Modern Warfare 3: Infinity Ward discusses Party Chat, map making, and hotspots

Thursday, 14th July 2011 19:05 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Infinity Ward’s Robert Bowling was in New York yesterday for a Modern Warfare 3 event, during which he chatted to various outlets regarding Party Chat, map hot spots, and some of the changes and addition coming to multiplayer.

Party Chat to be enabled for certain modes

According to Robert Bowling, who is a creative strategist at Infinity Ward, Party Chat was blocked in Modern Warfare 2 due to it being easier to cheat using the mode.

Players still found a way around this, especially ones who just wanted to be able to chat with their pals when running around in multiplayer. The more competitive folks though, weren’t interested in Part Chat because of the aforementioned ability to cheat.

However, Infinity Ward has acknowledged that Party Chat should only be blocked when certain modes are being played, and Bowling explained to MTV where the option will and won’t be made available.

“When designing multiplayer, especially Modern Warfare multiplayer, you have 30 million people,” said Bowling. “They all are very different. You have guys playing just for fun, just want to jump on there and have a good time. You have your hardcore competitive guys. You have your casual guys that maybe are competitive, they’re just not as good. It’s all about delivering a platform to allow you to have fun the way you want to have fun without hindering the other audiences.

“A major focus of Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer is allowing you to have a lot more control over [how you play], looking at those restrictions and doing away with stuff like [Party Chat blocking] that’s super hardcore. It’s about giving options. We will have places where competitive guys go where you might have restrictive voice chat. And then you have an option to maybe play that same mode without the same restrictions if that’s the type of player you are.

“The only place where Party Chat should be blocked is Search & Destroy, and won’t be blocked for modes like Dom[ination].”

Multiplayer maps will have fewer hotspots

Bowling also touched upon how the multiplatyer maps will be a bit different this time around, but stated that each will have five hot spots maximum, so less-skilled players will have fewer areas to “think about.”

Speaking with Kotaku at the New York event, Bowling said having fewer hot spots “discourages the more camper mentality that seemed to emerge in the map design of Modern Warfare 2.”

He also explained that multiplayer maps would put less emphasis on combat verticality and would instead offer selective, tiered conflict along with less reliance on air support.

“Modern Warfare style is, for me, all about the high-speed, fast-paced—and I’m talking in terms of smooth controls and 60-frames-per-second framerate—infantry-focused combat,” said Bowling. “And it’s all focused on that gun-on-gun gameplay, especially in Modern Warfare 3.

“I feel like it’s something we nailed with Call of Duty 4. We moved away from it a little bit with MW2, relying heavily on air support, killstreaks, perks and stuff like that. Modern Warfare 3, very much [is] building up from that Call of Duty 4 mentality of gun-on-gun, fast-paced infantry gameplay.”

Competitive multiplayer and map making

Infinity Ward and Activision plan to touch upon the competitive multiplayer mode during the Call of Duty XP fan festival in September, so Bowling wouldn’t discuss the mode at the New York event. However, he did say the hardcore fans will be pleased with the developers new philosophy on map making.

“Call of Duty 4 was much more simplistic in its map design: You have the sight points, you have the routes players will take. It was very flat in terms of where you could go. Modern Warfare 2 had a major focus on vertical combat, increasing the multi-floor levels, increasing the number of buildings you go into,” he told Kotaku.

“There were a lot more places you could go than just the main routes and buildings where you were meant to go. That encourages and discourages a lot of types of gameplay. With Modern Warfare 3, it’s much, much more on allowing you to focus on what’s necessary; it’s making vertical combat when it makes sense but it’s not a blanket rule across every map. You will have some maps that focus on verticality and that are focused on multiple things. And then you have other maps that are very limited on the hotspots. The hotspots are a key thing on Modern Warfare 3. We went into each map wanting you to be able to turn a corner and know very easily that these are the three—no more than five—places I need to check.

“For the hardcore guys who have been with us since the beginning, that speaks volumes: the map design, the return to focus on gun-on-gun, all that stuff. I like to always make sure the hardcore players know we’re building it up for them.”

Modern Warfare 3 releases on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 in November.



  1. DSB

    Definitely a bad idea with the hotspots. 9 hotspots isn’t going to confuse anyone, and it obviously didn’t with either MW2 or Black Ops, which was a lot more confusing. The beauty of MW2 was the fact that there were so many spots you always had a way around back, but never so many that you couldn’t play the map.

    They’re definitely gonna fuck it up if they think CoD4 is something to aim for. They’re probably panicking, both from making a smash hit, being outsold by Treyarch, and having to deal with new management.

    Sounds like a lot of jitters to me.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. OrbitMonkey

    Robert you don’t need to keep telling me it’s 60fps bro & yeah I loved CoD4, but its not my holy grail, y’know?

    Just don’t fuck with my M4 carbine, k?

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Xuchilbara

    @2 – Who Whoa Whoa…. Easy Brosif….

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Maximum Payne

    @2 O they didn’t fucked up M4 its just the same sound and look from MW2!

    #4 3 years ago
  5. OrbitMonkey

    @4 Sweet ;)

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Asterixx

    It’s definitely the right thing to do keeping party chat away from S&D. As for the maps I actually think the maps in CoD4 were a lot better than in MW2. I don’t want to have to check to see if somebody has actually bothered to climb up a ladder, jump to a crane and sprint the length of the map where he can camp until he achieves whatever streak.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. DSB

    @6 You’d be able to take that guy out with most weapons, but there’s really only one map of the original ones where that’s even possible. The DLC was crap though.

    My main problem with CoD4 was that the levels were based on setting a scene, rather than enabling gameplay. On a map like Creek whoever started below would essentially be cannonfodder if the upper team were even halfway experienced, and maps like Showdown would be all about taking the center courtyard, because whoever wanted to take it would have to round a corner and get the first shot, which is pretty much impossible if someone has it locked down. Then you had levels like Crossfire or Strike with those long draws that were equally easy to camp out, either in the alleys or straight down the middle.

    I definitely don’t miss seeing those very same strategies over and over and over again. In MW2 there was no one forcing you to take one avenue, you would always be able to blast your way through one side or the other. There were too many hotspots to keep them all locked down unless you were playing a very coordinated clan. And that keeps things dynamic.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. DarkElfa

    Give me a sec, I’m trying to figure out exactly how many shits I don’t give about fucking party chat in MW3.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. TikiSadZombie


    #9 3 years ago
  10. Asterixx

    @7 Yeah that’s a fair point and I do take that guy out. xD
    It’s just annoying when they’re racking up kills on shit players and by the time you actually notice them there and kill them your teammates have awarded him/her a harrier or whatever. Also CoD DLC maps always seem to be crap for some reason it’s like they hire entirely new map designers for the DLC or something.

    Yeah I kind of see what you’re getting at but there were some fairly even maps on CoD4 (Bloc, Bog) and some fairly uneven maps on MW2. For example whoever is defending (S&D) in Skidrow has a much easier spawn location with instant access to buildings as opposed to spawning out in the open in a spot with difficult building access points.

    I guess there are good maps for both games really though and when they’re trying to design them for a variety of game modes lot’s of asymmetric maps are going to appear with unfair advantages.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. DSB

    @10 Hell is other people :P

    Sadly I don’t think they’ll ever invent a teambased shooter where your teammates aren’t perfectly capable of losing the game on your behalf. I think it’s a lot more annoying in the heavier coop shooters, because beyond simply being faster and better than the other team, you also fully depend on everybody else doing the same.

    You’re right though, there were great CoD4 maps. I loved Overgrown and Pipeline personally, and MW2 doesn’t get it right in all the game modes, and Estate is often a real problem – But the maps themselves are just extremely consistent. Each map is basically a grid of 3×3 avenues, comprising 3 main chokepoints with 6 lesser points, and that always leaves you with options.

    I was out of CoD4 as soon as I had my last unlock, ditto Bad Company 2. They just didn’t manage to change it up enough for me.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. IL DUCE

    @1 all CoDs have been pretty much downhill after CoD4 (MW2 was the closest…since it was IW) so by aiming for the balance between CoD4 and MW2 they are doing the right thing…World at War and Black Ops maps were total fucking garbage…I played Black Ops for two weeks and couldn’t stand it anymore…MW2 was sick though just got played out but now I’m back to playing it again after a year away from it and I’m digging it…esp since the majority of assholes and little kids are on Halo Reach or Black Ops…

    @7 Strike from CoD4 was a MW2 map also…

    #12 3 years ago
  13. poopoofruits

    COD4 is the best COD out there in my opinion. It had me so hooked I didn’t bother buying WAW, I just waited for MW2. They’re doing the right thing with decreasing the hotspots. This way people don’t get shot in all directions and spawns will make a lot more sense compared to MW2 (less camping too).

    #13 3 years ago
  14. DSB

    If anything it means the exact opposite. More people are going to be crowding those hotspots, and it’s going to be even harder to dislodge them.

    Of course there’s no way to say for sure until we see the finished result, but basically the more points you have to hold, the harder it is to fully lock down the map. 8 guys divided on 6 avenues are a lot easier to kill than 8 guys divided between 2 or 3.

    #14 3 years ago


    #15 3 years ago
  16. DarkElfa

    Wait, I figured it out, it’s zero.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. DrDamn

    Good to hear Party Chat is being reinstated for some modes. That was a silly move with MW2 – the people who want to cheat will just do it a different way, no need to piss off the people who just want to chat with friends.

    Number of hotspots is not the issue so much as the design of those hotspots. If they are well designed with a variety of options then there isn’t really an issue. If fewer hotspots means a generally less confusing map that’s fine, as long as there are hidden depths to the designs. Don’t like the reduced emphasis on verticality though, quite like a bit of verticality in my map designs personally.

    Overall I did really like the design of the MW1 maps. Essentially because there was distinction and variety to them. Each offered something different, even the ones I didn’t like and didn’t suit my usual play style I could see what they were offering.

    #17 3 years ago

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