There’s a big change coming to Call of Duty, though it’s one that sounds small at first. In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare you can reload while aiming down your gun’s sights. Previously, when you reloaded your weapon you would be pulled out of your sights and would then have to retrain your sights on your target. That will no longer be the case.
“In the past, if you’re ADS [aiming down sight], and you’re shooting and you reload, the weapon would go off to the side, and you’d have to retrain to get to your target,” Infinity Ward’s animation director Mark Grigsby said in a blog post. “This time if you reload, it stays on the target, so you can stay in the battle.”
It’s all part of Infinity Ward’s plan to make you feel like you’re playing a competent soldier-type, instead of the clumsy non-tier 1 military veteran that most of are.
“We wanted to make sure that the weapons were animating to a degree that would make the players feel like a Tier 1 Operator,” Grigsby said. This goes all the way down to the idle animations. “Back in the day, we saw a lot of idle [animations] that moved more like you were on the deck of a ship, swaying back and forth. You don’t usually stand still in Modern Warfare, but when you do, we wanted to make sure it looked natural; real quick movements using your muscles. We call this the ‘Active Idle’.”
There’s also been a lot of work on the effect your weapon will have in the world. “We needed to do different effects on the weapon’s target, so that the power of these weapons translates into the targets that you shoot,” Grigsby says. “The sparks, the smoke, the effects, all of it has to be representative of the power that you’re releasing from your weapon, so it all comes through with our effects.”
ADS reloads will keep you in the action
While you won’t necessarily see your reloads as often, what with you being able to keep looking down your sights, when you do they’re all going to be determined by your weapon, its attachments, and how much ammunition you have in the magazine. “Different calibers and different classes have different weights to them, and we’ve assimilated that data,” Grigsby explains. “An LMG [light machine gun] here; it’s a little stiffer, not as flimsy as an [assault rifle]. We worked on our reloads. The reload to me is the pinnacle of the weapon; it makes you feel – after you’ve taken down five different dudes in a room – and you reload, you go ‘shit yeah, you’re done!’ We wanted to bring that flair but taken to a new level where it’s just like one animation.
“In the past, we would never physically show that transition of one mag to another, but this time around, everything’s physical, so if you have an extended mag, like a drum perhaps, or a long magazine, all of the movements within every reload are visceral, strong, aggressive, it gives another feeling of power and representing the Tier 1 operators that utilize these machines.”
While the Call of Duty games may be known for their bombast, their big explosions and kill streaks, it’s a series that has also always done well on the small details. The audio work, for instance, that’s full of minor details – like the sound of your gun changing slightly as you fire more bullets from the magazine.