In between frantic matches and zip-lining at Activision’s second Call of Duty XP event last week, we were able to sit down for a chat with Jordan Hirsch from Infinity Ward to discuss all things Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare multiplayer. The entire interview has been transcribed, which you can read in full below.
PlayStation LifeStyle: What makes Infinite Warfare different from Black Ops III and other Call of Duty games which focused on future tech?
Jordan Hirsch, Multiplayer Project Director: That’s a good question. I think one of the biggest differences is the flexibility that we’re giving players. Players can essentially pick a combat rig, outfit it with one of three payloads, and one of three traits, which creates a lot of unique combinations within each rig. Each rig is custom-tailored to a specific play style. Using those traits, you can fine-tune it to basically play the way that you want to play. Then, within the loadout, you can select things that will synergize with whatever your setup is for your rig, which creates a lot of unique gameplay and tactical decisions, for moment-to-moment gameplay.
PSLS: Are you introducing any new systems? Will the Pick-10 system be back again?
Jordan: Yeah, we do have Pick 10. We’ve changed it a little bit; now, instead of wildcards, you have what we’re calling PIPs. Some items will cost two points rather than selecting a wildcard and then selecting an additional item. We did that because we wanted to reduce the friction slightly, and make that Pick 10 system a little bit faster to get through.
PSLS: When your initial trailer went live, the initial response seemed kind of mixed. What’s your stance on social media’s reaction to your trailer? Will that influence any of your games going forward?
Jordan Hirsch: Response has been sort of mixed with the first one, we have really passionate fans. I’m confident that we have a really good game, and I think people are going to love it when they try it. In terms of changing games going forward, I think we’ll pay close attention to the trailers that we’re releasing, and make sure that everything that we put out there is super exciting.
PSLS: Do you (at Infinity Ward) think the whole future warfare/modern warfare theme has reached its peak, or do you just getting started on this new direction?
Jordan: I hadn’t thought too much about the future because we’re still trying to finish the game that we’re making! But I think that there’s a lot of opportunity in future technology. It gives you a lot of leeway to create unique gameplay mechanics that probably don’t exist or is easier to create than in modern or older settings. So I think there’s a lot of really cool stuff that can happen in future or space games.
PSLS: How did that new setting come about? How did you end up where you are now?
Jordan: Early in the project, we had a process where basically anyone in the studio could pitch an idea: create a document, we’d go through those, give feedback on them, and essentially go through different pitches until the studio had sort of landed on something that the majority of us felt passionate about and wanted to make.
PSLS: So then you had to reject a couple of ideas to land on this one?
Jordan: Oh, yeah, hundreds!
PSLS: Is there a nuke/MOAB strike, and how is it earned?
Jordan: We do have the equivalent, it’s tied to one of the prototype weapons. So you can craft an epic weapon, which will give you access to the strike. It’s essentially a 25-weapon killstreak, so you have to get 25 kills with that gun, which is going to be pretty tough to do! It’s pretty epic.
PSLS: Describe the crafting system a little bit more.
Jordan: The crafting system is really actually pretty simple. While you play the game, you’re earning salvage, which is the crafting currency. So you’ll play the game. If you win, you’ll get a little bit more. It’s mostly tied to the amount of time you’ve played. So you’ll get that crafting currency, and then you’ll go into our armory, which will have a list of all of the base weapons, and all of the rare prototype weapons. So you can select the weapon you want to craft, hit a button, and craft it. (More rare weapons) will take more crafting currency to unlock.
PSLS: How many different weapons will be in this crafting system?
Jordan: In the crafting system, right now I believe we have a little over 80 weapons. We have some plans to add some more in the future.
PSLS: We saw that there are going to be some classic weapons. Will you also be bringing back some classic Modern Warfare or other game maps into the multiplayer?
Jordan: While we haven’t been thinking too much about the future of the game (while developing it), there’s definitely a possibility of bringing Modern Warfare maps in, but the classic weapons are essentially going to be fan favorites from past Call of Dutys.
PSLS: What about the Prestige system? Have you done any tweaking to that? What’s the new maximum rank?
Jordan: The Prestige system as it stands is pretty similar to what players have seen in the past and experienced. So as you Prestige you’ll unlock a Prestige token, and be able to bring over with you one item that would normally be gated via your player rank. Maximum Prestige right now that we’re planning is 10. That’s subject to change based on how things go in the future. We can adjust our experience curve, and we want that experience to be good for pretty much everybody.
PSLS: What are these Mission Teams?
Jordan: Mission Teams is sort of a meta on top of the typical player experience. So you’ll join up with a mission team, and that mission team will have a specific set of challenge types that you’ll do in the match. The JTF Wolverines are tied to pretty typical Call of Duty actions like, get five headshots, get 10 kills, things like that. When you complete those, or play games for that mission team, you’ll start to rank that mission team up. As you rank that mission team up, you’ll unlock specific rewards that are tied just to that mission team. What that does is later in the game, when you start to max out these mission teams, you’ll get some really cool stuff that you can deck yourself out in. So, for instance, if you’re playing for Orion, they’re game mode specific. When you go into a Search and Destroy match, and you have the Orion stuff on, people will know “that guy plays a LOT of Search and Destroy.” It brings in some cool bragging rights.
PSLS: Do you have to set a Mission Team active before a match? Can you switch?
Jordan: You can switch at any time. You set it active before a match. You can also pick the mission within that team. So if you get one that says “Capture 3 Dom points,” and you don’t like to play Dom, you can switch that out.
PSLS: What about some of the new (MP) modes that have been introduced?
Jordan: “Defender” is probably one that you played today. It’s essentially keep away. So there’s a drone in the middle of the map. You and your team go out, you have an initial fight to see which team gets the drone. Soon as someone gets the drone, that team’s score will start increasing. So if you team has it, you want to communicate, and protect the carrier, make sure he’s in a good, defensible place. After a certain amount of time, the drone will reset to the middle of the map, which creates another one of those big engagements where both teams are fighting over the drone. If the enemy team has the drone at any time, you sort of want to spread out and figure out where the enemy carrier is, and then lock that carrier into an area of the map, kill the guy, and get the drone back for your team. It’s a pretty fun mode!
Call of Duty Infinite Warfare Multiplayer Interview | PSLS
PSLS: How difficult is sniping (in these modes)? Can players quickscope?
Jordan: Quickscoping is possible. I wouldn’t say it’s easy! Most of the sniper rifles are balanced to be a difficult one-shot kill. So you have to get a headshot in order to get that one-shot kill, (especially) quickscope. So it is a possibility.
PSLS: How many maps are you going to launch with?
Jordan: That’s funny, I was just asked this, and I don’t actually know for sure! I believe it’s 12 maps plus a pre-order bonus.
PSLS: What do you hope to see from players?
Jordan: I’m really looking forward to see what happens. There’s so many combinations, that we’re definitely going to see some emergent gameplay. We’ll see something that we didn’t expect. It’ll hopefully be cool!
PSLS: What so far is your favorite loadout, equipment to use, etc?
Jordan: My favorite equipment is either…Well, I really have two. I really like the dome shield. It’s great for capturing points or even just disengaging if you come around the corner and there’s three guys there, and you know you’re not going to take out three guys. It’s great to be able to throw a dome shield down and then just run back out the way you came. That one’s a lot of fun! I also really like the black hole projector. It’s a great sort of multi-use lethal piece of equipment. If someone’s taking cover, you can throw it near them, and pull them out of cover, and shoot them as they’re getting sucked into the vortex. It’s great!
We’d like to thank Infinity Ward and Jordan Hirsch for taking the time out to talk to PlayStation LifeStyle. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare will be out this November 4 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.