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Modern Warfare 3: Infinity Ward discusses Party Chat, map making, and hotspots

Infinity Ward's Robert Bowling was in New York yesterday for a Modern Warfare 3 event, during which he chatted to various outlets regarding Party Chat, map hot spots, and some of the changes and addition coming to multiplayer.

Party Chat to be enabled for certain modes

According to Robert Bowling, who is a creative strategist at Infinity Ward, Party Chat was blocked in Modern Warfare 2 due to it being easier to cheat using the mode.

Players still found a way around this, especially ones who just wanted to be able to chat with their pals when running around in multiplayer. The more competitive folks though, weren't interested in Part Chat because of the aforementioned ability to cheat.

However, Infinity Ward has acknowledged that Party Chat should only be blocked when certain modes are being played, and Bowling explained to MTV where the option will and won't be made available.

"When designing multiplayer, especially Modern Warfare multiplayer, you have 30 million people," said Bowling. "They all are very different. You have guys playing just for fun, just want to jump on there and have a good time. You have your hardcore competitive guys. You have your casual guys that maybe are competitive, they're just not as good. It's all about delivering a platform to allow you to have fun the way you want to have fun without hindering the other audiences.

"A major focus of Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer is allowing you to have a lot more control over [how you play], looking at those restrictions and doing away with stuff like [Party Chat blocking] that's super hardcore. It's about giving options. We will have places where competitive guys go where you might have restrictive voice chat. And then you have an option to maybe play that same mode without the same restrictions if that's the type of player you are.

"The only place where Party Chat should be blocked is Search & Destroy, and won't be blocked for modes like Dom[ination]."

Multiplayer maps will have fewer hotspots

Bowling also touched upon how the multiplatyer maps will be a bit different this time around, but stated that each will have five hot spots maximum, so less-skilled players will have fewer areas to "think about."

Speaking with Kotaku at the New York event, Bowling said having fewer hot spots "discourages the more camper mentality that seemed to emerge in the map design of Modern Warfare 2."

He also explained that multiplayer maps would put less emphasis on combat verticality and would instead offer selective, tiered conflict along with less reliance on air support.

"Modern Warfare style is, for me, all about the high-speed, fast-paced—and I'm talking in terms of smooth controls and 60-frames-per-second framerate—infantry-focused combat," said Bowling. "And it's all focused on that gun-on-gun gameplay, especially in Modern Warfare 3.

"I feel like it's something we nailed with Call of Duty 4. We moved away from it a little bit with MW2, relying heavily on air support, killstreaks, perks and stuff like that. Modern Warfare 3, very much [is] building up from that Call of Duty 4 mentality of gun-on-gun, fast-paced infantry gameplay."

Competitive multiplayer and map making

Infinity Ward and Activision plan to touch upon the competitive multiplayer mode during the Call of Duty XP fan festival in September, so Bowling wouldn't discuss the mode at the New York event. However, he did say the hardcore fans will be pleased with the developers new philosophy on map making.

"Call of Duty 4 was much more simplistic in its map design: You have the sight points, you have the routes players will take. It was very flat in terms of where you could go. Modern Warfare 2 had a major focus on vertical combat, increasing the multi-floor levels, increasing the number of buildings you go into," he told Kotaku.

"There were a lot more places you could go than just the main routes and buildings where you were meant to go. That encourages and discourages a lot of types of gameplay. With Modern Warfare 3, it's much, much more on allowing you to focus on what's necessary; it's making vertical combat when it makes sense but it's not a blanket rule across every map. You will have some maps that focus on verticality and that are focused on multiple things. And then you have other maps that are very limited on the hotspots. The hotspots are a key thing on Modern Warfare 3. We went into each map wanting you to be able to turn a corner and know very easily that these are the three—no more than five—places I need to check.

"For the hardcore guys who have been with us since the beginning, that speaks volumes: the map design, the return to focus on gun-on-gun, all that stuff. I like to always make sure the hardcore players know we're building it up for them."

Modern Warfare 3 releases on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 in November.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

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Stephany Nunneley-Jackson

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Stephany is VG247’s News Editor, with 22 years experience (with 15 of them at VG247). With a brain that lacks adhesive ducks, the ill-tempered, chaotic neutral fembot does her best to bring you the most interesting gaming news. She is also unofficially the site’s Lord of the Rings/Elder Scrolls Editor.