Modern Warfare 3 is highly anticipated this year. To start us off, please could you describe your role on MW3?
I am the Creative Strategist on MW3 at Infinity Ward. I work with all the departments in the game to make sure that we all understand the expectations of the experience we're trying to deliver and that we're incorporating the fans feedback, and the knowledge that we've grown from – and making sure we're delivering on that.
It's a role of many hats, I deal with promotional stuff like this, later in the year, and early on I work with the design team to make sure we're prioritising our goals correctly. We've just seen a couple of scenes from two parts of the single-player campaign. How does the single-player campaign get written? Is there a specific writer or do you guys all club in?
We've just seen a couple of scenes from two parts of the single-player campaign. How does the single-player campaign get written? Is there a specific writer or do you guys all club in?
It's a team effort really in collaboration with the mission designers... We have internal writers in the team at Infinity Ward and at Sledgehammer who craft the general story. And once we know, right, these are the general locations we're going with, and this is how our characters are going to be portrayed, then we'll typically team up with an external writer who'll come in and really help put that polishing on the storytelling aspects of it.
Robert Bowling at E3
What are the new key ways that MW3 improves on the single-player experience?
Well there's a lot of different ways, but the biggest thing people will notice is the scale of the environments that you're fighting in this time. Unlike traditional conflicts where we were fighting in non-descript exterior areas, now we're moving in to the heart of major cities.
So in MW3 you're fighting in the streets of New York and London, and Paris, and parts of Germany and Africa, and all of these have their own different personality and type of conflict that you'll experience there. So you're getting a lot of variety in places you've never seen before and that breeds new gameplay mechanics like dual-scope systems and new weapons like the XM25 that really impact how you play the game.
Question from @Starfox118 on Twitter: Will online still not be properly ranked, so a level 1 gets put up against a level 50 or 3-times Prestige?
Matchmaking will always match you with a player of the same skill, not the same rank. Rank has nothing to do with skill. Since rank is time-based, you can be a level 50 and just be horrible at the game, but it just took you forever to get there. So you're in a match based on people of your skill set, not of your rank. In addition you have the ability to party up with friends and that will link you up with other parties of a similar skill set rather than relying solely on rank.
Is camping a legitimate play style? Why do you think campers get such a bad press? And if camping is annoying to people, why are there so many great camping spots?!
Well, camping you know, it depends on how you're doing it!
If you're doing it as a defensive style in an objective game mode, in an objective game mode, playing defensively is half the fight. You need a nice balance is what I think you need. So you need to be looking for a team where half of the team play defensively well and half of the people play offensively well.
There's been a lot of chat about people using auto aim and modded pads to gain unfair advantages in play. Does Elite help to eliminate this in any way?
Elite helps from the sense that we can track a lot more of this stuff and take action. But on the dev side we're putting in a lot of work to make sure that the online is as fair and secure as possible to keep it that fun, balanced experience.
It’s rumoured that ‘quick scoping’ makes a return in MW3. Is ‘quick scoping’ a skill or a matter of luck?
Quick scoping is definitely something that you have to learn to do. It's not something that comes naturally to anyone who snipes – it's not something they do well right off the bat. So I would definitely say it is a skill, of using the game to your advantage.
What would you say are the main differences in style between Infinity Ward and Treyarch in approach to the COD games?
There's a lot – and the style of conflict that we focus on is different. For example, you know, comparing MW3 to Black Ops, MW3 is very much focused on the MW2 philosophy of very focused gun-on-gun gameplay, super-fast fire fights – so you’re guns are powerful, you're putting guys down quickly, the fire fights happen in rapid succession, where another style might be slower paced. So yeah, it's the speed - that's just the style we do, it's just very fast-paced, inventory focused combat.
A lot of people in gaming are talking about destructable environments, does MW3 touch on that or is that something for the future?
No, not really. I mean Modern Warfare 3 is all about being that very cinematic experience and the multiplayer, its core game mechanic, is all about having a very structured competitive experience.
Of all the new elements that have been announced so far, which are you most excited about?
There's a lot, but the biggest thing I'm excited about is the Spec Ops Survival mode. It brings so many new experiences that we've never had in the Call of Duty series before.
It takes that very simple wave-based gameplay and it adds a Modern Warfare twist, bringing on all the stuff people love from multiplayer like progressive ranking, matchmaking, unlocks, kill streaks, the ability to buy new weapons and customise them with attachments. And all the enemies that are constantly throwing new tactics and varieties at you allows you to constantly get a new experience and change up your style the more you play. So hour one of Spec Ops is completely different than hour ten because you can do so much more.
A lot of people want to know . . . will Ghost return?!
I can't say!
If they were both in their prime, who would win in a fight between Captain Price and Viktor Reznov?
Oh... I think Captain Price could beat anyone at any age, regardless!