In the upcoming Call of Duty 20: Modern Warfare 3, during a product conference, David Swenson heard that a colleague had played his favorite mission 20 times.
Creative director Swenson said in an interview, "At the end of the meeting, we asked, 'Hey, how do you like that cave?' And he replied, 'What cave?'"
This situation has never occurred in the previous Call of Duty campaign modes. The series has always focused on linear cinematic storytelling, where every player experiences all missions in the same way, entering buildings through the same entrance, using the same methods and weapons to execute military tasks, and rescuing hostages in the same manner. However, in the upcoming Call of Duty 20: Modern Warfare 3, scheduled for release on November 10, it seems to break this pattern.
Call of Duty 20: Modern Warfare 3, developed by Sledgehammer Games, is set to introduce what the team calls "open combat missions," presenting different optional objectives in an open space. Players may revisit a location multiple times but may not see the same story unfold. If a player wants to play stealthily, they can use silenced weapons. If they prefer a more aggressive approach, they can choose in advance which tools and weapons to use and the point of entry. This marks the first time that the Call of Duty series provides a "sandbox" campaign experience.
Swenson states, "Now we are truly harnessing the ability of our engine to adapt to the player's style. If you prefer stealth or an action-packed approach, the game's narrative will fully adapt and support the way you want."
In the past, the series briefly attempted open gameplay with dialogue choices and somewhat larger battlefields. But Call of Duty 20: Modern Warfare 3 prioritizes sandbox design for the first time. Brian Bloom, the series' head writer, who has experience writing movie scripts and is also an experienced actor, usually wrote relatively linear Call of Duty scripts for years since the series corresponds to Hollywood blockbusters. However, Call of Duty 20: Modern Warfare 3 is different.
Bloom explains, "For example, in such a script, the description of an action scene is 'when we get close to X, we see X, and X is moving toward X.' Now, for each action, I've added a parentheses at the beginning, writing 'if/when,' and this kind of development is very exciting for us."
Bloom mentions that the game includes branching dialogue trees that change and react based on player decisions or even indecision. Discovering new areas in the game may trigger dialogues that you may have missed before. Sometimes, a character's lines may vary based on whether the player is being stealthy, fighting, or in other forms of action. Bloom states, "They don't just say the same lines in a soft or loud way. In stealth, there may be better expressions, and sentences may be shorter."
The previous Modern Warfare was a trilogy, and the current reboot will continue to develop further, with its characters having new storylines in future games.
Bloom concludes, "We believe that character arcs are not one-way, but can also deviate from their own arcs, and people can evolve and devolve. All these things provide rich groundwork for the story and are endless. In fact, you could say this is just the beginning."
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