In an interview published today on Developmag.com, Infinity Ward’s Mark Rubin has been outlining why the studio’s Call of Duty 4 has been such a massive hit – naming proprietary technology and owner Activision’s encouraging an independent-style production as key benefits.
The game, which has sold over seven million copies since its release in November, has been praised for both its use of next-gen technology and its storyline, which aims to provide a more gripping – and some may say grimly realistic – take on the game’s subtitle ‘Modern Warfare’.
It was the latter which informed the game’s design, said Rubin: “We are a really intense group in the studio, and we wanted to bring that intensity to the gameplay, and bring some hard hitting and high impact scenes in the game. There are moments in the game where you are just shocked, you’re holding the controller and asking yourself ‘did that really happen? That never happens, you can’t kill me!’ We did a lot of things we thought nobody had really done before. We wanted to grab people by the coat and shake them, really get people interested.”
On how this ties with the studio’s stance on technology, he added: “We develop everything in house as we think it’s not a good development/production idea to buy a new engine because you feel that one has more bells and whistles. Any engine can be improved upon, and made to have those same bells and whistles.
“Our theory is to reiterate what we already do well and add the stuff that we want. We wrote our own physics engine, we didn’t use anyone else’s, and we do everything in house, so we’re never thinking now we’re gonna change over to this engine or that engine. It’s our own code so only we can make it work the way we want it to work, otherwise you get what somebody else thought you might want, and not what you really want.”
Famously, the studio won’t be developing the next game yearly sequel in the series it created back in 2003 – instead sister studio Treyarch will be handling development of Call of Duty 5. Rubin explained that both Activision and Infinity Ward have been keen to dodge falling into the yearly production cycle trap for the series – something that is common with other big games franchises.
He said: “We make games independently. If it takes two years we will make a game in two years, if it takes three we’ll make it in three. We’ve been doing this long enough now that we’re in a really good rhythm for doing a game in two years, but as far as the specifics of one studio doing it one year and the other another year, it doesn’t really affect us.”