Modern Warfare 3 producer Mark Rubin has said that Infinity Ward is more concerned with gameplay than trying to "push technology."
Speaking in a round table discussion during Call of Duty XP last weekend, Rubin said IW's philosophy for game development "isn't about how fancy your engine is," but more about pushing "gameplay more than anything else" and letting tech follow.
"For instance, when it came time to design the single-player campaign for Modern Warfare 3, one of the things we wanted to do was have the game exist in cities that people were familiar with," he explained.
"So the previous CoDs were all over the world and they were real exotic, but they weren't places that anyone that played the game would be at or go to.
"In MW3, its big cities - New York, London, Germany, Paris; it's places that people have been or live in currently. When you see the game and its story unfold in your city, that's a big deal. And just because it's in a big city doesn't mean it's not a big deal. Cities, from a technology stand-point, posed a different problem from your standard small villages in the middle of Middle-east or Russia. The landscapes have to be built out further, geometry and buildings that we never had to worry about are all of a sudden a problem, so there is a lot of tech that goes into being able to do these big cities.
"We couldn't just take MW2, and put a bunch of big buildings in it - there was a lot of tech that went into it - so that just shows you one example of how the design drove a tech feature that we didn't have in the past. Not necessarily what's the newest, hottest, cool shader, pixilation or sunlight; that kind of thing.
"We didn't really go that path. Gameplay is the most important thing we care about and tech will support that."
Other than a few updates made over the course of the last few years, Modern Warfare 3 runs on the Infinity Ward engine, the same engine used for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
The game engine has also been used in other Activision games, specifically an enhanced version for World at War. Quantum of Solace also used an altered version.
Modern Warfare 3 is out on November 8 for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.