Retired Lt. Colonel Hank Keirsey spoke to a gaming website called Stevivor at E3 where he talked about his role as military advisor on Call of Duty. Colonel Keirsey joined the Infinity Ward team first in 2003, where he gave his advice on the first Call of Duty game.
Keirsey helped them understand what really happens in war situations:
“Well, I’m the one guy who’s actually been on the ground,” he said. “In the various parts of their development process, they [Infinity Ward or Treyarch] can filter their grand scheme through me. I just look and say, ‘that doesn’t look quite right,’ or ‘rock on’.”
Back in 2003, Keirsey had his work cut out for him. “In the early days, I always noticed dialogue that was sounding off, or was correcting improper radio procedures. They [Infinity Ward] would listen to cop shows and have the usual ‘copy me?’, ‘copy that.’ An ice cream truck driver would use that shit.”
“Soldiers would use ‘roger.’ ‘Over.’ ‘Out.’ ‘Wilco,’ which means ‘I will comply,’” he clarified. “These are sacred words that are used by military forces, so I – we– really wanted them to be in there correctly.”
For the first Call of Duty, the dialogue wasn’t the only issue he found when he saw that game. It was also the tactics and strategies used by soldiers. He say that the game had soldiers who just went “running in the middle of the street.”
“Oh, they [Infinity Ward] would have guys running in the middle of the street, instead of hugging the corners and crevices of houses,” he continued.
Keirsey also helps the team at Treyarch on developing their Call of Duty games. Most recently in Black Ops 2, he didn’t really understand the futuristic stuff.
“Well, I wasn’t very good at the future stuff,” he laughed. “I’d look at that stuff and ask, ‘why is that gun looking through a four foot pillar?’ and they’d say, ‘Well, we’ve taken this radiation magnet technology, and it’s advanced so far and…’, and I’d just go, ‘I don’t think so.’”
So instead, he helped with the levels that took place in the Cold War era.
“I advised more on the Afganistan level, the Nicaraguan level, the Panama level. The future stuff? Well, I was a bit in awe with those levels, I’d say.”
Keirsey is also working with Infinity Ward on Call of Duty: Ghosts. He also stated that the dog is based off of the real Navy Seal dogs and do the same actions in real battles.
“The dog is modeled on an actual SEAL team dog that they brought into studio, and you can see the actual scars he’s got on his muzzle from running through barbed wire,” he said.
He went on to talk about how detailed the developers are in every situation of the game; even just a small water drip matters to the developers.
“Here’s the deal. The developers have an enormous amount of passion to get the authenticity of the weapons, the authenticity of the scenarios, the authenticity of brick and mortar structures spot on. They’ll spend hours and hours just working on it. I remember looking at an animator working on a building, and I asked what he was doing. He said, ‘look here, where the water drips? It’s producing mold on the bottom six layers of this building’s brick, and I’m making it.’ And I just asked, ‘who’s going to notice that?’