The engine powering Call of Duty: Ghosts has not been built from the ground-up as per previous reports.
Does that make it an ‘upgraded' engine as opposed to a ‘new' engine? That's a matter of semantics, argues Infinity Ward's animation lead Zach Volker.
When we're talking about a new engine we're talking about upgrading significant systems within in that engine,” Volker told Official PlayStation Magazine. We're not talking about throwing it all away and saying we're starting from the ground up.
There is certainly going to be remnants here and there of our pieces of our last engine, where it was appropriate when, you know what, this doesn't need any changing. It's good the way it is.
Developing a new engine comes out of a necessity of something. So it comes out of necessity of what we have now is an open bandwidth that can accept more things going on and so maybe the current engine can't push that. Or it comes out of a certain particular feature that we want to create that we haven't been able to in the past. So looking at our current situation, focusing more on the next generation of hardware, we are now going to have the bandwidth to build many more things and our engine just can't handle as much as we'd like to throw at it right now. And that necessitated the need to go onto a new engine.
It's a fine line when you define a new engine, and augmentations to an engine. What you want to be careful of is making too much of a distinction of a new engine. As we develop and we add features, at what point does it become a new engine? Because it's impossible to develop a new engine from the ground up in a two year cycle. You would need an army of 200 engineers.
So what we do is we say ‘okay what are the things that are significant and that we would say that are encompassing of the engine or its visual quality? Are those being upgraded in a significant way? Alright then, I think that warrants that we've got a new engine on our hands.”