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Opinion Game Dev People don’t appreciate how much work goes into Call of Duty, argues former boss Glen Schofield

IbizaPocholo

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ibiza

Schofield co-directed several entries in the long-running shooter series during his time at Activision, including Modern Warfare 3, Advanced Warfare and WWII.

And in the latest issue of Edge, he said the perception that studios are just grinding out new Call of Duty instalments is way off the mark.

“People nowadays [think] a Call of Duty is… you know, just put it through the grinder and another one will come out;” he said. “They don’t realise how much work goes into making a Call of Duty game. There’s just a ton of research.

“You’re working with experts – I studied World War Two for three years. I worked with historians. I spent eight days in a van in Europe going to all the places that were going to be in the game. I shot different old weapons. All of these things that you have to do when you’re working on a Call of Duty game.”

Sledgehammer’s research process for Advanced Warfare was equally intensive, Schofield said.

“And, you know, to become an expert – we worked with Navy SEALS and Delta Force people to learn [the] tactics and techniques and get them into the game, right? You had to learn about the Special Forces from different countries like England and France and Spain and Italy and all that, because they were all in the game. So, a lot of learning, constantly reading, constantly watching videos and constantly working with experts.”

Schofield also discussed the competition between Call of Duty studios Sledgehammer, Infinity Ward and Treyarch.

“Was there internal competition? No doubt, no doubt,” he said. “It’s weird, because you really rooted for each studio because you needed and wanted every Call of Duty to do well. But you always wanted to get a higher score. You wanted to achieve more sales if you could. So yeah, we pushed each other, we really did.

“But then again,” he added, “we would also help each other out – like, in between, we would go help out Black Ops a little bit. We might take on a level or take on a few objects and things like that – vehicles and things. We were this sort of Call of Duty brotherhood. There was a quiet competition going on, but you helped advance the next game as much as you could.”
 
Dec 12, 2018
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“You’re working with experts – I studied World War Two for three years. I worked with historians. I spent eight days in a van in Europe going to all the places that were going to be in the game. I shot different old weapons. All of these things that you have to do when you’re working on a Call of Duty game.”
Just to point out, the way Call of Duty depicts war is in no way close to the terror and pain it causes. So he may studied World War II, met Navy Seals etc., but the depiction in the game is most similar to an action film. There is no premise to be as authentic or realistic as possible, neither in terms of the very arcade-style gameplay, nor in terms of plot and presentation.
 
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Renozokii

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Nov 4, 2019
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CoD has given me, and with Cold War is counting to give me a great, reliable franchise that friends are literally always down to play. Cold War is slowly sprouting into possibly a top 3 cod title for me, idk why just really like the core gameplay in this one. So much hate and shit but I can name a worse game than any cod in most peoples favorite franchise.
 

Dolomite

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Inside The Nba Lol GIF by NBA on TNT


GTFOH
 

SlimeGooGoo

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Consumers are not supposed to appreciate the work, but what results from it.

Plus, people are exchanging money for entertainment, it's not like Activision is doing them a favor.
If the product doesn't bring entertainment for the price that was paid, any criticism is valid.

If anything, just improve and provide a better product.
 

kingfey

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Jul 6, 2021
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If the game sells like hot cake, people likes to play, then I would consider it a big achievement. Rarely, few games achieve those stats.
Skyrim and gtav are big games, which took long time to make. Especially gtav, with those insane details, and Skyrim with tons of books to read.

People scream about graphics. But in reality, its the gameplay that rules. You can have the best looking game in the world, and you wouldn't attract enough people, if your gameplay sucks.

Look at csgo, league of legends, wow. How graphic demanding are these games? Yet they have players than Sony best selling. because their gameplay is that good. People will come for it to play, and enjoy it.

I played warzone, and it was kinda fun. Same for black ops 4 (played on x1s).

If call of duty keep selling higher and higher, then their gameplay must be so good, that people are willing to spend 60-70$ yearly to play it.
 
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Just to point out, the way Call of Duty depicts war is in no way close to the terror and pain it causes. So he may studied World War II, met Navy Seals etc., but the depiction in the game is most similar to an action film. There is no premise to be as authentic or realistic as possible, neither in terms of the very arcade-style gameplay, nor in terms of plot and presentation.
Call of Duty employees spending time and money going through Europe and working with Navy Seals sure translates to authentic COD games.

- Dog killstreaks
- Zombie modes
- Wall running
- Juggernaut suits
 

Virt McPolygon

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He's mad that more people don't lick the boots of higher-ups.

Advance Warfare was an interesting installment for the series, but dude can fuck off.
 
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elliot5

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I mean besides this guy's poor defense and how you feel about CoD, he's not wrong. A lot of work goes in to making them over the 3 years of dev cycles. Same goes for every game tbh.
 
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SlimySnake

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This is true. CoD doesnt get appreciated but thats because they havent changed the formula at all since 2007. Even Infinite Warfare which was set in space and had some epic space battles a la battlestar gallactica, when it came down to boots on the ground shooting, it was standard cod affair.

That said, they do try to mix up the settings and the studios definitely manage to get games out every year on a 3 year life cycle while changing the settings from modern to future to space back to world war 2 then back to modern. People dont appreciate just how many different locations are in these campaigns. i can never finish them but there is no denying that the visuals are top notch and the details in the game no doubt required a lot of research and effort from teams.

And they do this while being limited by 60 fps. Something these fancy first party studios didnt even bother with. They prioritized 30 fps and visual fidelity while cod devs had to use the GPU to hit 60 fps thanks to the jaguar CPUs being weak as fuck. With next gen's powerful CPUs freeing up the GPUs you are going to see CoD devs really push some excellent visuals. Not sure if we are going to see them this year though.
 
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Call of Duty employees spending time and money going through Europe and working with Navy Seals sure translates to authentic COD games.

- Dog killstreaks
- Zombie modes
- Wall running
- Juggernaut suits
I mean the games can be fun for sure, but I'd never dare to call them authentic. Some of the older Tom Clancy titles or Arma are authentic. Spec-Ops: The Line tried to make the plot interesting by questioning the player's actions and the motives of the characters, while still playing like a bro-shooter. Call of Duty on the other hand is a roller coaster.
 
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TheDreadBaron

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Oct 27, 2019
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Yeah, true of game development in general. It’s incredibly hard to collaborate with a team to create something that’s firing on all cylinders. Just baseline competent gameplay systems and graphics are a serious challenge. Developing COD must be a nightmare, you have to up the ante every time, I don’t envy the expectations they work under.
 
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Schofield co-directed several entries in the long-running shooter series during his time at Activision, including Modern Warfare 3, Advanced Warfare and WWII.

And in the latest issue of Edge, he said the perception that studios are just grinding out new Call of Duty instalments is way off the mark.

“People nowadays [think] a Call of Duty is… you know, just put it through the grinder and another one will come out;” he said. “They don’t realise how much work goes into making a Call of Duty game. There’s just a ton of research.

“You’re working with experts – I studied World War Two for three years. I worked with historians. I spent eight days in a van in Europe going to all the places that were going to be in the game. I shot different old weapons. All of these things that you have to do when you’re working on a Call of Duty game.”

Sledgehammer’s research process for Advanced Warfare was equally intensive, Schofield said.

“And, you know, to become an expert – we worked with Navy SEALS and Delta Force people to learn [the] tactics and techniques and get them into the game, right? You had to learn about the Special Forces from different countries like England and France and Spain and Italy and all that, because they were all in the game. So, a lot of learning, constantly reading, constantly watching videos and constantly working with experts.”

Schofield also discussed the competition between Call of Duty studios Sledgehammer, Infinity Ward and Treyarch.

“Was there internal competition? No doubt, no doubt,” he said. “It’s weird, because you really rooted for each studio because you needed and wanted every Call of Duty to do well. But you always wanted to get a higher score. You wanted to achieve more sales if you could. So yeah, we pushed each other, we really did.

“But then again,” he added, “we would also help each other out – like, in between, we would go help out Black Ops a little bit. We might take on a level or take on a few objects and things like that – vehicles and things. We were this sort of Call of Duty brotherhood. There was a quiet competition going on, but you helped advance the next game as much as you could.”
He is right, I do not appreciate this saga that is only a copy-paste of other games.

First that they begin to compress their nefarious GB that consumes each game and then we talk about appreciation
 
Feb 23, 2018
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Just to point out, the way Call of Duty depicts war is in no way close to the terror and pain it causes. So he may studied World War II, met Navy Seals etc., but the depiction in the game is most similar to an action film. There is no premise to be as authentic or realistic as possible, neither in terms of the very arcade-style gameplay, nor in terms of plot and presentation.
I highly suggest you play the most recent Modern Warfare game. I don't think I've ever played a game with bigger balls in terms of the amount of violence and sheer controversial content. Most games don't even include children period because they don't want to present the slightest potential for violence, yet in Modern Warfare there is a level where you are walking through a playground full of dead kids from a chemical attack. There is a level where you, playing as a child, kill multiple people - and can be killed. The very first level has white phosphorus being used on Russians. There are multiple levels where women are used as human shields, and there are many circumstances where you are not penalized for shooting them. You get waterboarded in first person. There is an interrogation/torture where the person's wife and child are threatened to be killed, and the game actually gives you the prompt to pull the trigger (if you do the gun is empty, but then you start loading it with ammo).

The whole thing is fucking nuts and I am genuinely impressed that they we able to do what they did. This isn't some little unknown indie game showing this stuff, it's the biggest franchise in gaming.

Now of course nearly every other Call of Duty is ridiculous, no doubt, and even this one had it's fair share of silly action junk. But overall it was impressive what they got away with and I wish other developers had the fortitude to do the same, because every other dev that censors the slightest thing looks pathetic in comparison.
 

tvdaXD

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It was basically copy paste until they decided to finally use a new engine, Modern Warfare 2019 was the first I bought. Everything before that was basically a copy paste ragefest lasertag with different themes.
 

Raekwon26

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Agreed.

Gamers know so little about what goes into making a game but are always so loud about shit they don't understand.

The latest craze is "crunch" and how much of a big "no no" it is.
 
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I highly suggest you play the most recent Modern Warfare game. I don't think I've ever played a game with bigger balls in terms of the amount of violence and sheer controversial content.
The original Homefront tried that as well. Children getting shot in front of their parents being a strong image that exactly shows how gruesome the act of war really is.
Sadly the vast majority of Homefront was still your typical military shooter affair with a lot of action and almost no consequence.

I'll give the new Modern Warfare a try.
 

Whitecrow

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Thats what happens when you release a new game every year with little to no innovation and each one feeling like a reskin...
 
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MrA

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They don’t? It’s the best selling shooter world wide 🤣
That's my sentiments, millions of people appreciate it enough to.drop 60 dollars a year on a new entry
But I guess they don't have the approval of enthusiast forums which is obviously more important
 
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Tschumi

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I can buy that. The games are always pretty spectacular, and I guess they're balanced to a point etc... must be hard to be creative after all these years... Yeah!
 

ZywyPL

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I think the last time a CoD game and its development were appreciated was with first Black Ops, people really liked the dev talks about the cold war times, all the research they did, how they implemented it into a game etc. back in the days. But then the futuristic/exoskeleton games happened and no one gave a shit anymore ever since.
 

LazyParrot

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“You’re working with experts – I studied World War Two for three years. I worked with historians. I spent eight days in a van in Europe going to all the places that were going to be in the game. I shot different old weapons. All of these things that you have to do when you’re working on a Call of Duty game.”

Sledgehammer’s research process for Advanced Warfare was equally intensive, Schofield said.

“And, you know, to become an expert – we worked with Navy SEALS and Delta Force people to learn [the] tactics and techniques and get them into the game, right? You had to learn about the Special Forces from different countries like England and France and Spain and Italy and all that, because they were all in the game. So, a lot of learning, constantly reading, constantly watching videos and constantly working with experts.”
This just sounds like a huge waste of time and money to me, considering what these games are. Nobody cares how authentic and well-researched the setting of a Call of Duty campaign is. Most people probably don't play the campaign at all.
 

The Shepard

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People don't appreciate how much money call of duty makes. Just think of the poor soul who has to count the money. I bet sometimes he has to work a Saturday.
 

Spukc

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If you add 24 euro gunskins to your game.
And stand behind that shit.

you have lost every single right to defend your game.

just close the door right now and shut the fuck up you giant sack of shit.
 
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