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The Long Road for Call of Duty 3

Zonk posted about 8 years ago | from the war-is-a-shiny-hell dept.

43

All this week, 1up has been running an extended feature on Call of Duty 3. Despite the sometimes tired WWII genre, the CoD series has managed to keep things fairly fresh in their continued exploration of the FPS' greatest war. Articles include details on the making of the game, a look back at past installments in the series, and a discussion with Creative Director Richard Farrelly on the jump to next-gen consoles.

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43 comments

We need another World War... (3, Funny)

mhazen (144368) | about 8 years ago | (#15675846)

...before the gaming industry gets stuck using the same material over... and over... and....

(too late)

Re:We need another World War... (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about 8 years ago | (#15675861)

One wonders why Vietnam hasn't had the same draw for game designers as WWII. Perhaps because there are still too many veterans who would enter awful flashbacks upon seeing such a game?

Re:We need another World War... (1)

yoblin (692322) | about 8 years ago | (#15675885)

Jungles are harder than buildings to design?

Re:We need another World War... (3, Insightful)

amliebsch (724858) | about 8 years ago | (#15676011)

I think it's more likely that Vietnam simply offers a less epic scope. It was a proxy war, and the enemies just lacked that inherent evil awfulness that the Nazis had, and our motives were less than clear, reducing the "good vs. evil" dynamic that makes for compelling storylines. Also, WWII was on a huge scale, with practically every conceivable form of fighting was represented, and over a huge variety of landscapes and cities, giving designers lots of material to work with. In comparison, Vietnam battle types would be limited to infantry squad fighting and patrol boating, all taking place in either jungle or rice paddies. Finally, WWII was the last "total war" we have fought, with truly massive battles and relatively straightfoward strategy, and clear victories and losses. The Vietnam battles would be and endless series of skirmishes without any clear goals or much way to define "winning" or "losing", and I can see how that could easily be boring or frustrating to play.

That said, it would be a different kind of FPS if they did it right - the player as an American commander in VietNam, where you have to make ethical decisions about who to fight (with lots of noncombatants or ambiguously aligned personnel), what villages to destroy, and what kind of force to use, all of which affect your ability to achieve some kind of overally strategic goal, like territorial pacification.

Re:We need another World War... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15676453)

That said, it would be a different kind of FPS if they did it right - the player as an American commander in VietNam, where you have to make ethical decisions about who to fight (with lots of noncombatants or ambiguously aligned personnel), what villages to destroy, and what kind of force to use, all of which affect your ability to achieve some kind of overally strategic goal, like territorial pacification.

I've always wanted one done with an emphasis on dramatic storyline. Halo showed that you can create a successful game with very tight gameplay and a pretty epic story. You could do something similar, but darker if you used the Vietnam War as a setting; mabye something like Platoon or Born on the Fourth of July, but in game format. Too bad focus these days is on eyecandy.

Re:We need another World War... (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | about 8 years ago | (#15680161)

Halo showed that you can create a successful game with very tight gameplay and a pretty epic story.
Bungie showed that long before Halo with the Marathon series.

Side note: I'm seriously hoping that Cortana goes rampant in Halo 3. Everything is set up for her to go apeshit...

Re:We need another World War... (1)

daemonenwind (178848) | about 8 years ago | (#15676469)

"endless series of skirmishes without any clear goals or much way to define "winning" or "losing", and I can see how that could easily be boring or frustrating to play."

Doesn't this pretty much define every pubbie server for every FPS ever made?

Re:We need another World War... (0)

kthejoker (931838) | about 8 years ago | (#15676474)

"A strange game. The only way to win is not to play."

Re:We need another World War... (1)

FhnuZoag (875558) | about 8 years ago | (#15676750)

That doesn't neccessarily follow - many of the more interesting storylines in any media were based on ideas with more complexity and ambiguity than WWII - and arguably, the more interesting stories about WWII were focused on the struggles on the Eastern Front, between one evil dictator and another, slightly less evil one.

I think the main problem with Vietnam games is simpler than that - terrain. Vietnam was focused on foilage dense landscapes, which game designers and game engines just do not handle that well. WWII had wide terrains where the player can (a) be wowed by the panoramic view, and (b) see clearly where they need to go and do.

Re:We need another World War... (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | about 8 years ago | (#15680179)

Good story != good game

Re:We need another World War... (1)

Napalm Boy (17015) | about 8 years ago | (#15677497)

As usual, Penny Arcade [penny-arcade.com] covered this pretty well.

Re:We need another World War... (1)

MrZaius (321037) | about 8 years ago | (#15679709)

Aside from myself, I often get the impression that noone plays single-player FPSes anymore. With that in mind, it could actually be far more compelling than Star Wars/World War II/Marines vs Demons. In Vietnam, all five sides had compelling reasons to fight (and to dismiss the validity of their opponents' struggle (I'm not counting the Trotskyites and anarchists (ie. I'm counting France, North and South Vietnam, the Viet Cong, and the Americans as seperate entities))).

This could make an awesome multiplayer game, as there are so many different groups to show. Even a traditional, straight-forward single player FPS could be compelling, if played from all five sides. There were Vietnamese killing civilians and Trotskyists (and here I thought I was leaving them out), there were American soldiers fighting/training French combatants, there were grand/horrific battles of considerable scale both before and after the French pull out, and all kinds of other crazy, zany things to reproduce.

It doesn't have to be a strategy game, and doesn't even have to be all that preachy. It could, dare I say it, be fun!

Re:We need another World War... (0)

jonnythan (79727) | about 8 years ago | (#15676014)

Because it would probably be boring as hell. WWII puts soldiers with old-school rifles and old-school artillery in massive battles with thousands of soldiers that take place in a very familiar environment - European cities and countryside. You get to run through houses, city halls, town squares, demolished offices, seaside bunkers, you name it.

I think it's possible to make a fun Vietnam game, but the battles would be monotonous. Being part of a large armed force fighting against small groups of geurilla soldiers would get tiring really quickly.

There's a reason that WWII veterans look back somewhat fondly on their accomplishments, but Vietnam veterans don't. Vietnam was f'in hell. WWII was a soldier's war.

Re:We need another World War... (1)

StarvingSE (875139) | about 8 years ago | (#15676046)

Different types of conflicts. WWII had large, open battles, epic campaigns, and a variety of backdrops for developers to use (europe, africa, pacific). All of these make for great action games. vietnam, on the other hand, its set it either jungle or burned out urban settings, fighting using guerilla tactics, booby traps, etc. While vietnam might make a better stealth-action game, it lacks the epic action packed battles seen in WWII.

Also, WWII was a much more glorious war for the US, where we were the heros fighting evil etc etc... Vietnam was much more controversial and we weren't seen as the heros to everyone.

Re:We need another World War... (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | about 8 years ago | (#15675887)

I'm not sure why but I never get tired of the CoD series. I've played and replayed the original, expansion, and sequel over and over and I keep coming back for more. Maybe it's just fun to kill Nazis, maybe it's the designers' fantastic level design with a great variety of long and short-ranged battles, or maybe it's the culmination of all the elements in one package. Regardless, the sights, sounds, and screams of these games are very polished and professional.

WWII is a great setting for games because both sides were so even. The gaming world tried the Vientam era on for size but it didn't pan out so well. With the exception of fictional or alternate-history settings I foresee WWII shooters for a heck of a long time to come.

Re:We need another World War... (1)

neonprimetime (528653) | about 8 years ago | (#15675939)

Why aren't there any games made about the Vietnam War? I'm telling you, it'd be a tough game to conquer!

I've been playing the BG2 mod for HL2 (1)

taxman_10m (41083) | about 8 years ago | (#15676110)

http://www.bgmod.com/ [bgmod.com]

It's great fun playing during the Revolutionary War. It would be great if someone did a similar Civil War mod. Red staters and Blue staters would love to go all Blue vs Gray online.

One problem with using other conflics (1)

daemonenwind (178848) | about 8 years ago | (#15675931)

EA has exclusive licenses with Vietnam, Korea and Iraq, preventing any games set in these places from being done by other companies.

Looks like we'll have to get CoD: Hippie Beatdown to explore the next few years of the "Greatest Generation".

Re:One problem with using other conflics (1)

the2cheat (986144) | about 8 years ago | (#15676126)

Duh, pull a Halo or a BF2142, and do CoD: 4, 2200. Course, by then, people wouldn't need guns. They would just kil the enemie with their psychic powers. Sounds Like fun... stupid EA.

Re:One problem with using other conflics (1)

suckmysav (763172) | about 8 years ago | (#15680814)

Gawd I hate EA. Not that they can manage to make much in the way of a good game, but when they do it would be a prime candidate for massive scale piracy just on a purely moral basis alone.

They simply don't deserve to get *any* of my money, even when they squeeze out the occasional non-turdish title.

The sooner EA just fucks off and dies the better off the games industry as a whole will be IMHO.

Call of Duty Dead For Long-Standing Fans (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15676065)

After the screwing that the long-standing CoD community got with CoD2, I think that a lot of people are going to think twice about purchasing another Call of Duty or Infinity Ward title. Infinity Ward made a conscious decision to dumb down their multiplayer (because of the XBox360), kiss up to Microsoft, and release an extremely flawed multiplayer game really got under the skin of most of the die-hard fans. While the single-player was excellent, it wasn't enough to offset the travesty which the multiplayer fanbase got stuck with. Patch 1.4 and most of the issues still aren't fixed.

It didn't help that the "all-new from-the-ground-up" Call of Duty 2 was actually just Call of Duty 1 with a slightly upgraded rendering engine and dumbed-down interface. Serious bugs, including server-crashing exploits that were known from the original game were all present when CoD2 released ("all new", huh?) - and code was found that indicated the fixes were bypassed to rush the product to market. It didn't help that they released the multiplayer without ANY cheat protection. It didn't help that Grant Collier (President of IW) pissed all over the mapping and modding community.

While the guys at Treyarch are great, the decision to go console-only on this title isn't going to make their PC-based fans any happier.

Grant Collier and Infinity Ward need a serious reality check - you don't survive long in the gaming industry by spitting on you customer base, especially when they're who put you on the map in the first place. While they can trot out whatever server stats they care to, it's a known fact that CoD2 is withering on the vine (something like 1% of available server slots are actually in use).

Most of the CoD players I know (and I know 100s from League and clan play) will never purchase another IW product or any further CoD titles. Best of luck to Treyarch, but Infinity Ward can rot for all that most serious players care.

Re:Call of Duty Dead For Long-Standing Fans (2, Insightful)

Kazzahdrane (882423) | about 8 years ago | (#15676698)

Remember that not everyone plays games online, I enjoyed CoD2 and haven't gone online with it even once. OTOH, CoD2 is still the #1 most played 360 game on Xbox Live, so don't pretend that it's "withering on the vine".

Sounds to me like you feel personally voilated by Infinity Ward and have decided that everyone hates them as much as you do. Not so, certainly 360-wise there is a lot of CoD2 love around.

Re:Call of Duty Dead For Long-Standing Fans (1)

crossmr (957846) | about 8 years ago | (#15677579)

"If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing." - Anatole France

Just because its popular with the masses doesn't mean its quality. These things are not dependent on one another.

Re:Call of Duty Dead For Long-Standing Fans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15677884)

"A witty phrase proves nothing." Voltaire

Just because it's popular with the masses doesn't mean it's not quality. These things are not dependent on one another.

Re:Call of Duty Dead For Long-Standing Fans (1)

Kazzahdrane (882423) | about 8 years ago | (#15679920)

I wasn't really trying to suggest that. What I was saying that the fact that it's popular with the masses disagrees with the idea that no one likes the CoD series and it's doomed to failure just because a few hardcore CoD fans were unhappy withe the CoD2 online experience.

Re:Call of Duty Dead For Long-Standing Fans (1)

crossmr (957846) | about 8 years ago | (#15680044)

Many people would see a decline in quality as a failure. Success isn't measure solely by your monetary gain.

Re:Call of Duty Dead For Long-Standing Fans (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | about 8 years ago | (#15677035)

"It didn't help that the "all-new from-the-ground-up" Call of Duty 2 was actually just Call of Duty 1 with a slightly upgraded rendering engine and dumbed-down interface."

I was actually very appreciative of the way they updated the game engine. The original CoD ran smooth as silk for me and it was jarring to see how choppy everything was on my fairly decent system at full detail (Athlon XP 3400, 1.5GB RAM, 6600GT). I flipped one option to DirectX 7 and I got what I really wanted - another add-on to CoD. The game still looks great after all this time and I get a solid 60 frames.

Plus, I can't speak for multiplayer cuz I find it boring as hell, but I love the minimal interface in single player. Life bars and health packs are so 1985. It's not very realistic to be shot in the face 6 times, rest, and be fully healed, but taking out such a well established interface cliche took some creative thinking. It's a risky measure that I happen to love because I don't have to take my eyes off the battlefield.

Re:Call of Duty Dead For Long-Standing Fans (1)

JFitzsimmons (764599) | about 8 years ago | (#15681223)

So wait, it is realistic to be shot 6 times in the body and just regenerate it back in 10 seconds as long as you don't get shot again? I haven't played anything but CoD2 on 360, but it reminded me a lot of Halo 2: Regenerating "health", two weapon carry, melee, one-button-grenades. In terms of gameplay, just swap dual wield for the ability to use iron sights and you've almost got the same sort of game.

Re:Call of Duty Dead For Long-Standing Fans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15691677)

Yeah using a medkit to regenerate the health from six gunshots and being able to go out to get shoot a few hundred mroe times is anymore believable. They just removed the "hunt for medkit" feature of the game.

Re:Call of Duty Dead For Long-Standing Fans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15677677)

If I came off sounding like I was a bit pissed... it's because I (and at least several thousand other people) am. I should have been a bit more specific, and said "PC gamers" and "people who also play multiplayer". There aren't... too many... issues with the singleplayer side of things. PC gamers made IW and the CoD franchise happen - and as a community there are few left who have anything positive to say about Infinity Ward. From the "hush-hush" hype fest leading up to the launch of CoD2 to the "hush-hush" *crickets chirping* support we got from IW for 6 months after release the great majority of non-casual PC CoD2 multiplayer gamers feel as if we've been had and violated.

There is a long history to this, which is of Machiavellian complexity and soap-opera histrionics. If you search around, you'll find plenty of evidence of the ill-will that PC/Multiplayer gamers feel for this franchise at the moment. Don't bother with the "Official" CoD forums, they've been hijacked and sanitized.

I can't speak for the "love" that XBox360 users have for the game (as I will never own a console), however that's been a bumpy ride from the start as well. I think that the savegame glitch, shoddy XBox Live interface, inability to host more than 4 people (at first, this may have changed) or stay with them after a map rotation, and making suckers pay $$$ (or Xbox money, whichever) for old re-hashed (and very glitchy) maps like Harbor (which has been in CoD, CoD:UO, and CoD2 now) says at least a little something about how IW operates. It should also be noted that Microsoft refuses to give out concrete hard numbers for Xbox Live activity, so claims that "it's not dying" should be taken with a grain of salt.

If, as a console player, you feel "love" for it - then I am happy for you. I want all gamers to have fun playing their games.

The point I was trying to make - perhaps not too clearly - was that there is a very large and established fanbase for CoD in the PC sphere of influence that has been outright urinated on by Infinity Ward. That fanbase consists of people who play online for both fun and competition - and people like myself who have spend considerable time and money organizing and hosting websites, servers, clans, leagues, etc....

People were led to expect a new and exciting game, and did not get it. If you are making an "entirely new engine from the ground up", is there any rational explanation why certain engine-specific bugs and exploits (that were fixed in the original Call of Duty) would wind up in both the Xbox and PC versions of CoD2? Doesn't sound like a new game to me. Sounds more like IW enjoyed the concept of slapping new paint on an old whore and selling it for money.

People were led to expect "more". What they got was "less". PC gamers do not like playing FPS games with dumbed-down console-style interfaces, contrary to what IW says. I have more than 3 buttons available on my "keyboard and mouse". Grant Collier personally insulted mappers and modders across the planet when he said "they just aren't there". Players staged the first-ever game server shutdown last December because of the problems the game has - and the response was another 5 month wait to introduce a patch that screwed things up worse than before.

My point is that IW lied to their fanbase - and their fanbase is going to be voting with their wallets. Game software companies need to held accountable for their behavior, and IW has ruined what was formerly a great franchise with their "who cares about the customer" attitude. The same attitude they've shown to the console community as well.

Enjoy your gaming!

Re:Call of Duty Dead For Long-Standing Fans (1)

ChaosDiscord (4913) | about 8 years ago | (#15678381)

Maybe the online play suffered, but many of us are fans of CoD because of the strength of the single player campaign. From that standpoint CoD2 is a great game. It does lack some of the more memorable scenes from CoD1 (the suicidal landing at Stalingrad is one of my favorite moments in any game ever). Still, the play is rock solid. It looks good and is a blast to play. The "healthy-injured-dead" wound system kept the game moving and risky without the "I think if I backtrack for three minutes I'll find a med-kit" that most single play FPSers suffer from. The play is linear, again helping to keep the action going, but you are constantly making lots of satisfying tactical decisions.

Among by friends who are fans of FPSs (and really don't care about online play), CoD2 is generally held to be among the best.

Re:Call of Duty Dead For Long-Standing Fans (1)

Rifter13 (773076) | about 8 years ago | (#15679244)

CoD 1 and 2 both were great single player games. I have only played CoD 1/2 over a LAN, and have found both version to be a LOT of fun. What I find annoying, is companies build up a franchise that is well-loved on a PC, and then port it over to the consoles, where it flourishes, and then the next version of the game is a PC port of a console game. Ubisoft has been doing this to us with the Tom Clancy games recently. It gets frustrating to support these game companies, and have them spit in your face once they have gotten the market penetration needed in consoles.

Jump to Consoles (1)

microTodd (240390) | about 8 years ago | (#15676101)

OK, I didn't RTFA, but...

How come every time a great game designed for PC starts targeting a console the game ends up sucking?

Deus Ex -> Deus Ex 2
Morrowind -> Oblivion

So if CoD3 targets the console from the beginning, is the game going to be not as good?

Re:Jump to Consoles (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | about 8 years ago | (#15676631)

Morrowind came out on the X-box, too. I don't know why anyone would play it on there, but it was available.

I think that Max Payne 2 was a PC/Console dual release, and IMHO it was a much better game than the first one (remember, how dull Max Payne 1 got, starting at the parking garage level?).

That said, yes, both of the games that you cited suffered severely from too much focus on console crap. And both Morrowind and Deus Ex are on my list of games that I'd gladly pay $50 for again, just to play the exact same game with updated graphics (and maybe new voice acting in the Hong Kong leve :) )

Re:Jump to Consoles (1)

crossmr (957846) | about 8 years ago | (#15677954)

Xbox version came out 5 weeks after PC version of Max Payne 2, same with Morrowind. Morrowind also had an updated game of the year edition that tweaked gameplay for the console. They were not simultaneous releases and they weren't developed with the console as the base system of play.

Re:Jump to Consoles (1)

ObligatoryUserName (126027) | about 8 years ago | (#15676686)

Oblivion isn't a good example of a game that moved to consoles and sucked, it's a counter-example. It has a Gameranking score of 93% on the PC while Morrowind has a score of 88% on the PC.

To speak to your questions though, when games released on Console & PCs games have problems, the usualy suspects are designing for different control schemes and different audiences.

Oblivion and GTA are strong examples of games that have defied those problems, so it's not inherient in targeting consoles and PCs at the same time - it probably comes down to limited resources and the talent and focus of the individual teams.

Re:Jump to Consoles (1)

John Nowak (872479) | about 8 years ago | (#15676739)

It has a Gameranking score of 93% on the PC while Morrowind has a score of 88% on the PC.

Oh, well in that case...

Re:Jump to Consoles (1)

crossmr (957846) | about 8 years ago | (#15677880)

It has a high ranking because its shiny and it was hyped to death.
Popularity does not equal quality.
These two things are independent of one another. Plenty of quality games are not popular and plenty of popular games really aren't that great. Oblivion WAS dumbed down for the console. Its a perfect example of something that was ruined by. They made sweeping changes to the game as a result of it going to the console and it turned out as garbage. The backlash lasted for weeks on the forum. The AI sucked, the gameplay was honestly not that great, the total lack of the ability to map keys sucked, the interface was not great.

Re:Jump to Consoles (1)

crossmr (957846) | about 8 years ago | (#15677816)

Because consoles are poor gaming platforms compared to the PC. They're cheap because they just don't have the same abilities. Static hardware means that at release IF the console is designed by current PC standards your first few games might be on par graphically. Next year, you're releasing crappy graphics if you don't clean it up for the PC. Even oblivion when compared side by side was shown to be better on the PC already and it was just released.

Processors aren't good in the consoles. I've linked to this numerous times and I'll continue to link to it: http://crystaltips.typepad.com/wonderland/2005/03/ burn_the_house_.html [typepad.com] read what Chris Hecker says about the processors in the xbox360 and the P3. In order processing is not good for AI. Games released for both PC and Console that aren't cleaned up will have dumbed down AI.

Control schemes suck on the console. They're planning on releasing Battle for Middle Earth 2 and EA thinks they've figured out a magic control scheme for consoles to use in an RTS game. First words "complicated". The developers didn't even clean oblivion up enough to allow PC users to map keys. Interfaces are dumbed down to work for console users.

Then money, the publisher does not want to pay a developer to spend 2 or 3 months extra cleaning up a PC game so that it actaully plays and looks good on the system.

Consoles are the lowest common denominator and when you build for the lowest common denominator you very rarely are building quality.

DoD:S free this weekend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15676597)

Day of defeat: source is on for free all this weekend, which out CoD's CoD, imho.

Not another one... (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | about 8 years ago | (#15677555)

I suppose Call of Duty 3 could be based in the Pacific Theater which has generally been unexplored territory as far as WW2 FPS go. But in the end I can't help but think enough already. How many more damn FPS games do we need, not to mention the overused WW2 setting.

These developers have about as much imagination as a pile of rocks. And whats worse they continue to promote each subsequent sequel like it's a great feat in gaming.

This explains why I have purchased a new game in close to a year and why I don't find much of anything compelling anymore.

they chose WWII because it was safe (1)

hansreiser (6963) | about 8 years ago | (#15678052)

I mean think about it. It was the "good war", and their existing users liked it, so why add risk by doing a war you don't know everyone will like? That's the way real marketers think guys, sigh.

I personally, would have done speculative storylines involving wars with Iran, China, Sudan, Russia, North Korea, and maybe just for laughs, France, etc. Doing an India vs. Pakistan nuclear aftermath war could be fascinating as a storyline. I mean, if we are to have firefights, let the architecture and background sound be interesting.... These guys need real writers is the problem.... If someone wants a real game storyline written, let me know.;-)

As for vegetation being too dense in Vietnam, I don't buy it, hiding in the grass was the best part of Battlefield Vietnam.

I hated the damage model for Battlefield though. I mean, when you know it takes two hits to kill someone, it is just so fake. I would really love it if we had to hit just the right part of the tank to get the maximal effect, etc.

The problem we have though is that as the money for these games gets bigger, the suits move in, and the respect for the consumer and the artist developer go down. EA coats all of their games with a layer of slime somehow. What can I say. Go buy games like hearts of iron, jagged alliance, and perimeter, where the developers obviously really care and no suits were in control. I do like playing CoD 2 though. It is the best multiplayer FPS that I know of at the moment.

Hmm, is it just me? (1)

SloppyElvis (450156) | about 8 years ago | (#15678464)

Or does this look exactly like COD2? WTF? Console kids are gonna' shell out another $50 for the same damned game they already have? Since when did IW become EA?

and no PC!? Are they nuts!? What self-respecting gamer plays FPS on console?

???

*sigh*
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