MCV has posted a lengthy update on how the original Call of Duty game came about. The team behind Call of Duty was an original studio called 2015, that worked with EA at first. The studio was responsible for creating – back then – the biggest FPS, Medal of Honor.
“Back in 2003, EA had Medal of Honor as the runaway World War II shooter. It was fabulous. That was the product to beat,” says Scott Dodkins, who was Activision’s Euro VP at the launch of the first Call of Duty.
“I think the EA/Activision rivalry was even more intense then. We were really gunning for EA. We were desperate to narrow the gap and overtake it, which Activision eventually did. EA had games like FIFA, which we couldn’t compete with. But Medal of Honor was a genre we thought we could enter. So we were looking for a product that could emulate and beat it, and we came up with Call of Duty.”
Today, Medal of Honor is mute. That game was revived by Danger Close, but the games failure lead to that studios shut down. Now, EA’s fighting Activision with their Battlefield series.
When EA decided to start taking more control over the 2015 Studio plans, the studio wanted to be independent. And Activision was the option that worked.
“The company was potentially going to disband. In a last ditch effort our then president, Grant Collier sent out a signal to all the major publishers in the industry letting them know that the majority of the Medal of Honor: Allied Assault team was available. Within days of closing the doors on the studio, Activision responded immediately with an offer.”
Rieke adds: “We actually got two deals. We had one with EA LA, a deal which we took for about two days, before the deal with Activision came through. Both would involve moving out to LA, but with EA we were concerned that we would be rolled up into EA LA, and that our team identity would go away. That was the ultimate swaying point for us deciding to go with Activision. Activision had four or five different studios in the LA area, which all operated like they were independent. And that was what we wanted.”
Thomas continues: “Activision offered to deposit money in the account within hours and fund a project for over a year, with one stipulation: The right to purchase the company for around $3m and we had to sign that day. Let’s just say they got a very good return on investment.”
And, back then, the first Call of Duty game was actually called ‘MOH Killer’ until they could come up with the name.
“The project was actually named ‘MOH killer’ until an official name could be found. We were focused more on fun than success, with the idea that if it was fun, it would be successful. We were just going to make a great game, and do the things better than we did on previous projects.”