Sledgehammer Games Talks ‘Modern Warfare 3′ Engine and Beta Testing

Published 3 years ago by , Updated February 10th, 2012 at 9:10 pm,

Modern Warfare 3 Engine and Open Beta

Early in the Modern Warfare 3 development cycle, when it was announced that the game would not be sporting a shiny new engine like its competitor Battlefield 3, many gamers scoffed at the idea of retreading through the same visuals of the past two Modern Warfare titles. Sure, there were claims that Modern Warfare 3 would run at a silky smooth 60 fps, but that paled in comparison to something shiny and new.

Now that Modern Warfare 3 is almost upon us, Sledgehammer Games’ Glen Schofield wants to put his two cents in on the matter, and also share his thoughts on a few more nagging questions gamers have had about Modern Warfare 3.

First off, Schofield wants to stress that Modern Warfare 3’s biggest competitor isn’t Battlefield 3; it’s Modern Warfare 2. As the Infinity Ward benchmark for critical and commercial success (the title holds a 94 Metacritic and is the best selling of the Modern Warfares) Modern Warfare 2 still holds that crown of achievement in Sledgehammer’s mind.

Yes, Battlefield 3 might have the flashy new engine, and support for vehicles, but its engine is new and as such can cause problems for developers. Modern Warfare’s engine, on the other hand, has been so finely tuned that any new addition fits in perfectly. That isn’t to say new improvements aren’t being made with how levels and missions are being designed, in fact, quite the opposite.

“If you put Modern Warfare 2 next to Modern Warfare 3 you would see a huge difference. Look at all the character models, look at all the gun models, look at the reflections, look at the water. There is so much that we’ve added, so when someone says ‘cut and paste’, I don’t even want to talk to them because they don’t know. They just don’t know. They have no idea.”

In Schofield’s mind, the Modern Warfare engine is like a Porsche, it’s streamlined and clean. It’s hard to see just how smooth the engine does run when only looking at the game through trailers, but those who visited Call of Duty XP know what he’s talking about.

In fact, Sledgehammer looks at the Call of Duty XP event as its own little closed beta. Gamers might have been wondering if Activision would roll out an open beta for Modern Warfare 3, but, in fact, they were able to mine all the data they needed at the event.

“This game is so big between the campaign, the Spec-Ops and the multiplayer, there was so much work to do that I don’t know whether it hit anyone’s mind or not. We had XP and XP was in itself a way for 1,000s of people to play the game and for us to look over their shoulder and see how they were doing and how they liked it and that was really good.”

So while Modern Warfare 3 might not be sporting a fancy new engine, and didn’t roll out an open beta for gamers to test out, it does promise to be the definitive Call of Duty experience. So much knowledge has been gained from the first Modern Warfare to now that it has us pretty excited about where MW3 might be taking the franchise.

Do you think that not outfitting Modern Warfare 3 with a new engine was a mistake, or the game’s biggest advantage? Are you upset that an open beta wasn’t available?

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 releases November 8, 2011 for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.

Source: CVG


TAGS: Activision, Call of Duty, Infinity Ward, Modern Warfare, Modern Warfare 2, Modern Warfare 3, PC, PS3, Sledgehammer Games

  • ATG

    I believe this game will deliver, anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves. It’s better than a lot of games out there.

    • Poncho

      How do you know it’s better than a lot of games out there? It hasn’t even been released.

      • ATG

        So is Batman: Arkham City, Skyrim, Assassin’s Creed Revelations, heck even Mass Effect 3. One of those things you’re just sure of.

      • Rik

        Because, like others and myself, he probably played the game at Call of Duty XP.

  • Schulzey

    I’m curious about the game, but no one can say the game will deliver unless you’re familiar with all things SLEDGEHAMMER GAMES. Sledgehammer, not Infinity Ward, put this game together. The crew that built COD and made MW1 & 2 had nothing to do with this game. They, SLEDGEHAMMER, built this game on what had been done prior and may still be good, but was T3 or T4 anything close to T2? No. The guy behind the first two Terminator movies, James Cameron, had nothing to do with those so even if they were entertaining films, they are not iconic pieces of film like his were. So, I expect MW3 to be a decent entertaining game, but I doubt it will deliver for anyone expecting something better than MW2 or Black Ops.

    • SweetSchism

      i would normally write a long, monotonous message cause thats just my style ;D but im lazy right now, so:

      i think this game, while probably not being the best shooter to release recently, will definitely be in the top 5 games released since 2010. this is coming from someone who didnt really like Modern Warfare in the first place. MW3 will be way better than Black Ops, which other than Wager Matches, was a HUGE disappointment in the multiplayer department.

      in my humble opinion, the top 5 games i mentioned previously are (including games which i think will be great): BF3, MW3, Skyrim, BulletStorm, and Halo: Reach.

      (again this is just my opinion, no intention to spark a feud here)

  • Austin

    This article = True.
    Using a new engine would have been a mistake.
    No open beta = Upsetting. Really. Wanted. TO PLAY IT.

  • Aarawn

    i agree with Schofield, you dont need a brand new engine to make a great game. i have enjoyed playing both MW games. its the only console game i play online. i look forward to picking it up and being able to see the improvment they have made from MW2 to MW3,

  • nic spradllin

    I think thay mw3 will be better then bf3 because the new engine will probabily cause problems for lcd tvs or even consoles. just my point of view. i cant wait till mw3! :)

    • COD is a Fish

      what the hell are you talking about? Have you not even seen the game on consoles?


      I know BF3 will be better, because it will be the better game for ME which in my OPINION makes it the better game. In terms of sound, graphics, scale, and immersion, it is a FACT that BF3 is better.

      But that doesn’t make it the better game, that is up the individual. Because Fun, is different for every person. Each game caters to something different, accept that fact people.

  • josh

    look i liked mw it was fun and it was something new. mw2 was not anything refreshing but it still was fun and compelling overall a great game.
    MW3 will not be anything new but from i can tell it does look fun….but im not fooling myself thinking something is going to be innovative and i am sure as hell not going to listen to Schofield. apparently the man thinks bragging about water reflections and new gun models will quiet the haters clamoring against the call of duty series,claiming the series just does the same thing over and over to cash in.

  • Ken J

    “Yes, Battlefield 3 might have the flashy new engine, and support for vehicles, but its engine is new and as such can cause problems for developers.”

    LMAO, that line kind of cracks me up. What “developers” do you speak of? DICE, the one that made the engine, is making the game, that’s one developer and it’s themselves… I guess you’re under the mindset of them outsourcing development like Call of Duty, lol. Or it’s just some made-up BS to make it sound like having a new engine is a bad thing so you can defend MW3, LMAO. Either way, pretty dumb argument if you ask me. 😀

    • Adrenalynx

      “DICE, the one that made the engine, is making the game, that’s one developer and it’s themselves… I guess you’re under the mindset of them outsourcing development like Call of Duty.”

      For a so called Gamer, you seem to be of the mindset that ONE company uses a game Engine, or that ONLY Activision outsorces development. A very ignorant statement indeed. Have you ever heard of one of the MOST widely used game engines ever? It’s called the Unreal Engine. It has been used by many developers, for many different games. To say that DICE will be the only company using the new engine, is a very uneducated comment to say the least.

      Educate yourself on that of which you speak, before opening your mouth in such a manner that it opens you up for correction, humiliation and other less positive actions.

      • Ken J


        Wow, I’m just imagining just how smart you think you were being while typing that… 😀 That sentence pretty much directly compares BF3 and MW3. Why does it matter if “other” developers might have problems, the issue here is will BF3 have issues because that’s the topic, and BF3 and the engine are both made by ONE developer… Now go and think of another smart response that doesn’t open you up for correction, humiliation and other less positive actions. Thanks. 😉

      • Ken J

        I guess if other people have problems using the engine, that somehow makes BF3’s use of the engine worse, right?? LMAO. Sorry, I’m trying to think of excuses for you, but can’t do it with a straight face…

  • jwalka

    what load of bs, the games been in production for less then 9 months (last months before release doesn’t count as that’s for finalisation etc). the game IS a copy and paste, same audio, practically the same visuals, the only thin g these clowns have done is added a couple new weps (and copied some from CoD4), used the same assets from Cod4 and MW2 to make ‘new’ maps and have revamped the spec ops mode (which imo looks boring as hell, just like treyarcs zombies).

    it pisses me off how people put off good games like dead island and rage, in favour of garbage like this, CoD is deteriorating gamers into nothingness.

    • Ranuu

      To be fair, Rage got boring around the start of the second disc.

      That being said, I do agree with you that MW3 still looks like a copy/paste. Sure, the graphics may have been updated a little, but Bioware’s been using the same engine for years and I can tell when I play Dragon Age 2 that it still /feels/ like the original Knights of the Old Republic. It’s not going to feel any different.

      So you’re right. MW3 is probably going to be a disappointment.

    • Adrenalynx

      CoD is FAAAARR more fun than Dead Island. that game is a total FLOP! I wasted my 60 bucks for that CRAP?! (anyone interested i’m selling my copy for $40 for Ps3)The game is LOADED with crap gameplay. (i.e. getting chased down by a horde of zombies while trying to fight, run, jump etc.. ALL of which uses up your pathetically low amount of stamina, and you die every 2 minutes because of it. not to mention guns are SCARCE and when you find them they SUCK.. i could go on with a million different things wrong with that piece of crap)Rage is a Half-decent game, but got too much hype for such a small delivery. the game is lacking in many areas as well, but not as badly as Dead Island. The only people who say that Treyarch’s Zombies mode sucks, are 99% of the time people who suck at Treyarch’s Zombies. Zombies is probably the number one reason i play Black Ops and World at War so much. lets face it, W@W is OVERLOADED with people using invincibilty hacks, and Low gravity etc.. so the multiplayer is more like Unreal Tournament, but with ww2 weapons. Black Ops is almost as bad as MW2 with all the “campers” in multi-player.. not to mention all but 5 maps SUCK.. so zombies is my main gig on those games. Hopefully no quick-scoping or everyone and their mother camping will ruin MW3, but to say it’s “deteriorating gamers into nothingness”? People wasting their time on boring pieces of crap like Dead Island are deteriorating. Lets see how long that game keeps your attention. most people who bought it have it sitting on a shelf gathering dust now. especially considering the staggering numbers of people still playing CoD games (and there are tons of them from MW1, MW2, and Black Ops) Several million people can’t be wrong.. but the whole 1200 fans of dead island..that’s another argument indeed.

      • jwalka

        you’re a bloody joke of a ‘gamer’, dead island sold over 1million copies 1st week, and that’s without a ton of marketing and brainwashing (which is what activision does with CoD to suck losers suck as yourself in).

        there is no intensive to play zombies on CoD, beating wave after wave for what ? the reason you hate dead island is b/c its different and hard for your young and arrogant mind to grasp of. they fixed a ton of the visual and mechanical issues, and the only problem with the game is the lackluster final area, but who can blame someone for spending to much time on the main game and not enough on the ending.

    • ATG

      @jwalka who told you the game was in development for 9 months? Or did you conclude that yourself?
      Dead Island was fun, for ONE play through, lack of friends on PC to play through with makes it worse. Rage is very disappointing to me.

      @adrenalynx the guns were pitiful but i still had fun, maybe because i played PC with like 150-200fps but idk.

      @jwalka again lol, who cares if zombies doesnt end? Obviously your looking for something different so Dead Island is for you.

      In the end, Blacks Ops was fun for a while, Dead Island was good the 1st time, Rage was over rated.

  • Jecn

    in my opinion i think this will be the best of the call of duty series to date..will it be rehashing the same type of thing from mw2 and partiallly black ops? def…as far as bf3 goes…i think that the game looks great and prob plays great as well but i tried out the beta and i felt it really wasnt for me.. i like teams based games like dom and headquarters and such but i love being able to decimate a whole team on my own with a really good round with chop gunner dogs etc…i hate having to rely on people i dont know in team based objective games which you will have to do in bf3.. i mean i dont have enough friends online to be able to fill out lets say the assualt portion of some those huge games bf3 has…even tho everyone might not agree on this but at least we DO know what we r getting with mw3 when truth be told bf3 could be epic or a complete disaster…just sayin…ill see you all in my crosshairs on nov 8th hehe

    • Ranuu

      “I like team based games.”

      “I don’t like relying on people I don’t know.”

      Contradiction Man, you’ve finally arrived! I think I’ll be saving my money from that pay period for Skyrim on the 11th.

      • ATG

        @ranuu, that wasnt a contradiction pal. Read carefully.

      • Jecn

        ahh maybe i didnt say it clearly enough for you…i meant that in a dom or HQ in cod i could propel my team to winning just by having an awesome round where as in bf3 that will be possible with some of the game modes that game has…and thanks you got me thinking maybe to skip the bs and pick up skyrim instead :)

    • jwalka

      that’s why bf3 comes with tdm, and smaller maps for said game type. CoD doesn’t involve anything besides fast reaction times, the gameplay is boring, mechanics are generic, stats on guns are ridiculously stupid (they nerfed everything so much it now takes around 5-10 bullets per kill, even with good connection).

  • Jay Odom

    You can say what you want about the engine COD uses. Love it or Hate it, it’s DNA has been powering games for over a decade. Some of the first popular multiplayer shooters are from the same family of game engines designed by Id. That’s tried and true engineering that has been a major part of online Multiplayer gaming since pretty much the beginning of multiplayer shooters. I will also say that the engine being used in BF3 is really, really good for the hardware that is running it. It’s too much for this generation of consoles, but it does do well. It will be nothing short of breathtaking on the next generation though.

  • Andy

    I would rather have a new engine to call of duty rather than just a tune up

    • Adrenalynx

      I’d rather stick with the “tried and true” and see some tune up’s done from the previous releases. remember moaning and groaning about “oh this is bull” or “man i wish they’d fix that.” guess what? they probably did, and the “bull” is probably gone as well. sounds good to me. a NEW engine? why? so i can be the lab-rat for testing a “new” engine on a new game that’ll probably suck because of it? nope. not me. Activision did what was right, as did Sledgehammer. Good Call. Pun intended.

      • Ken J

        Yah, it’ll be awesome if we were still playing games like the original Doom or Quake. They were definitely awesome for their time, so they are definitely tried and true. Woot for sprites!! 😀

        Damn these other people for trying to be innovative and advance technology forward… Pfffttt, forward, what an overrated direction…

        • ATG

          I dont think we should trash CODs engine, plenty of games still use the same engine. We should wait till next gen and see what/if Activision got something new. Its too close to the end of this console life cycle to invest in a new engine, before you mention BF3, remember thats a PC game.

          And besides, we’ve seen what Unreal Engine 3 and CryEngine3 is capable of on 3 gtx 580s. DICE needed a new engine, doesnt mean everyone else does.

          • Ken J


            I think you misunderstand what my position is. I’m not saying that every game has to have a new engine. What I’m making fun of is all of these fanboys looking for any excuse as to why MW3 will be better. Their argument is actually that not having a new engine is somehow “better” while having a new engine is “worse.” See how dumb that sounds? Pretty much because the game they like doesn’t have a new engine, therefore using the old engine is somehow superior to being innovative and developing a new, more capable, engine… If their argument would have been just one of acceptance that because of Activision’s milking the cash cow schedule of a “new” COD game evry year, that makes developing a new engine in-house not possible, so the best they could do under those circumstances is to tweak their old engine or buy the rights to use another engine if need be, then fine, that’s a perfectly logical argument. But they are arguing that BF3 is worse because they have a new engine and MW3 is better because it doesn’t. Citing logic that doesn’t even make sense like how “other” developers might have trouble using their new engine… Because somehow what others do will affect how their game comes out, lmao!! 😀 Sounds like fanboys trying hard to find some excuse for them…

            And for me, it’s not just them using their old engine. Go on youtube and look for a video comparing MW2 and MW3 and you’ll see that they rehash a lot of things, namely all of the animations are rehashed from before. They pretty much didn’t add anything new other than new maps and missions.

            The only time where that is acceptable to me is if a game already has just about every feature you can put into a shooter. Like ARMA where you can get into any vehicle, pick up any weapon, and the world is pretty much a sandbox. All I’m looking for with ARMA 3 is a little more polish and better graphics. Personally I’ve seen some videos of ARMA 3 and it just looks like better graphics. The animations are still pretty basic and crude. But you really can’t find the level of realism in that game in any other game. I wish they would combine the realism of ARMA 2 with the graphics and animations of BF3, that would be the ultimate game for me…

  • Aarawn

    adding in a new engine to CoD could cause alot of problems. chances are they would have lost alot of their fan base if they had.(personal opinion) they have an engine that works, and obviously people really enjoy or they wouldnt be so succesful. so tweaking and upgrading the current engine is the most effective way to keep the style of the game similar to that of the previous.which again, people obviously enjoy

    • Eeeeffan

      Its not the engine that makes it so successful its the name. Call of Duty. Thats what sells the games at this point.

  • Eeeeffan

    Everyone knows that CoD will outsell BF3 but you’d have to be missing the left side of your brain to think that CoD will provide a better gaming experience! Look at the graphics the gameplay! Hell just the addition of non scripted vehicle sections kicks it right in the butt! Look im not trying to be a hater but its hard to support a game that seems so much like its predecessors. I know its not ‘Copy pasted’ but you have to admit the changes are not game breaking or new in any way, the ground they’re doing has been done from the graphics to the gameplay. Its going to get high reviews but its not the gameplay selling it its the title. Don’t deny it. its true and you have to admit it! 😛