Modern Warfare 2 has quickly become one of this year’s most anticipated AAA titles, everything seems to indicate a successful launch, despite nobody taking notice of the straw in the wind. Let’s take a peek behind the curtain, looking at the people pushing and powering this blockbuster; for what most would consider Call of Duty’s ultimatum.
Canary in the coalmine
Call of Duty’s high attrition rate has cost the company over the past year, although turnovers are common at the studio, several long-tenured Leads, Seniors, and Directors at Infinity Ward have resigned in protest against working conditions and pay discrepancies. To make up for the lost talent, a high influx of employees were hired at an associate level, and others with no prior experience in the industry.
An associate went on to state:
“It felt like there was a bit of an “old guard”, a kind of clique-driven environment where you respected what the Seniors wanted […] it left a lot of new hires feeling disregarded, and lost”
Over the past year, I’ve held several discussions with former employees dedicated to the development of Modern Warfare II, one high-profile contact stating:
“I love the team at Infinity Ward, but I do hate how they manage people. They like to use and abuse people. Lots of talented individuals, a part of the team, and several departments, will be breaking up after this game has shipped. So, keep that in mind – it should be a big year for IW but after this next title I don’t see [Call of Duty] doing well in general.”
Infinity Ward has adopted a planning-to-crunch policy, it’s a deliberate part of the development process that exhausts both high-profile, and lower ranking employees alike. Now, dedicated to supplying a AAA experience between Single-player, Multiplayer, Co-op and Battle-royale. With pressure for doubling down on the success of Modern Warfare (2019), and delivering a flawless product.
Though, It begs the question, was Modern Warfare (2019) Call of Duty’s Achilles heel? Modern Warfare arguably brought about leading innovation to the series, a quality that seemed lacking. However, does that leave behind unattainable standards for future titles?
With three different studios developing their idea of a Call of Duty game each year, it leaves people divided, a player-base with different wants, needs, and asks. Call of Duty fans want the game catered to them, specifically. Modern Warfare II will not please everybody, but does that excuse lie in the game or the players?
Call of Duty as a formula has a ceiling, FPS games are boundless. You can only do so much with the formula before there’s no room left to expand or innovate before it starts feeling less ‘like Call of Duty’. It’s difficult for developers trying to strike that balance between traditionalists, and progressives for a title like Modern Warfare II, taking on the moniker ‘CoD 2.0’.
Two cents’ worth
Whether leaks have exasperated the excitement for Modern Warfare II is an entirely separate discussion in itself, though fans should temper expectations and wait to make judgments for themselves once the BETA is available to them.