“You have to stretch and squash and work with the facts to get what you really want…”
While it’s fair to say no one expected Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare to adhere all that closely to the science half of science fiction, Infinity Ward actually has a good reason for avoiding it.
“If you get too wrapped up in what is absolutely, scientifically correct, you nerf some of the core principles of what makes a great Call of Duty game,” Senior Art Director Brian Horton explains in an interview with PlayStation Blog.
The main push behind the far future setting in the first place was for the series to find something new. “One thing that we wanted to do was take the Call of Duty recipe we know so well and find an opportunity to expand the mechanics and attempt some visual things we’d never done before,” he says.
“So we took a tact in which we imagined a merger between NASA and the navy: you take the navy elements with the military aspects — things like battleships — and you push that into space with a NASA aesthetic and that fusion created what we think is a very plausible future.”
But the merger only forms the backbone, a setting for everything else to build from. “You have to stretch and squash and work with the facts to get what you really want from the experience. So, we do take some licences with the science — this is a mass-market product after all, like an action movie — but we really want to make sure we’re not going into laser beams and aliens.”
In the end, the team instead asked themselves, “What are those fantasies you have about space?” It’s from that question that everything, from Infinite Warfare’s zero-g grappling hook to its homing grenades, was born.
But what about the big problem of there not being any sound in space? It turns out the team actually figured out a way around that one. “In the game, there’s a way your suit can simulate those sounds and impacts through photons so that you have a tactical awareness of your environment. We’ve dampened the sound a little, but it’s still there to make sure the player has a good time. This is actually not science fiction either — it’s actually very plausible.”
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare launches November 4.