AusGamers Glen Schofield Modern Warfare 3 Video Interview and Transcript
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 04:53pm 29/06/11 | Comments
AusGamers had a chance to chat to Sledgehammer Games' Glen Scofield at this year's E3 about his studio's helping Infinity Ward on Modern Warfare 3, their own projects, dedicated servers, the "competition" and much more. Read on for more...
AusGamers: Ladies and gents welcome back to AusGamers. We’re out at Activision’s booth at E3 2011. I’m here with Glen Schofield who is somewhat of a saviour, you guys [Sledgehammer Games] came in and helped out IW [Infinity Ward] with, I guess, finishing up this trilogy that everybody’s been waiting for the end of. And created your own company outside of an awesome other start I must say.
Glen Schofield: Yeah thanks. Well it’s not a trilogy, this is... we’re telling a story; we’re finishing up the story campaign off on all the investment you put into these characters into the story. And you’re not going to be left with a big cliffhanger or anything, you’re going to feel good about it, but we don’t see it as a trilogy.
AusGamers: Because I was always under the impression from the start that it was literally going to be the three games following that core amount of characters and sort of tying it off.
Glen: We’ll leave that... we’ll see how that ends up [grins].
AusGamers: Okay, well let’s talk about you guys coming in and helping IW. What was the process there? What sort of work has Sledgehammer done in creating this alongside Infinity Ward?
Glen: Well they were about 40 or 50 people or something like that and we were about 40 or 50 people -- and this was well over a year ago -- and we’d already been working in the engine, so we knew the engine a bit and they were looking for help and we just kind of hit it off. We were huge fans of the series -- that’s why we’re here -- they asked me “Do you want to start your own studio and work on Call of Duty?” and we were going to work on something else, but... so I was here for Call of Duty.
So when they ask you to work on the largest game in the history of entertainment, you don’t say no. So we came at it as fans and they came at it as the makers of it but our stories were the same. We wanted it to go in the same directions, which is really strange that it was so close. So we had one vision and two teams and slowly the two teams end up just being one big co-development team.
It’s not split down the middle, you know we’ll do some levels; they’ll do some stuff. But it’s not like, “Oh, you’re doing multiplayer and you’re doing this, you’re doing that”, it’s “Okay, if you’re character guys are really good, we’ll take your characters” or “Oh, our cars are really good”, you know... whatever. It is one big team.
AusGamers: So moving forward, after this -- and it’s probably a bit silly to talk about that now but -- will you guys go off and do the Sledgehammer thing after that or do you think it will be that co-development thing down the track as well?
Glen: I don’t really know. We would like to make a Sledgehammer game, no doubt. But we’ve learned a lot with these guys and it’s been crazy and fun and hard, but it’s been successful. So I’m not sure.
AusGamers: Well let’s approach a minor elephant in the room. The competitor has a brand new engine that looks fantastic -- you can’t deny that -- and you just mentioned that you’ve been working with this engine and it looks good, it looks better than it ever has. For that moving forward, can you see yourselves and even IW kind of abandoning this and going back to the drawing board?
Glen: I don’t really know. I mean we really re-vamped this engine. We put a whole new audio system in and it is as competitive as anybody out there. You can go out and name your engine and call it whatever you want, right. You know, I’ve done that before; I’ve seen that trick and the bottom line is, this game will run at 60 frames a second. Not sure any of our competitors will.
Not sure I’ve seen any of our competitors on the console especially running at 60 frames a second and I’d be a little scared at this point -- in June -- if I was looking forward to a particular game that wasn’t on the console and running at 60. And I think 60 is our competitive edge and you just don’t throw that away.
What you do is you build upon it, right? And build and build and build. And we build new tools that make us more efficient. We built brand new tools so that we could put more stuff in. That’s why, you’ll see a level and you’ll come out of the water; so we’ve built all this water. You’ve got New York in the background; you’ve got explosions going on; you’ve got skyscrapers, then you have this huge submarine coming out of the water. We’re able to put so much on the screen because it’s an engine and it’s well-known, it’s very clean and we’re able to easily upgrade it.
So I don’t know what the future holds for the engine. But you don’t ship an engine, you ship a game.
AusGamers: That’s a very good point. Now the differentiator: I just played Spec Ops, which has it’s horde mode; which is kind of your version of Zombies which is good. I mean come on, it’s the same team [laughs]. But it’s good because as the guy said “zombies don’t shoot back”, so that’s one of the cool things. What else is new that’s coming with Modern Warfare 3 though?
Glen: Well we’re not talking about multiplayer, but when we do, people will be pretty excited I think and Spec Ops of course, we’ve got the new modes, but we’ve also got the upgrading system which you saw in there. What we did is we’ve made Spec Ops a real part of the game. Before it was sort of an add-on, but now you’ve got three distinct parts of the game.
You’ve got campaign mode; you’ve got Spec Ops and you’ve got multiplayer and they are all major beasts in themselves. There’s a lot of game out there for people. They could play hundreds of hours of multiplayer; God knows how many on Spec Ops, because it’s also got -- besides survival mode -- it still has its mission modes in there and some crazy missions in there. Your buddy’s flying in a helicopter and you’re on the ground, then you’re switching and stuff like that. And then campaign mode, we’ve just completely blown it out; we’re in cities. We’re in cities all over the world and we’ve had to really upgrade the engine to make sure we can get all that in there.
AusGamers: So you say that you’re all over the world but why no Australia?
Glen: We’ll be there next maybe.
Glen: It’s a long flight there.
AusGamers: The enemy doesn’t want to go there; it takes too long to get there right?
Glen: You’re an island and it’s well defended. You know?
AusGamers: So what you’re saying is we’re too good to go to.
Glen: Yes. Your fighters are too good.
AusGamers: Okay, so I want to get back to multiplayer. I know you can’t talk about it, but there is a bit of information that did come out quite recently about you guys readopting the IWnet peer to peer thing and not dedicated servers, despite the fact that Treyarch went to dedicated servers [for Black Ops PC] which is a better model. But we want to know why?
Glen: All that’s just rumours. I don’t know where this stuff comes from because we aren’t talking about it; we haven’t even made decisions internally ourselves and its...
AusGamers: So it could happen?
Glen: I don’t know what’s going to happen.
Glen: The truth is that so much stuff is rumours that we’d love to be able to get out there and talk about this stuff, but just wait ‘till multiplayer comes out and I’m not saying that’s going to be the surprise, but the surprises... it’s going to be a great new game.
AusGamers: So for people following the story -- me being one of them, I’m very invested in these characters; I almost shed a tear when [spoiler] in the last game -- what’s going to happen? I mean obviously I don’t want spoilers but...
Glen: Right, no spoilers. No spoilers. Let’s just say that this game takes place hours after Modern Warfare 2. So we pick up right after that and DC is burning and Taskforce 141 is either dead or on the run. The Russians have taken over the Eastern border of [the] United States -- that’s why we’re in Manhattan -- but the United States Army is finally pushing them out.
That’s where we introduce a couple of new characters with Delta Force. But the war takes on a much bigger approach later and... let’s just say that you’re gonna feel good or you’re gonna at least get a payoff on all the investment you put in on the story. Because the whole idea is we want people to feel good about the end... not good, but “alright, now it’s wrapped up the story”.
AusGamers: Are we looking at... talking roughly the same length as the last two games in terms of single-player?
Glen: Well our goal is to try and make it a little bit longer, but you never know. It’s crazy, some people will say “wow, you made a 12-hour game” and other people say “well, it’s only five-hours” so I don’t really know how that comes out. We shoot for a certain time which is always longer than the last one.
AusGamers: It’s good news though. To even hear that is great.
Glen: And we’ve spent a lot of time on story; a lot. So people who were worried about the last one -- thought it was a little bit confusing -- we have spent so much time; since day one and we’re still working on it. Trying to cover up and plot holes and stuff like that. So story’s important.
AusGamers: Right, awesome. Well, we’ve got to leave it there Glen, but thank you so much.
Glen: Thank you, I really appreciate it.