Call of Duty has been a phenomenal success for Activision, raking in profits by the billions and ensnaring a community numbering in the tens of millions. And it's all down to the online multiplayer, with its persistent levelling, customizable arsenal and deck of perks. I, for one, am addicted despite my multitude of misgivings, such as how over-powered the aerial killstreaks in Modern Warfare 2 proved to be. Well, Infinity Ward seem to be aware of this, admitting MW3 will be put an emphasis on the ground warfare the first title popularized so well.
Speaking to Kotaku, Infinity Ward's community guru Rob Bowling explained that the verticality of every map and the rampant power of aerial killstreaks such as the harrier or chopper diminished Modern Warfare 2's quality. Its predecessor, however, the first Modern Warfare, had a heavy focus on balanced infantry combat, forcing you to rely on your wits and capability with a gun in your hand than a helicopter prowling the skies or sniping from a lofty perch.
"And it's all focused on that gun-on-gun gameplay, especially in Modern Warfare 3," he explains in regards to the multiplayer. "I feel like it's something we nailed with Call of Duty 4. We moved away from it a little bit with MW2, relying heavily on air support, killstreaks, perks and stuff like that. Modern Warfare 3, very much [is] building up from that Call of Duty 4 mentality of gun-on-gun, fast-paced infantry gameplay."
Infinity Ward intends to achieve this by lowering the number of so-called 'hot spots' in each map. In your average MW2 map, half a dozen or more hot spots may exist; a window, a roof, a raised ledge or bridge. MW3 will feature no more than five hot spots in every map, similar to the first Modern Warfare game. "It simplifies it so that the less skilled player has less to think about," Bowling reveals. "What happens when you have more is that the professional guys are using that spot that is either difficult to get to. … There's fewer places to hide, which discourages the more camper mentality that seemed to emerge in the map design of Modern Warfare 2."
Bowling explains that the team at Infinity Ward over-complicated the maps in MW2. They featured numerous hiding holes and vantage points, confusing players and leading to exploits. "Call of Duty 4 was much more simplistic in its map design," he said. "ou have the sight points, you have the routes players will take. It was very flat in terms of where you could go. Modern Warfare 2 had a major focus on vertical combat, increasing the multi-floor levels, increasing the number of buildings you go into. There were a lot more places you could go than just the main routes and buildings where you were meant to go. That encourages and discourages a lot of types of gameplay."
According to Bowling, MW3 won't simply ditch hot spots and verticality in its maps. Instead, it'll include those features only when they make sense. The hot spots, in particular, have been pored over by the team, who want the player to know each and every one when they turn a corner, instead of being confronted by dozens and shot down in a haze of confusion.
"But for the hardcore guys who have been with us since the beginning, that speaks volumes," Bowling tells Kotaku. "The map design, the return to focus on gun-on-gun, all that stuff." We can't wait, can you? [Kotaku]