Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare may take place in space, but players shouldn’t expect the shooter to go full-on sci-fi.
Speaking with the PlayStation Blog during E3 2016, the game’s senior art director Brian Horton explained how the development team wanted to make space combat as accurate as possible, without nerfing “the core principles” of the franchise.
“We imagined a merger between NASA and the navy: you take the navy elements with the military aspects – things like battleships – and you push that into space with a NASA aesthetic and that fusion created what we think is a very plausible future,” Horton explained.
“If you get too wrapped up in what is absolutely, scientifically correct, you nerf some of the core principles of what makes a great Call of Duty game.”
While the team took some licence with the scientific aspects, it didn’t want to go into the realm of laser beams and aliens.
“This is a mass-market product after all, like an action movie,” he said. “We always start with the things that we know and then we’ll start to extrapolate.”
One of the liberties Infinity Ward took was making conflicts in zero gravity faster to navigate. With movement in space slow, the team had to find a way in which the player could move about quickly. This is where the grappling hook came into being. Using this piece of equipment will allow the player to “zip” to a location or grab an enemy to pull them closer.
“That grapple mechanic is – for us – pushing toward the boundary of science fiction, but you can still imagine someone engineering it,” said Horton.
How grenades work in space was also discussed by the team during development, and the idea of a seeker grenade was born along with the spider bot which will home in on an enemy, and explode upon attaching to them.
But what about sound? There isn’t sound in space, which would allow players to hear explosions and other military applications. To combat the lack of sound and the inability for players to react to audio cues, the suit will simulate sounds and impacts through photons. This will provide the player with tactical awareness of the environment.
“We’ve dampened the sound a little, but it’s still there to make sure the player has a good time,” he said. “This is actually not science fiction either – it’s actually very plausible.”
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