When it came time start developing the multiplayer maps in Modern Warfare 3, Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer looked at maps contained in previous Call of Duty offerings in order to determine not only what made them fun, but how to implement more verticality and flow.
Flow, movement, and campers
Speaking during a round table at Call of Duty XP, MW3 producer Mark Rubin said one of the main goals with the multiplayer, was to make sure the flow was implemented properly, which would encourage players to keep moving and discourage camping.
“One of the things when we started Modern Warfare 2, was we wanted to introduce – for instance this is just one of many aspects – more verticality in the gameplay,” said Rubin.
“So what happens from a player perspective, is, let’s say I am coming down a hallway or a path: normally I would come to a point and I need to look left, straight or right. In Modern Warfare 2 there were a lot more points that you had to pay attention to, which meant staying alive was much harder. There was more to have to worry about.
“When we looked at that with MW3, we decided that we wanted to get the cool part of verticality and the cool kind of engagements, but we didin’t want to make it so complicated that anywhere you ran you were under fire or that there was danger from every single point. We wanted to have a really good flow to match, and I think that is something CoD4 had nailed really well. I think Crash is still considered one of the best multiplayer maps in any FPS. It has good flow, so our designers spent a lot of time going back to the old Call of Duty maps and other older games to look at the great maps from other games.
“We wanted to determine what is it about the flow that is interesting and fun. If it is too simple, then it is just not interesting. If it is too complex, then it is not as fun.”
Rubin explained that multiplayer maps with good flow make players more comfortable, but another incentive was needed to keep them moving instead of hiding around a blind corner. This is where Kill Confirmed came from, which keeps players moving in order to collect dog tags dropped by bested players.
“Having a map with good flow makes you feel comfortable moving through the map,” he said. “If the flow is not good, people won’t move as much because they are paranoid of getting shot. So, having a good flow is one thing, the other thing is to try not to put – well, you always put these points in because it is impossible to test as much as the public will on day one, honestly when the game ships, during the first 10 minutes you will have more test time on the game than we have in the entire two years of development because of the numbers.
“What it comes down to is trying not to put in places that are cheap. But that is always a problem, and we always have a concern about that.”
Group dynamics in Kill Confirmed
The developers also wanted to reward players differently in MW3, and encourage them to do more than just KDR, which is where one of the ideas for Kill Confirmed came from.
“Things like objectives helping your killstreaks, and more game modes, like Kill Confirmed for instance,” said Rubin. “It’s sort of a Team Deathmatch alternative. It really promotes people moving around and the same kind of fun gameplay that TDM is, but with a twist of having to collect all those tags and keeping you moving and fluid.”
Rubin explained that when players are participating the in the Kill Confirmed mode, different dynamics appear between players where groups start moving together, and different player types appear as well.
“Rushers – the guys who run in and try to grab tags and try to get some kills are just one type,” he said. “You’ll also have these guys in the back covering those guys, and people using tags as bait. You’ll see the tag right there to go pick up, but, you know there’s a guy coming using it as bait.
“So, there’s a lot of interesting dynamics that appear out of that, so it’s not about just making the map itself different, but making the gameplay around the map different to support a more variety of gameplay instead of camping and stuff.”
Modern Warfare 3, a joint effort between Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer, is out on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 November 8. Treyarch is handling the Wii version.