When Activision announced Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered, they also announced that Raven Software would be leading development of the title, with assistance from Infinity Ward.
Infinity Ward’s studio head, Dave Stohl, revealed to Forbes that the decision to hand it off to another studio came because they did not have enough resources to dedicate to making a remaster alongside Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.
“Part of it is a resource thing. As you bring the old game over to new tech,” Stohl says, “you want to make sure you don’t lose the feel, the vibe, the look even though you’re using all this modern technology with physically based rendering pipelines and stuff like that. So the game’s gonna look terrific, but you want to make sure you don’t lose that vibe or that feel of the original game.”
Infinity Ward and Raven Software have worked together in the past, on Call of Duty: Ghosts and Modern Warfare 3, so they were excited to collaborate again on this together.
Raven Software’s Studio Director David Pellas spoke with Forbes about some of the ways they are improving the title to look great on current-gen consoles. While making these updates, Pellas reiterated the fact that, while they are updating the graphics, they are being very careful to not adjust or alter the core gameplay of Call of Duty 4.
“So what we did for multiplayer, for example, is we worked on the map Overgrown and we used that as our beautiful corner, our proof of concept of what we’re aspiring to get,” says Pellas. “And we worked on the foliage, we worked on the grass, we worked on the wind, the sky, the buildings, the textures. So much love went into crafting Overgrown and making it just an amazing experience, amazing visuals, that we then used that as kind of our temperature gauge on the other maps that we were working on.”
“Our directive at the beginning, and we believe this to be an important aspect of the remaster, is to remain true to the tenets that made modern warfare the game we all remember it to be. So we’re not looking to reinvent the wheel, we’re really trying to stay true to that game experience.”
Pellas described in detail some specific updates they look for to bring to the maps; specifically, they are working on bringing more attention to details on maps, which the 2007 original release did not have because of old technology at the time:
“Things like clouds moving over and being able to have that shadow of the cloud as it moves over the sun, is just a really impressive thing to see. The dynamics of the water effects as you’re splashing through the ravine in Overgrown, for example, is another one of those features that we wouldn’t have been able to do seven years ago, but the new generation of hardware pulls it off without a hitch.
“So there’s a lot of little things like that added to it,” he continues, “just to add a sense of realism and give you a real presence within the world that, as good as the first one was, these little tweaks just take it to another level.”
Raven Software was asked by Activision if they wanted to make the Mastered, and Pellas said there was no hesitation from the team: they wanted to do it.
“When this came across our desk as an opportunity, we leapt at it,” Pellas says. “There was no question. This product would not have been possible without the fans asking for it,” he adds. “We’ve seen petitions online. Activision really did listen, and this is the fruit of that labor. So very much this is a community project, and we’re just really proud to be able to bring it to [fans.]”
Raven Software’s Studio Head, Brian Raffel, stated that their goal was to make sure that they honor the legacy of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in making the remastered. They did not want to alter what made that title great in the first place.
“We wanted to make sure we hit every note as far as audio and the visual quality, and texture density, the visual effects so the whole experience was true to the original, but amplified in a way that was showing the next-generation quality.”
“Our goal is to make the fans happy that we were respectful to the original and did it honor,” Raffel says. “That’s really what’s important to us. Or to me at least.”
Raven Software has been working on Call of Duty since Call of Duty: Black Ops 1, where they made DLC for that title; they also worked on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3’s DLC season, and Call of Duty: Ghosts, Advanced Warfare, and Black Ops 3. The team also developed Call of Duty Online, the free to play title, available only in China.
Be sure to follow the Raven Software team on Twitter!