Modern Warfare 3: 'Our engine is a Porsche - copy and paste critics have no idea'

Part two of our interview with Sledgehammer Games general manager Glen Schofield

Last week we published the first part of an interview with Glen Schofield, general manager of Modern Warfare 3 co-developer Sledgehammer Games, in which the former Visceral Games boss told us that multiple gameplay innovations will make the upcoming Call of Duty title the most accessible yet.

Here, we quiz Schofield about the Call of Duty game engine, his review expectations for Modern Warfare 3, and his impressions of rival shooter Battlefield 3.


What do you make of criticism of the CoD game engine? Some have suggested it's starting to feel a little aged in comparison to some of its rivals?

Well I'll tell you one thing, I've worked on a lot of engines over my lifetime and spent a lot of time putting graphics in to them and this thing is Porsche. And what I mean by that is that it is stream-lined, everything in it is perfectly freaking clean. You can tell it's been worked on for years. It's easy to upgrade.

We worked with engines before that are like f***ing spaghetti. You can't work on a part and put it back in without messing with everything else. Modern Warfare 3's levels now are so much bigger than the old ones because they go more vertically, they have a bigger footprint and on top of that, higher fidelity, more textures and a lot more detail.

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.

And then on top of that you have what we added to the audio engine. Then there's a lot of stuff under the hood. People don't think about this but when you make your tools better and you can iterate twice as many times, you make the game better. So instead of going, 'Well, I'd really like to move that guy over an inch, that would actually make it better.' And people going, 'Ah, that's a pain in the arse. I'm not going to move him'. Imagine multiplying that over 200 times, 300 times, a 1,000 times over the course of the game. By not moving something, you're really affecting quality. With the tools we've added, maybe we can move them. The more you can iterate, the better the game will be.

I've said this before - I'm not shipping an engine, I'm shipping a game. So that's why I'm going to talk about the game. You can talk about your engine all you want. It's not fun.


Will the game quality and support be consistent across all platforms? Some PS3 and PC Call of Duty players have felt a bit hard done by on previous occasions?

Absolutely, and it is. We've been developing on PS3 for over a year. I do get tweeted saying 'We haven't seen any PS3 screens'. What happens is we start developing on 360 and at some point we switch. We switch to the PS3 and you make sure that that's running at 60 frames a second, the graphics look freaking great, and we play both. They're in parity. Every place is exactly the same. I'm not sure what the issues were with the last one, but there's nothing to worry about with this one.

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More game videos from CVG:

Did the work you did on your initial, third person Call of Duty project go to waste or did you adapt any of the ideas from that and bring them over to Modern Warfare 3? And what specifically is Sledgehammer's mark on Modern Warfare 3?

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