start addressing hardcore community questions regarding the direction multiplayer is taking, and hopefully start revealing things that won't change (like certain weapons, features, etc), however we can't start showing multiplayer until we get a little later and have it in its final iteration.


    What do you feel has been the single best improvement for MW3 over MW2 (or Black Ops)?Or, should I say, the best improvement you can reveal.
    Spec Ops by far. Adding in the matchmaking, progressive ranking, killstreaks and unlocks, and wave based modes have made Spec Ops everything we always wanted it to be when we first introduced it.Also, returning to gun on gun focused multiplayer is a big thing for me.


    When will the public see some Spec Ops survival mode gameplay?Is dive to prone 100% NOT coming back with Modern Warfare 3?
    Soon. Now that E3 is wrapped I'm working on getting a Spec Ops gameplay trailer made for you guys, as well as have some planned TV appearances where I hope to show it off. Follow my Twitter to keep updated on WHEN that stuff gets confirmed. Q: What would you say is YOUR favourite aspect about MW3 that differs from previous Call of Duty games?


    What would you say is YOUR favourite aspect about MW3 that differs from previous Call of Duty games?
    Spec Ops Survival mode, solely because it brings a lot of stuff to the game that we've never done before, plus you get to use a lot of Multiplayer features without worrying about them being over powered (since its co-op and not competitive MP), so you get to do Fecal Leaking like have an awesomely powered ACR and take on bomb dogs with Juggernaut and it doesn't matter if its completely ludicrous since it all takes place outside the story mode. Its all about just having fun.


    What's your favorite gun in multiplayer so far?And how often are patches going to be released? As frequently as Black Ops would be nice, but anything more than the 'never patches' MW2 had.
    It changes daily because we're always rebalancing and tweaking the damage in multiplayer. We'll continue to do that until launch based on feedback, playtests. We're currently playing MP every night with big games on Friday (friday night fights) and giving feedback.

    We've been building up our infrastructure as a whole since Modern Warfare 2 to focus on extended post-launch support, while MW2 did have patches, it wasn't nearly to the speed and frequency that I would have liked. We fully planned to address that with Modern Warfare 3 with the ability to do smaller fixes more instantly (playlist updates, hot fixes) so the small wait for the patches to cert and release are more enjoyable.


    I hate, loathe, despise, revile Nukes and the gameplay they inspire right down to the bottom of my black little soul.Will there be Nukes in MW3 and if so, what do you think they add really? Why should a button that ends the game for everyone (even your own team) just so you can sit in a lobby for a while admiring the size of your digital wang add to the general gameplay experience?
    No, the nuke has been removed from the game. We are focusing on "killstreaks" that support and encourage you to be a better player not supplement you being a better player.


    Mw2 had some awesome/memorable non-playable characters in single player campaign such as Ghost. Will Modern Warfare 3 have any new badass NPCs?
    There are definitely some great supporting characters throughout the squads you'll play a part of in Modern Warfare 3.


    I heard there won't be a official Mw3 forum... id be seriously disappointed , that's one of the most fun part of the months leading up to new call of duty games!
    There will be Official Modern Warfare 3 forums going up at CallofDuty.com, however the digital team at Activision has been slow to get them up and running.


    Will there be a hardened or prestige edition for mw3?
    Yes, but I'm not ready to reveal the contents until we get all the production details finalized.


    Will the maps be pretty like Favela and Terminal from MW2?
    Every level and environment has it's own feel and tone to it. Not everything should be bright and colorful, although a little of both is perfect.


    In multiplayer, will weapon attachments be unlocked like mw2, or blops?
    Neither. We have a unique new way that weapon attachments and upgrades to your weapon are earned in Modern Warfare 3.


    What perks are you dropping from previous games ? OMA , Commando , Second Chance ?
    All of the above. None of those are perks in Modern Warfare 3.


    In terms of MP balance and play, are you all viewing this as a natural iteration from MW2>Black Ops>MW3? Also, will killstreaks stack?
    I think of it as COD4->MW3 We've completely re-vamped the "killstreak" system, so the question doesn't really apply. Its too early to go into detail though.


    Will there still be a knife monkey class?(along the lines of mw2's commandopro/lightweightpro/marathonpro/tac knife/carepackgemarkerpreupdate)
    Absolutely not. We've removed commando and have re-balanced the knife melee to be the "in a pinch" or "unsuspecting fool" tool that its meant to be, not a default go-to weapon choice. You should never bring a knife to a gun fight.


    When are you planning to release a multiplayer trailer or some multiplayer gameplay? Not the specific date, but maybe soon before the release or will we see it sometime soon?
    We'll probably do some Spec Ops videos and then after that we'll be moving into a time frame of MP videos. It'll be before launch for sure.


    I've been told that you guys are sticking with a 2 player limit for Spec Ops and Survival. Is this true, and if it is why are you going for such a low player count when 4 players is the norm?Do you find it funny that you're involved with both children's picture books and violent video games? What's your best source of inspiration as the creative strategist?
    We introduced Spec Ops mode in Modern Warfare 2 and it has always had 2 players. This was a specific design choice, as we want both players to be essential to the success of the mission. The type of missions and survival mode experience we've designed works best with a two-operator team. We understand there are other co-op games with 4 players, which are a different experience, however we feel 2-players is the most fun for Spec Ops.

    I can see how its funny. I think its important for people to just do what they love and to constantly create new stuff in different genres and industries.

    Being accessible and not be afraid to sit down and have a conversation about what people like but most importantly what people don't like about your games.


    What are you doing differently in MW3 than in MW2 regarding the MP?

    Are you using any technologies available today that weren't available in the days of Modern Warfare that will make cheating significantly more difficult, if not impossible? Regarding the difficulty in cheating, on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the easiest, I think MW2 would easily be a 3. What do you thing MW3 would rank on the scale?


    Highest Prestige? How many weapons? Longer campaign than MW2? What do you think of the possibility of a Modern Warfare Multiplayer-only game
    A lot, for starts its all about bringing in the best of the best. Building up from Call of Duty 4, bringing in our favorite weapons, losing the stuff we didn't like and refocusing on gun on gun fast paced combat. We've also completely changed up the killstreak systems but it's not fully implemented so I can't confirm details yet.

    2) I wouldn't say they're new technologies but its definitely new procedures that we didn't have implemented in the past to help prevent and address cheating in Modern Warfare 3. We've focused on building an infrastructure that will assist us in supporting and addressing the online multiplayer after release.

    3) We're aiming on it being impossible in Modern Warfare 3 and if possible, having more ability to address it without a patch.

    Second set of questions:

    1a) Not decided yet.

    2a) Still adding them, so we don't have a final count yet.

    3a) Still working on missions and pacing, so we don't have that known yet either. We let the story dictate the length of the campaign and then if there are moments we still wanted to see we add them to Spec Ops mission mode.

    4a) I like offering players an entire package for all audiences, so you have the SP for the cinematic solo gameplay, then Spec Ops for plotless missions and endless Survival Mode, and multiplayer for endless competitive play. It's less enticing to only offer a product for one portion of the audience, even if it is a major portion.


    PC gamer here: why should I not immediately hate MW3? MW2 was terrible in every way for PC gaming.
    Every game should be judged on its own merits. I would never suggest anyone buy a product blindly. Make a informed decision once you've evaluated all the features.

    I can tell you that we have a completely different philosophy on the PC version of Modern Warfare 3 than the previous years had towards Modern Warfare 2.


    Could you expand on wave based modes?
    Survival Mode in spec ops, which is playable solo or in co-op, contains endless waves of increasingly more difficult enemies. The first wave is just infantry with standard weapons, then they get better weapons and more accuracy, then its infantry and dogs, then dogs and infantry some with C4 strapped to them, then helicopters to shoot down, then juggernauts, then juggernauts with riot shields, and even more. It's constantly throwing new tactics and enemies at you.

    Now the cool thing is we have progressive ranking in Spec Ops now, so you'll be able to rank up, unlock new weapons, attachments, gear (like turrets, claymores, armor), killstreaks (like calling in a squad of delta to help you defend or airstrikes) so that you can change up your tactics as you rank up.


    What are some examples of the loved and less-loved stuff you'll be removing/implementing in multiplayer?
    Fourzerotwo: Loved: High gun damage, gun on gun focus, depth of features but simplistic in design.

    Less-loved / removed: OMA, Commando, Overpowered Explosives, Nukes, Last Stand aka Second Chance perk.


    Is Activision looking into revising how much content is contained in its COD DLC/map-packs and its related price point? I personally would never pay a quarter of a game's cost for merely 4/5 multiplayer maps, but if other content such as new weapons/perks/killstreaks etc. were added, I might be inclined to open up my wallet.

    I'd also be interested in what your personal views are in relation to the current game + map packs post release model. Do you think the price points on these maps are a fair value for the money?

    How much support are you devoting to resolving network/connection issues on the PC? From personal experience, for the first three months that I played, I spent more time waiting in lobbies than actually playing in matches. Post release, how much of the studio time will be focused on resolving the inevitable bugs that come up, versus generating DLC content? Is there a specific studio working on each of these segments post release?

    1) There is a disconnect here, as Activision has no say in the content of map packs. That's our jobs as developer, to handle the creative and asset creation. However, Activision sets the price, this is a business decision not handled by the developer. I can't say what will be in the DLC because we don't even begin thinking about that until we finish the game, which is still very much in development.

    2) I believe that users should have a choice in how they purchase their DLC. This is something we'll be changing with the introduction of ELITE, so our hardcore community who are subscribed to ELITE will have ALL DLC included in their subscription. So while they get to enjoy all the free services that come to all players, in addition to the unannounced premium services, they'll also have access to all the DLC. As far as price, it needs to be a no brainer price point, make it where if I'm a hardcore fan and put a lot of hours into the MP and want more content, it's an easy choice. There should be no one size fits all price, it should be priced according to content.

    3) This is a very serious issue that I brought attention to during MW2, after we released our second DLC. There are many backend matchmaking updates we are doing to assist our players on PC who have purchased multiple DLC or no DLC in speeding up and improving their connection times.

    4) They're entire different departments. DLC creation is handled by the designers and artists where post-launch support via patches is a QA and Code task. They can be worked on side-by-side without delaying the other


    Do you feel that you don't have enough time to work on the games? It seems like Activision just wants to get the game out.
    No, because we've always worked on a two year development cycle. Our dev time is dictated by us, which is the whole reason Activision started having other developers work on Call of Duty because we made it clear that we work at the speed we work. We won't rush a product to meet a deadline, we set our dev cycle based around what we know we need.


    How much pressure do you guys feel to outdo yourselves with each installment in terms of the "cinematic moments"?
    There is a lot of pressure, mostly focused on showing players something they've never seen before. In Modern Warfare 3, we're picking up where MW2 left off with DC Burning and really taking players into the major cities. This is something we've never done in the past (typically sticking to traditional conflict areas and outskirts), so it gave us a fun opportunity to try out set piece moments in places you've never seen them and in ways we've never done before. Plus, there's something impactful about see it in a location that is very familiar to you, like the streets of Manhattan.


    What do you think is a good balance for the bloody screen?Will special ops be back?
    Somewhere between Call of Duty 4 and Modern Warfare 2's. I feel we went too far with MW2's blood screen, we have addressed that in Modern Warfare 3, adding in more directional situational awareness tweaks to it that allow you to better understand the source of the damage so you can do more to prevent a total death. Special Ops is definitely coming back, both the traditional mission mode and an all new Survival mode.


    Why did you stay at IW following the post-MW2 mass exodus of talent and leadership?
    There were many reasons, the main being that I wasn't finished working on Modern Warfare. Coming out of Modern Warfare 2 there was a lot of things I wanted to see changed, added, and improved on in Modern Warfare 3. With the change up, I saw an opportunity to step up and attempt to influence that to a greater degree than I had in the past.


    Mr. Bowling. You recently confirmed that there is no commando, but it there a similar effect of no falling damage that commando pro had for any other perk? Also are YOU personally a fan of cool kill cams, and are there GWK (the 5 second kill cam at the end of a game/ round of SnD.)
    I confirmed no Commando, but that has no implication on the features of Commando Pro. I simply mean there is no knife lunge increase perk. It's too early in MP to confirm any additional details on that though.I love kill cams, and we'd like to focus on highlighting the best kills in a game. However were still experimenting with different implementations of it.


    I remember many celebrity voices were featured in MW2. Does MW3 feature any celebrities?
    We haven't signed any of our voice talent yet. At this stage all dialogue is temp and towards the end we bring in the final actors to record it all. We'll also typically have friends who are actors, like Will Arnett or others, record stuff just for fun.


    Who makes your trailers?
    Our big trailers (like reveal, launch, etc) are done by the awesome team over at The Ant Farm. Perk trailers, MP trailers, stuff that's all about the gameplay are done in-house by me and an editor.


    Will there be something similar to the BLOPS theater mode for multiplayer?
    Yes, but the exact implementation of it is not finished. Its important to look at features and make sure they're optimized in a way that does not affect frame rate or gameplay for the sake just having it.
     

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