Robert Bowling of Infinity Ward Talks Call of Duty 4

With the pending release of Call of Duty 4, I took a moment to speak to Robert Bowling, the Community Relations Manager at Infinity Ward. I want to thank Robert and Robert Taylor at Activision for taking the time to setup this interview.

GVK: What is the background and setting for the game?

RB: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare puts you in the middle of a global conflict that has many sides. From fighting as a US Marine Force Recon in the middle east against a well armed militia force, to fighting as part of the British SAS in Russia or storming a cargoship in the middle of the sea. You’ll also be put in the role of a gunner on an AC-130, beind enemy lines as a 2 man sniper team and a lot of other intense scenarios.

GVK: What can you tell us about the A.I. in the game as I have heard that they will not attempt to destroy your cover and other sneaky moves.

RB: The A.I. is extremely advanced in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare as they are always aware of their surroundings. They’ll attempt to move up your flank, take cover as they go, even transverse cars and climb through windows if it’s the quickest and safest way for them to go. Not to mention that their always aware of danger, so their taking shots at not only you, but your entire squad, throwing frags or trying to land a sweet RPG shot on you and your team.

GVK: What are some of the locales gamers will see in the game?

RB: You’ll be fighting in a variety of locations, from assaults on towns in the Middle East looking for enemy informants, to fighting in the thick of Russia, from thousands of feet in the air as a gunner, and more.

GVK: What are some of the new weapons we will see?
RB: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare brings a huge assortment of modern arsenal to your fingertips, from the weapons your using to the attachments you’re putting on them. We have over 40 weapons in the multiplayer with even more in Single player, everything from the standard M4 Carbine, to G36c, MP5, Ak-47, Ak74u, just to name a few. Not to mention a lot of great support from the air and ground as you fight along side tanks, or call in Air Support to soften up ground positions before moving in. How will vehicles be used in game and what will players be able to ride in? Vehicles will not be present in multiplayer, but in Single Player your vehicle support has a huge impact in your missions, whether you’re taking the Mark19 of a chopper as you insert into a hot combat zone, or you’re calling in air support from a near by gunship, not to mention that tanks are an infantry’s best friend when making a push on an urban landscape.

GVK: What gaming engine will you be using and what will enhancements will it bring to the game?

RB: We’re using our own engine developed in house for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare which is really allowing us to set the standard we wanted to set. The new engine allows us to implement a lot of physics to the game, from how you interact with the enviornment; such as watching debris fly around, or watermelons explode from a frag in a fruit cart, to flattening tires on a car or knocking out individual windows or headlights. To how the world reacts to you, from dynamic lighting; for instance if you step infront of a light source, it’s going to cast a shadow. This plays a huge role in multiplayer when you can see if someone is coming up the stairs behind you because they cast a shadow on the wall as they would in real life.

GVK: What have been some of the biggest challenges in crafting the game and the biggest rewards?

RB: I think the biggest challenge would have to be the challenges we set for ourselves to be the best game on every platform at launch. It’s something we always strive for, especially since this time around we’re developing for three platforms across the board with the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC we wanted to make it equally as beautiful, run as smoothly at 60 FPS, and be identical across all three, which is what we accomplished. The biggest reward would be the same, the fact that we were able to make it run at 60 FPS and be as beautiful on ALL THREE platforms equally.

GVK: Since the last game in the series was console only, what was behind the decision to include this on the PC and what difference will gamers see between the console and PC versions?

RB: Our last game was actually for PC and Xbox 360, as we did not develop Call of Duty 3, because we were secretly working on Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. PC has always been a platform we develop and we hadn’t dreamed of leaving it. There of course are more things you can do on the PC in terms of modding / mapping that aren’t feasible on consoles, such as setting up custom servers with your custom config which can tweak settings as much as you like.

GVK: Will the game support Direct X 10?

RB: The game supports Direct x10, however Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is a Dirext x9 title but supports both.

GVK: What forms of multiplay will the game include?

RB: The game has 18 player multiplayer on both console platforms (Xbox 360 and PS3) and 32+ on the PC version. We have a wide variety of gametypes and modes available from the standard Free-for-All and Team Deathmatch to more objective based gametypes like Headquarters, Search and Destroy, Sabatoge, Domination and others. Not to mention we have game modes which you can play in addition tot he gametypes which changes the settings of the gametypes a bit. For example we have Hardcore Mode which you can play over any gametype (i.e. Hardcore Search and Destroy) where you have limited HUD, increased weapon damage, Friendly Fire is turned on, and no Kill Cam; or Old School Mode which is the opposite with increased health, increased jump and ragdoll physics, weapon pick ups and perk picups around the map.

GVK: What sort of enemies will players face and how did the decision to move away from a W.W. II. Based game arrive?

RB: Modern Warfare is something we’ve wanted to do for ever, it was just the right time to really break out and start from a creative slate both gameplay and storyline wise. In the game, players are going to be going up against two large and well trained forces from a Middle Eastern militia that is heavy on the RPG to an ultra-nationlist Russian force which is trying to take Russia back to the days of Stalin and have a pretty heavy military to back it up.