In a new interview with Polygon, Taylor Kurosaki spoke at length the goal Infinity Ward is trying to achieve with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. The team has been putting a focus on establishing Infinite Warfare as its own sub franchise in the Call of Duty universe, similar to Modern Warfare and Black Ops.
Infinity Ward’s last go at Call of Duty was met with bad reception from fans and press alike, some even claiming it took a step back in the franchise after Black Ops 2’s innovations from Treyarch. Call of Duty: Ghosts failed to establish itself in the Call of Duty world, and lived and died as a one off title in the universe. As of now, Infinity Ward has no plans to revisit that title, regardless of how the first ones’ campaign ended. With Ghosts, there was confusion around what Infinity Ward was trying to do: create a one-off title after working on Modern Warfare or try to establish a new brand. With Infinite Warfare, there’s no such confusion, they say.
“We want to establish our own new subfranchise. Our own new branch of the Call of Duty tree. What we are developing here could certainly support multiple games. We’re trying to develop a very rich world that we’re not even close to exhausting.”
Kurosaki said, “I can’t speak to what the intentions were when the team was working on Ghosts.” Kurosaki and Minkoff both joined Infinity Ward in 2014, transitioning from working on the award winning ‘The Last of Us’ at Naughty Dog.
We want to tell first and foremost a classic war story in the great tradition of the genre that Brian and I are both huge fans of. This is my first foray into Call of Duty and telling a war story. I’m so taken by the rich history of the genre.”
With Infinite Warfare, this is Infinity Ward’s first attempt at taking Call of Duty to the far future. Treyarch did it first with Black Ops 2 and continued that with Black Ops 3. Sledgehammer also did it with Advanced Warfare. Doing this isn’t an easy task, says Kurosaki.
“I’m sure that the Infinity Ward team felt the same kind of tremendous burden when they went from World War II to modern warfare. It’s an entire world with new weapons, vehicles, AI, under-the-hood stuff. We’re doing the exact same stuff here. This is as much of a sea change.”
Infinity Ward says that taking Call of Duty beyond Earth opened up a lot more mechanics and flexibility in bringing the story to life.
Everyone was interested in this setting,” Kurosaki said. “It afforded us a lot to do from a gameplay perspective. The setting was something we as a team were all united behind. Brian and I and Jacob Minkoff — the design director at Infinity Ward — the three of us set about looking to tell a classic story set against this more futuristic backdrop.
The setting of space puts even more pressure on our characters than even a traditional battlefield would allow for. In space, there is no gravity. In a lot of cases, most cases have no breathable atmosphere.
Take the worst of the world wars and put that in an environment where you can’t breathe, and up is a relative to where you are floating.”
Even with this being said, Infinity Ward’s Brian Bloom says that the story incorporates modern day technology and vehicles, while still bringing new things to the world. That’s what expanding the universe allows: bringing new ideas while retaining what Call of Duty is.
“We are looking at the ascendancy of those vehicles and those weapons. But it remains gritty. You should get a sense of rocket fuel, and sort of smell it and feel it. This is not that clean future that has somehow jettisoned from reality. This is gritty, grounded. Nowhere near the get-out-of-jail-free card some science fiction offers you.
We are firmly rooted in the past and present, and offering literally a vision of the future, and hoping it becomes an integral part of Call of Duty’s continuing saga.”
Infinity Ward’s overall goal, Kurosaki says, is to make Infinite Warfare worthy of being called a ‘Modern Warfare or Black Ops’ series within the Call of Duty world.
“If we were the next thing in that rich history in the Call of Duty of Modern Warfare, of Black Ops,” Kurosaki said, “if we were the next in that lineage, I’d say, ‘Mission accomplished.’”