The former head of Sledgehammer Games, the studio behind numerous Call of Duty games, has spoken about how Call of Duty: Modern Warfare could be a tough challenge for Infinity Ward, noting that there could be pressure from Activision to make the game controversial.
Talking to Venture Beat, Michael Condrey – who now acts as president of 2K Silicon Valley – responded to a question about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s critical reception at E3.
“I respect every developer who strives to deliver their work as an extension or reflection of their artistic vision,” Condrey said. “That said, MW seems like a tough challenge for any studio, especially if they are being pushed by publishing to be more controversial and “darker” for the sake of headlines.”
It should be noted that Infinity Ward has not claimed to have been asked to produce a controversial campaign by publisher Activision. Instead, this appears to be Condrey’s personal reading to the situation.
Condrey himself worked on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, and Call of Duty: WWII, among others. Discussing his past projects, Condrey explained how his teams dealt with distancing realistic combat from actual reality: “Our efforts on MW3 were focused on storytelling in a universe that dealt with intense conflict but was also very clearly fictional. And with WWII our team strived to pay tribute to a conflict like no other.” He also notes that Advanced Warfare used a completely fictional Private Military Company as the antagonist.
Additionally, Condrey pointed out that real-life events that make development of realistic shooters a more challenging prospect: “But the world has changed a lot in the last decade and events like Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, and Christchurch are real and heartbreaking. So, I’m torn… to be totally honest.”
Condrey does have hope that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare won’t be an entirely controversial game, though. “I hope the game’s stated goal to depict the realism of war was an unfortunate choice of words, rather than the actual intent to depicting the unspeakable atrocities that are the reality of today’s modern conflicts,” he said.
There’s been a mixed reaction to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare at IGN, with several of us finding the E3 demo uncomfortable, while others are fascinated to see what this new, more grounded approach to Call of Duty produces. There’s always the chance that what we’ve seen so far is Modern Warfare’s ‘No Russian’ moment, and that other sections of the game aren’t quite so divisive. For more of our thoughts, check out Ryan’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare preview.