For those gamers old enough to remember the Call of Duty franchise before the phenomenon that was Modern Warfare, it’s hard not to see the franchise as losing some of its momentum. Sure, Black Ops set sales records around the globe, but the series has yet to redefine FPS combat or push the envelope in the same way as Modern Warfare.
If you were hoping that Modern Warfare 3 would be bringing a similar leap forward, we’ve got some bad news. Infinity Ward‘s Creative Strategist Robert Bowling revealed that the game will be built using the same engine as MW2, since the developers view the idea of creating a new engine as “counter-productive.”
Now seems a popular time for developers to go back to the drawing board, with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Crysis 2, and most importantly, Battlefield 3, all marking a big step forward in their respective developers’ evolution. DICE has voiced their determination to bring a next-gen experience with Battlefield 3, and the gameplay videos we’ve seen prove they might do just that. So Call of Duty would be wise to prepare for one heck of a fight.
It’s been over a year that fans have been waiting for Modern Warfare 3, and the developers have been keeping all information on the game under tight wraps. Our heads have been filled with dreams of prequels and futuristic shooters, not to mention the wild hope that Infinity Ward would be bringing a brand new engine next time around . Sadly that isn’t the case, but it’s the developer’s reasons for not pursuing the goal that we find particularly troubling.
After a Twitter user suggested to Bowling that money should be spent to design a new engine for MW3, he replied that the time and energy it would take isn’t something the developers see as worthwhile:
“That would be counter productive. An engine takes years and years to develop and get right.”
Bowling is right to point out that a new game engine would add several years of development onto the game’s production, but it’s not as if CoD fans would be unwilling to wait if it yielded them a better result.
We can understand Infinity Ward and Activision’s desire to just finish the game and get in on store shelves, but what does that mean for the future of the franchise?
Call of Duty‘s competition has accused the developers of “treading water” instead of innovating, and Bowling’s words only add weight the the sentiment. It’s not that IW feels they can still improve the engine, or are confident in the current engine’s potential, only that to design a new one would be time-consuming and “counter-productive.”
Bowling would surely clarify that those are also reasons that they’ll be using the same older engine, but that isn’t the first reason given. It seems we’re supposed to believe that the best way for the developers to be productive is to make due with what they already have.
Let’s be honest, if there was ever a game that could be quietly and slowly perfected while fans would be willing to wait for, it’s Modern Warfare 3. With Battlefield 3, DICE is proving that time spent developing a better experience will lead to a better game, and Call of Duty holds a much larger fan base. With a simple tweet, Bowling is confirming that for the moment, making the game quickly is the most important task.
This revelation won’t come as a major shock, and the sales that the series has seen are enough to justify their thinking. Another game on shelves is the ultimate goal of both developer and publisher, but how long can that mindset stay profitable? With nearly half a dozen studios working on the franchise, if innovation or advancement isn’t a priority, the future of the CoD name isn’t looking as bright as it once was.
How do you feel about Bowling’s comment? Do you want to hear that the developer doesn’t see designing a new engine for Modern Warfare 3 as a wise use of time?
If our worst fears come true, we can at least trust that we have both Crysis 2 and Battlefield 3 to look forward to for our military shooters. Do you have the same doubts, or are you just eager to see Modern Warfare 3 released on whatever engine Infinity Ward chooses?
Leave us your own thoughts in the comments.