Today at the Call of Duty XP Event, developers from Infinity Ward, Raven Software, and Activision gathered to give insights to the development for Call of Duty 4: Remastered. They spoke about the philosophies used in updating the beloved 2007 hit. In addition to this, we sat down to try out the updated version and see just how pretty it’s become.
The developers first talked about what made Call of Duty Modern Warfare worth revisiting. They believe the game really came through on the storytelling front, unlike any other shooter before it. That much is apparent from the moment you start the campaign, and are dragged through the streets, thrown into the car that takes you to the spot you are inevitably executed at, all in first person. As much as the single-player experience did for the genre, the multi-player is what turned the Call of Duty franchise from a niche FPS into the global phenomenon that finally dethroned Halo. Call of Duty 4 introduced perks, kill streaks, and refined customization options that defined a generation.
When the developers replayed the series, several aspects of the game surprised them. For starters, the game still looked and felt great. They still knew there were areas that could be improved upon, like graphics and sound engineering not capable in 2007 on the Xbox 360. But it was apparent to them why the game took off. The gameplay was rock solid, the multiplayer was fun and had depth, and as mentioned before, the story was engaging and memorable.
So with this in mind, Raven Software established four goals with the upcoming re-release:
- Respect the original game.
- Modernize the visuals and audio.
- Utilize new technology previously unavailable.
- Redefine what a “remaster” means.
Wow. If you were on the fence about how far graphics have come in the last nine years, just look at that screenshot, especially the lighting on the leather straps. Raven Software spent a lot of effort creating texture to the world to make it that much more immersive. The clothes’ ripples are built into the model, and they ebb and flow like real clothing. This level of added detail extends to the environment, vehicles, weapons, everything.
The new character models are astonishing compared to the 2007 ones. We got a look at Captain Price’s visual update. His hair is individually rendered, and his eyes look aged and tired. Raven Software wanted to make it so the world looked like it had history, and they’ve succeeded. Models no longer turn on ninety-degree angels when moving about the world– instead they move as if they have real weight and physics, slowing down when walking down steps and over small gaps. The weapons look amazing, and for the first time ever, Remastered counts every bullet in every gun. Which means, the bullet you see loading into the chamber is the one being ejected out, with small knicks and scratches that differentiate one from another. Vehicles have real motion blur, not the visual tricks that emulated the effect. And the visuals of the sky are among the prettiest this writer has ever seen in a video game.
Even more impressive is the sound in Call of Duty Modern Warfare: Remastered. Explosions, screams, and vehicles are more life like and layered with intricacies not seen in previous titles. The best new effect, by far, is the sound of bullets whizzing by you. Each shot is accompanied by the velocity of the bullet. You’re hearing the bullet, but you’re also feeling it in your gut.
We sat down to play Modern Warfare Remastered for a couple of rounds. The verdict is that if you loved the original game, you’ll be blown away by how far we’ve come. It is still Call of Duty, though, for better or for worse. It shot the same as before, except much prettier. Remastered will surprisingly be better as a second tour of the campaign, rather than to relive a multiplayer mode that we’ve seen and played before. All the work they’ve done into immersion is potentially lost in a multiplayer environment where you’re simply too preoccupied to notice. Don’t get me wrong– it feels great to play. But I was disappointed that the single player experience wasn’t offered at the event, as the footage of the remade first level got me excited. The way the rain sweeps across the boat, and your allies sneak into bunk rooms to assassinate their targets was exhilarating. That alone will be worth the price of admission.
The Remastered version will release on November 4th, as part of Infinite Warfare on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. Tomorrow we will wrap up our Call of Duty XP event coverage with the conclusion of the Call of Duty World Championship. Be sure to check in for details.