Call of Duty: Modern Warfare developer Infinity Ward is pushing some very high player counts in its biggest maps, without turning it into battle royale.
Before Black Ops 4 Blackout, the mere thought of big-team battles in Call of Duty would have probably been dismissed as wishful thinking. Last year, Treyarch stretched its tech to the limits, but it managed to create a 100-player battle royale mode on a large map.
Modern Warfare is bringing its own, fresh tech, and Infinity Ward says the game can comfortably handle high-player-count game modes. In fact, the team has been testing various setups to find a good balance.
At the Modern Warfare multiplayer reveal event this week, the developer had a number of game modes and maps on display. The highest was five-flag Domination for 40 players (20v20).
“We’ve played with higher player counts but it’s just not here today. Those buns are still cooking in the oven,” said Geoff Smith, multiplayer design director. Asked whether 20v20 is the ceiling, Smith revealed that the team has pushed it to much higher levels.
“These battle maps get much bigger. And a higher player count. We play 64 all the time and over a hundred. We’re just trying to find that balance of what is the sweet spot.”
All of this is possible in traditional Call of Duty game modes as well, not necessarily battle royale. “Oh it’s not a battle royale,” clarified Smith. “It’s core [multiplayer]. It’s five-flag Domination.”
Round time is another factor the developer takes into consideration when dealing with these large game modes, as Smith explained.
“A lot of these numbers we noodle all the time, from player count to time, you want it to last a good bit, just so you have that feeling that you can explore a bit and not feel so pressured to achieve an objective,” he said.
By the same token, having that many players in the same space could also create performance problems when it comes to killstreaks (not to mention balance). This is another reason why Infinity Ward didn’t show any of that this week, as many specifics are still being worked out.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare comes to PC, PS4, and Xbox One on October 25.
The interview was conducted by Chris Priestman.