Infinity Ward was tired of how firefights play out in most shooters, so it set out to do something about it with the gunplay in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
With the focus on a more realistic, grounded theme and weaponry in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare comes a different approach to the simple act of firing a gun in the game.
We went and played the game this week and had a chance to pick Infinity Ward’s brain about a few things, chief among them were weapon mechanics. Multiplayer design director Geoff Smith was keen to point out that modern shooters strip out the depth in weapon mechanics and end up making encounters feel very samey.
“We really wanted to add this depth and replayability to every single firefight and we feel like some of the guns in other games have gotten really laser gunny,” Smith explained.
This is why weapons in Modern Warfare are less accurate, which means there’s a lot more recoil to contend with. This offers players willing to compensate an advantage, and justifies the existence of high calibre weapons.
“All the recoils are predictable patterns that you can get used to and start counter steering,” Smith confirmed, adding that this works on both the horizontal and vertical axes.
“Games have kinda gone down this valley of laser gun, where you point, shoot – there’s no real gameplay or characteristic between the weapons,” added animation director Mark Griggsby. “We wanted characteristics for each weapon. So yeah, an AK47 in real life kicks like a mule. But an M4 has a bit more stability to it.”
One important tweak Infinity Ward made to help players more effectively compensate for recoil is the addition of a smart system that knows when you’re trying to – say, pull down to compensate for vertical kick – and stabilise your view so it doesn’t immediately jump down when you’re done.
“if you play on a stick in other games on consoles that have this kind of recoil, and you try to counter it with the stick, you’ll find that you suddenly are looking back down at the ground, which is super annoying,” Smith pointed out.
“So we’ve actually done a little trick under the hood which actually offsets – if you try to counter it we offset you back down to just normal. So you might not even notice it but it just feels better to try to counter that.”
This is in addition to the ability to mount your weapon on the edge of surfaces for even greater accuracy, though obviously at the penalty of mobility.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare launches October 25 on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
The interview was conducted by Chris Priestman.