Saturday, May 10, 2014

Open Letter to SHGames: What I'd Like to See in CoD:AW

Dear Glen Schofield, Michael Condrey, and everyone at Sledgehammer Games,

Titanfall famously shipped without a normal singleplayer campaign and one of the reasons was explained by Vince Zampella, "We make these single-player missions that take up all the focus of the studio, that take a huge team six months to make, and players run through it in 8 minutes."  To me that begs the question, Why do players spend so little time going through these campaign missions when they are perfectly content to play the same multiplayer maps over and over again, often hundreds of times for each map?  

Here are a few of the reasons:

  1. In multiplayer games you are playing against an intelligent opposing team making each game play differently.
  2. You can play many different game modes on the same maps.
  3. You can use different weapons, equipment, perks, killstreaks, and change your playstyle according to what you are using.
  4. You have the ranking up and prestige system to go through, with challenges, titles and emblems to earn.
And here are some ways that could add more replayability to the singleplayer portion of the game:
  1. That the game has four difficulty levels is a start.  Another way to mix things up would be to have a variety of skill levels among the AI.  For example you could have an option for the player to choose what percentage of the enemy to make Recruit, Regular, Hardened and Veteran.  However the choices here are limited.  (You should use the MW3 survival mode AI as a starting point.  The AI in BO2 and Ghosts are definitely worse)
  2. Call of Duty 4 included two game modes for the singleplayer portion of the game and I see no reason why every game shouldn't include both the standard "movie mode" and an Arcade mode.
    I also think the game would benefit from adding a sort of free-play mode.  Remove all the barriers at the edge of the maps, all the "don't leave your squad behind" type death barriers, time limits (unless you planted a bomb or something), and then include options for customizing the enemy, the equipment available, your loadout, etc.  Perhaps a little over the top but I would love to have multiplayer game modes playable on singleplayer maps with AI and perhaps the ability to play co-op with a partner.  As many options as possible would be best.
  3. In Black Ops 2 you could customize your loadout and again, I don't see why you can't include that in every game from here on out.  Another element included in CoD4 that I would like to see again is the cheats you get after finding the intel.  It could be another free-play mode option.
  4. A great addition would be the multiplayer progression system applied to all of the singleplayer and co-op portions of the game.  If I were in charge I would have one progression for online multiplayer and another for the whole rest of the game including combat training.
I understand you have to make the game accessible to more casual players, and the many details and even minutiae that appeal to someone like me could hurt the satisfaction of customers who are not as into it.  All I can ask is that you consider some options.

Just in case you have another few minutes to spare on my ideas here is a post on how to make multiplayer more dynamic and fun than any other multiplayer game out there, and here is the post I wrote to Infinity Ward a little over a year ago.

Thanks for reading.
- Matt

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