In a bid to create a more authentic experience, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare developer Sledgehammer Games sought out advice from experts in numerous fields. One such expert was a "scenario planner" from the United States Department of Defense, studio co-founder Michael Condrey told The Guardian in a story about the game published today.
"Three years ago, right after we finished Modern Warfare 3, we started thinking about how to change Call of Duty," Condrey said. "We brought in a lot of outside help--military advisers, futurologists--we got together with a scenario planner from the Department of Defense, who is active in the Pentagon. His job is to think about future threats and prepare 'what if' scenarios for the US government. So we asked him, what do you think will be the conflict of tomorrow?"
Conflicts immediately ruled out by this source were China, a revival of the Cold War with Russia, and a consolidation of Islamic extremist states, Condrey said. This defense adviser, instead, said a cash-rich private military company could be the next major threat to the security of the United States. This is the theme Sledgehammer Games eventually went with for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
"We thought that was fascinating and provocative," Condrey said. "What happens when an organization that's built for profit has access to all the latest weapons and technology--an organization that can operate outside of the Geneva Convention, that can be purchased by the highest bidder? What if that got out of control?"
As part of its research, Sledgehammer Games also studied contemporary private military companies, including perhaps the best-known and controversial firm, Blackwater.
The developer also also sought out expert help in creating futuristic--but not science-fiction--weapons for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Condrey says because the Call of Duty series is so popular across other entertainment industries and even military organizations, it wasn't terribly tough to find people to contribute to the game.
"Often, we are able to extend our network through existing relationships within the Call of Duty franchise," Condrey said. "For example, we worked with Mark Bohl, writer of Hurt Locker, and were put in contact with his retired Navy Seal Team 6 adviser through shared contacts. Other times, we research experts in the field and reach out directly. Retired Delta Commander, Dalton Fury, is an example. We read his book, Kill Bin Laden, and made an inquiry on his interest and availability."
Condrey stressed that every gun, vehicle, and aircraft in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare--the game even has directed-energy weapons--is rooted in research that is currently underway. It's all part of making the game "grounded and believable," Condrey said.
"So we agreed with the designers, if you can't point to R&D or a prototype, it can't go in the game," he said. "At one point we had this concept for a teleportation grenade--you throw it, and where it lands, you teleport there. But it's not in the game because it's science-fiction."
|Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch|