Rob Bowling Part 2: Games are ‘more diverse than ever’

Following on from Wednesday, Rob Bowling, creative strategist at Infinity Ward, discusses Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer and the size and scope of modern games.

What new aspects of multiplayer have you the most personally excited about Modern Warfare 3?

The stuff I’m most excited about is the focus on objective play now, because that’s the sort of player I am. I love ‘search and destroy’, I love ‘domination’. So I like that I’m now incentivised to play that way. It allows me, being the type of player that I am, to have the same (or similar) experiences as the core team deathmatch style players. Before, I could do it, but without the incentives it was a different experience. Now I can worry about stuff like the portable radar and the trophy system rather than having to focus my game on the stuff which is just going to get me more kills.

Was there something about the way people play Call of Duty Black Ops multiplayer which led to these changes?

Not so much Black Ops, because we’re really building this as a sequel to Modern Warfare 2, so it was really looking at how players played that. The cool thing about this franchise right now is that each iteration is a different style. The Modern Warfare style is very different than the Black Ops style. So, we’d look at how people are using kill streaks and how kill streaks are changing the way people play, and adapt that.

So is it a friendly competition between yourselves and Treyarch as you back and forth between each iteration?

Exactly, yeah. But the cool thing is that when we take from the franchise, we take from it as a whole. So while Infinity Ward are currently building off the style of modern warfare, we’re listening to what people love about Black Ops as well, and what they wanted to see added, and we’re paying close attention to what Treyarch have done really well, and we’re bringing that to the Modern Warfare franchise.

Does the huge rise of indie developers mean massive changes for people at the top of the game like Infinity Ward?

Games are definitely more diversified than they ever have been before, because you can have indie games that have tremendous success, which I think is a great thing. And I think that’s what you want the industry to be, you don’t want it to be a blockbuster-driven thing. You don’t want any industry to be like that, you don’t want movies, games or TV to be like that.

I think now more than ever it’s going to continue in that trend of growing on both ends of the spectrum, because you can have a game like Call of Duty that has 30 million people online, but then you can also have a Facebook game with the same number.

Is there room for a B grade market? Is there a price point and a set of production values which exist where a developer can go in not being strictly indie, but neither competing with the likes of Call of Duty?

I don’t think any developer would go into a game actively trying to make something which was seocnd tier, but I think it’s extremely important to put their personality into the game. You should take influence from everywhere in the industry, both inside and outside your genre. We do. And we are flattered when other people like something that we did.

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