RF: Rich Farrelly - Creative Director for Call of Duty: World at War
LT: Lt. Colonel Hank Keirsey (Ret. U.S. Army) - Military Advisor for the Call of Duty franchise
CCC: Cheat Code Central
CCC: I did notice that the sound design is excellent. What goes into recreating all that?
Call of Duty has always been about great sound from the get-go ... our sound crew here is really fanatical about sound. That was one of the areas where we really added to the Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare engine. The environment for instance - you walk into the environment in other games [and] you'll notice a looping soundtrack of ambient sounds that play. Now everything is placed - everything is "spacial-ized" and positional, so if you have a surround sound system, you're really going to hear it if a rifle fires over there [points to the left]. There's going to be a sound playing on the bullet - a real-time Doppler effect. All these kinds of things add up. Just in terms of the sound, we went for a really contemporary approach - you might have noticed that music is a lot different from previous iterations of World War II genre games - Call of Duty in particular. We went for an edgier, more contemporary, film-style approach with that.
CCC: It had a very thematic score. I also noticed that during that second level it had a very "Enemy at the Gates" start to it. Was that an obvious influence for your team?
As with any medium, we're influenced by the world around us. They're [people working in film] influenced by the same history books as we are. Yeah, we draw influence from film, interviews we've had with veterans; we even draw influence from films that aren't necessarily war films. For instance, that moment in the nighttime demo that you saw - where the flare went up and all the guys [Japanese soldiers] spread out - think about Aliens, where they've got the bleeper and they're in the vents. We wanted to recreate that feeling. So, it's not all about taking a scene in a movie and reproducing it.
CCC: Would you say the single-player campaign is more a chance at the historical immersion but the multiplayer is really where you can deliver on that solid entertainment package?
Absolutely. We recognized early on that we've got these four armies - especially following up on Call of Duty 4 multiplayer, where you've got this vast pool of weapons you can choose from. The decision was made early on that we're going to follow that paradigm, and multiplayer becomes more of a World War II theme park where we kind of bend the rules of history a little bit in favor of making a really solid, fast-paced experience worthy of Call of Duty.
CCC: How many maps are you going to ship with for multiplayer?
We can't really talk about it right now. Pretty sure we're going to be having a reveal later.
We could tell, but we'd have to kill you.
Or we could just burn your eye out with a cigarette.
CCC: I wanted to ask you about that. That's a narrative technique I noticed from that last Call of Duty [Modern Warfare]. So, are you guys taking mind of that stuff? For example, in Call of Duty 4 the player has the perspective of the guy tied to a pole who gets shot.
We wanted to sort of do away with the detached cutscenes. Everything is done from the perspective of the player. I think that really immerses you a lot more and it's a more effective storytelling tool. In terms of the edginess or grittiness of that scene, which is pretty brutal, but even the way we chose to shoot that, we could have made it a lot worse. We still pay attention to making it as tasteful as possible while still trying to evoke that emotion.