The latest installment of the Call of Duty saga has benefited from new technologies. Released on October 28, Modern Warfare 2 takes realism to the max for an unprecedented level of immersion.
“It’s the biggest game we’ve ever made.” If all developers want to chant this phrase, Brian Bloom is perfectly qualified to do so. With Modern Warfare 2, out October 28, Call of Duty’s narrative director and lead episode writer has created the most immersive title in the franchise.
Relying on a rise in technological range, the latest Activision title manages to redefine the usual standards of the shooting game. Whether it be fidelity to the sets, new game mechanics or even realism to the characters, every brick in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is technically reminiscent of the perfect episode.
Unretouched modeled actor performances
From the first glance, the cut scenes are amazing. Motion capture technology has seen significant improvements in recent years. As a result, the difference between capturing actor performances and modeling them as characters fades away.
For the first time, the developers at Infinity Ward did not need to retouch the scenes. In previous episodes, an artist had to adapt the actors’ performances to best model them in-game. Today, that’s no longer the issue.
“Now it feels real and looks like a true capture,” says Tech&Co Jeffrey Negus, narrative director at studio Infinity Ward.
“It’s something very important to us,” he continues. On the narrative side, our job is to make things come to life by creating alchemy. And this alchemy needs to be captured and translated on screen. A possibility now accessible through motion capture.
In addition, the narrative tools promote the integration of the player in a global adventure. Advanced dialogue mechanics are sometimes offered. Beyond the simple choices already seen in the license, allies can be asked different questions. For the creators, it is a way to improve the connections with the secondary characters.
A reproduction of Amsterdam by photogrammetry
Still in this search for realism, the development studio also opted for the sets. Whether it’s Amsterdam, Mexico or even Chicago, Modern Warfare 2’s campaign is part of the tradition of the Call of Duty series: telling a story that takes the player to the four corners of the world.
“We used photogrammetry to faithfully recreate certain locations,” said Brian Bloom, the lead writer on Modern Warfare 2.
This technique consists of using photographs of the same object or place taken from different perspectives to capture its relief. With it, Infinity Ward was able to reproduce a district of the Dutch capital with the greatest care. With the key, a bluff result.
For Brian Bloom, bringing such a level of detail to the graphics makes the game’s content more believable. This involves the player more. “It gives us the opportunity to tell the most incredible and immersive story that we have ever written,” confirms the narrative director of the franchise.
These improvements are based in part on the technological leap that the new consoles have brought: PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series. But the developers say that it is above all the advances made in the game engine that pave the way for this degree of immersion.
A modeling technology dedicated to water
However, the new generation of consoles has made it possible to implement technology specifically linked to the representation of water. An innovation so important in the eyes of the studio that the item is almost a character in its own right in the story. The studio also had to model a digital structure to bring the water present in the game to life.
“It’s something we couldn’t have done in later games,” said Jeffrey Negus, narrative director at Infinity Ward.
Several times during the campaign, the player will be submerged in water. With, for the first time, the possibility of engaging in combat on the surface, but also underwater. This new feature adds an extra dose of immersion by multiplying the available approaches.
Also in terms of realism, the representation of water sets a new standard. “It’s procedural generation,” says Jeffrey Negus. “This means that the water reacts according to the player’s movements.”
Additionally, these enhancements will enhance the online experience for players. Good news as the promise of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is to usher in a new era for the franchise. For the first time since 2005 and the publication of the second installment of the license, Call of Duty should do without its traditional annual episode in 2023.
To overcome this lack, the shooter will be able to count on Warzone 2.0, the new version of the Battle Royal of the series, scheduled for November 16. And with this paraphernalia of improvement, Call of Duty puts all the possibilities on its side to rekindle the flame with an audience that has been hungry for a few games.
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