Call of Duty producer talks Ghosts multiplayer development process

By Catherine Cai, Saturday, 28 September 2013 18:46 GMT

Call of Duty is getting to be a bit of a drag. A yearly release cycle is bound to do that to a franchise. After all, how much innovation can there actually be in a setting where the main focus is on keeping to a tight production schedule?

The pressure’s been on Infinity Ward and Activision to bring innovation to a series that’s been a bit bereft in the creativity department. At the Call of Duty multiplayer event last month, Infinity Ward unveiled a boatload of new stuff: multiplayer modes, perks, and the ability to play multiplayer as a female soldier.

In a short interview with Game Informer, executive producer Mark Rubin explained the team’s process behind crafting new multiplayer modes. “We took the list of game modes and we cut them all way,” he stated. “Every single mode we’ve ever done, let’s take off the game board for me.”

Team members would, rather than simply pitching their new ideas, implement prototypes of their ideas and then have team members play them out. The prototypes would be implemented into previous games’ maps as test maps. Every night, team members would playtest the new multiplayer modes and discuss what features to implement or cut.

“I feel like with Ghosts, we didn’t bloat. We cut a lot. Fans are going to like that. Some people won’t. And we know that,” stated Rubin. “We wanted it to be its own game.”

Refreshingly, Rubin owned up to some of the reasons behind Call of Duty’s multiplayer flaws in the past. “We were a little too serious about multiplayer and we concentrated too much on making sure it was super competitive,” he stated. “Then, for Modern Warfare 3, we introduced this idea of community playlists, community maps, and community modes.” It’s the community modes that inspired Infinity Ward to focus more on fun than seriously, competitive play for its maps.

Ultimately, the difference between Call of Duty: Ghosts and the previous Call of Duty iterations seems to be the team’s change in development philosophy. “Let’s not worry about whether or not this game is fair, competitively,” stated Rubin. “Let’s just make it fun.”

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