Infinity Ward Talks Call of Duty: MW3 Content Collection 1 – and Double XP

140 46
Infinity Ward Talks Call of Duty: MW3 Content Collection 1 – and Double XP
Infinity Ward Talks Call of Duty: MW3 Content Collection 1 – and Double XP

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Content Collection 1 arrives in the PlayStation Store today, and it brings with it a whole weekend of double XP. This is the biggest DLC collection in franchise history, offering four multiplayer/Survival mode maps – Piazza, Liberation, Overwatch, and Black Box – as well as two all-new Special Ops missions, Black Ice and Negotiator. That kind of content doesn’t just make itself, so I asked Mark Rubin, Executive Producer at Infinity Ward, for some insight into how the studio approaches making add-on content for MW3.

Dan Amrich: Everybody has different tastes in maps. When you put together a collection, are you trying to please different groups of fans with specific maps, or do you try to make every map have something for everyone in it?

Mark Rubin: Any map can come up at any time in any game mode, so we never want to make a map that leaves players thinking “this isn’t for me.” Even when we design a map like Liberation, which snipers enjoy with its long sight-lines, we still create areas for players who enjoy, say, close-quarter combat. The central bridge and underground bunker in Liberation are a great example of this. It’s something for everyone, but we try to really offer something of value to each subset of players.

The locales represented in Collection 1 are literally all over the map – a seaside village in Italy, a swanky neighborhood in California, and the heart of Manhattan. How do you choose where a map will be located, and does that location determine what kind of gameplay works best there?

It’s a brainstorming process. Sometimes we think about the single-player campaign and ask “What’s going on a few blocks over? What’s happening that we aren’t currently seeing?” Other times, it’s dreaming up environments that offer the most tension and danger; it’s hard to beat Overwatch for that in Collection 1 – gun battles on a skyscraper are definitely dangerous. Other times we go for locales we’ve never seen before, or something that the art team wants to try out. I’m really proud of them on this collection; it’s worth stopping and looking around a map like Piazza to appreciate just what a good job all the art teams have been doing. And every now and then, someone will go to a great vacation spot somewhere around the globe and think, “This is gorgeous – and it would be a great CTF arena!”

I know each map goes through a revision process. How long does it take to make a map, generally? And with constant iterations, how do you know when you’re done?

We start a level by prototyping the map geometry. Before we decide on a final theme or setting, it’s more important that we get the level layout locked down – it needs to flow correctly, it needs to offer a lot of interesting engagement points. And that can take several months, with playtesting and polishing. As for how to know when it’s done…it just feels right. When the team agrees, from playing it, that things feel balanced, we know it’s ready.

What makes a map fun?

Player interaction and variety. When you spawn on the map, you want to run into other people – that’s the interaction. Maps with interesting choke points and clear pathways feel very satisfying to most players, because they know they’re going to get into battles in those areas. The tight corridors of Air Force One in Black Box are a good example. Yet elsewhere in Black Box, you have completely different environments – inside fancy mansions, a few construction areas. They look and feel different from the airplane sections, and that’s where variety comes in.

Which map in Collection 1 is your favorite to play, and why?

This is like asking someone to choose between their children, and I won’t fall into that trap. I hope everybody enjoys all four of the multiplayer maps. That’s why we made them.

Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer, and Raven Software all square off in a MW3 lobby. Which studio wins?

Do you even have to ask?

Somehow I knew the answer to that last one. Content Collection 1 is available now in the PlayStation Store for $14.99, and double XP kicks in on Friday – all players, all modes. Enjoy it!

Comments are closed.


46 Author Replies

  • # BlackOut MW3 I support!

  • I anticipate a lot of negative comments about the delay between release on different platforms, but let me start it off nicely by saying I can’t wait to check out the new maps when I get home. It was a long wait being a Non elite member on PS3, but it’ll be worth it I’m sure.

  • call of duty sucks

  • maps are terribly designed, double xp should be ps3 exclusive as repayment for lying to us about the contract and the ms arse kissing

  • Full information on Content Collection 1 can be found here ya’ll :) My favourite map so far is Overwatch :) Big highrise fan from mw2!

  • Call of Duty is popcorn tactical shooting for the jack-in-the-box scrub looking for free kills from killstreak rewards. Horribly broken multiplayer and poorly designed, albeit good looking maps.

    I enjoyed all of two maps from MW3’s launch. Won’t be going back, I don’t expect.

  • Millions of people play and enjoy this game every day. Why is it always only the haters who decide to vote and comment?

    • I don’t know, but my guess is that the people who do enjoy Call of Duty are out playing it, rather than commenting here. I would have thought the people who didn’t like it would simply spend their time playing games they liked more.

  • Thanks for the update Dan. I borrowed MW3 from a friend a couple weeks ago and got all the way up to prestige 2! I’ll go over to my friends house in the coming week to check out the new maps.

    I’ll get the game eventually ha.

  • For how much I play it, it’s a little pricey for a few maps. Heard good things about them none-the-less. Any news on Call of Duty on the Vita?

    • Six maps for $15 equals $2.50 a map. Ultimately that’s up to you as to whether it’s worth it, of course, but I’ve seen other games charge $3 or more per map. No news on Vita yet, but I am told it’s still in development and really will exist. :) Maybe we’ll hear something at E3.

  • Never got to play the maps yet, only because I don’t have the money for it right now. Hopefully I will later on.

  • Cheers Dan for responding to the “haters”!
    I will say that CoD isnt my cup of tea, but i still admire the brand you guys have build up!

  • Having ELITE premium, I’ve had the chance to play the new maps for a while on PS3 (Black Box not included, only released a few days ago!)
    Liberation is a solid map. I don’t agree that it caters to all play styles – if you go on the central bridge, you will be sniped quickly. Also, the underground bunker is very small and only really beneficial to corner camping. But for a long range sniper battle, its well made.
    Overwatch is more well-rounded. Long sight lines both sides of the map + horizontally across the middle with lots of narrower, shorter passages for close range gunfights. It is extremely wide though, so I never remember I’m on top of a building site and could fall off – and am yet to fall off.
    I don’t like Piazza. It’s easily the best looking map, but I just can’t cope with all the different levels. It feels like wherever you are, you can be shot from in front, to the side, behind, above or below.
    Early impressions of Black Box is that it’s incredibly open. The middle of the map is a no-go as far as I’m concerned, several buildings overlook it so circling the edge is essential for a run and gunner IMO.
    Overall, an improvement on the standard maps which I found incredibly underwhelming on the whole

    • It’s funny, because of the maps in this collection, Piazza is my favorite. I find the blind corners and verticality really challening and exciting — I’m just as paranoid, but for some reason, I like that. I like using SMGs in those tight passageways too.

      Black Box is quite open, watch for snipers in the mansion near the nose of the plane — they have sightlines almost to the other end of the map.

  • No offense Dan, but the majority of the players consider it to be 4 maps at $3.75 a piece. While there is appreciation out there for the design and dedication of the spec ops missions, I’m afraid the majority buys the packs for the multiplayer maps.

    • Well, every player has to decide whether any game, content, or DLC is worth it to them. Elite premium members get all that stuff at a discount (and still can), but six pieces of content is still six pieces of content.

  • People still play this?! ahahhaa pass SMH

  • LOL people complaining about how much the maps cost lol. If price is to much for you why not pay $50 a year for Elite and save a few bucks .

  • i just want to say that Modern Warfare looks and is amazing but BF3 is just better in the aspect of variety of gameplay. To be able to ride tanks, jeeps and fly planes in a a huge map…is way better than just running around in a small location trying to hide from the uav’s and all the other mordern cheesy ways to get kills..but thats just me. So in othere words im just going to pass on this and save my money for the new BF3 DLC’s..:)

  • I’ll pass way to pricy and the way infinity ward treat PS3 gamers is simply awful, they don’t care about PS3 gamers never have never will, I bought MW3 used at gamestop to ensure they receive zero profits because they don’t deserve it. Treat PS3 gamers like second rate customers and thats what you get.

  • Hi Dan,

    With the maps now available to all PS3 players, does this mean the DLC maps will be added to the normal playlists now?

    • Not sure. There is an Elite playlist which has been rotating these maps since they were released; that playlist will likely continue so you can always pop in there and check out the new content. I’m not sure if the DLC maps will be added to full rotation today or not.

  • shungokusatsu,

    they already are, from about 11AM GMT today.

  • Double XP? Heck yeah!

    @Dan Amrich – Any chance you can flip me a token. Like to get my double-double xp on!

    ***The HIT clan is looking for adult players that like to play the modes as a group. If you like to group up and BS while you are dominating a map, jump in with us. We play a lot of Domination, Drop Zone and Kill Confirmed with a little of whatever else people want to play at any given time.***

  • I was wondering if the new maps will be included in Standard Playlists? I would like to play TDM only with both new and original maps….Is it possible?

  • aaron1606,

    Am I doing something wrong then? I’ve been playing for more than an hour and I haven’t seen 1 new map yet…

  • Some things should be pointed out about map designs for domination for future reference. In Mission, the team that spawns at C has an obvious advantage. In Fallen, why does one team spawn at the B flag? In my opinion, B should be placed in that center area, and teams should spawn at A and C. Those are just a few examples, but there are more maps in the game where one spawn has an advantage over the other.

  • @Dan Amrich – Oh, and do you have the time frame for the Double XP? How about 5 pm CST today. That’s when I get home from work…..

    • Double XP kicks off Friday morning. It is a double XP weekend, so they are aiming for it to start Friday, as they usually do. You don’t need to rush home from work. :)

  • EdDieSoul, before you find a game, you should be able to toggle between DLC Disabled and Enabled using Select. It says on the left hand side under Barracks etc if you have it disabled. Otherwise I have no idea. But they are definitely available in the normal playlists now, I had a vote between Downturn and Black Box earlier (Downturn won, bizarrely!)

  • Can u guys please put maps in regular rotation for teamdeathmatch ..I been elite since day one but Havnt played new maps because I hate dom and kill confirm …if so when ?

  • YEAH…… a crappy add-on for a crappy $60 add-on XD CAlL OF DUTY BLOWS!!!!!!

    • So…play something you like more. :) You could be championing a game you like more instead of slagging this one and the people who have fun with it. Why waste your time complaining about a game you don’t enjoy, you know?

  • Dear: Amrich

    I have a question.

    i’m a elite premium founder and every time I download the the 4,5,6 content my Mic stops working any suggestion on how to fix it? Thanks…

    • That sounds weird to me. I’d ask the CS team if they have any advice. They are @ATVIAssist on Twitter, on Facebook, or any of the options listed at

  • You need to do like FOURZEROTWO…and look for a new company to work for. “GREEDVISION” is really getting bad.

    • This is an interesting take, because every single game publisher in the entire industry is a business and looking to make a profit. What’s more, CoD is very popular and a lot of fans look forward to new maps and DLC releases. So…well, I just don’t buy into the “greed” thing when it’s really just giving people what they want, and charging money for products and services — which is what every business does, from car companies to grocery stores to restaurants and movie theaters.

      Charging money for something does not make anybody greedy. But you always have the absolute power to choose how you spend your money, no matter what. So support whatever things you feel are worth the money and are likely to make you the happiest. That’s all — and that’s normal!

  • wany a real shooter pick up BATTLEFIELD 3 just one best game of 2011 and best audio and best multiplayer…… also the beta for tom clancy’s future soldier is out now and it makes MW3 look like bad anime XD

  • That sounds weird to me. I’d ask the CS team if they have any advice. They are @ATVIAssist on Twitter, on Facebook, or any of the options listed at

  • @PARTEE Funny, because I rarely play the competitive MP and am only buying this pack for the two new Spec Ops missions (and the trophies that come with them, of course). To each his own.

    • When you are making a game the size and scope of CoD, with an audience this large, it’s impossible to please all of the people all of the time. But yeah, giving different kinds of players something in each DLC pack seems to be the best way to make the most amount of people happy on a regular basis.

  • merc’n time

  • hay gaiz, hannna mortanna sells lots of records so her music must be good rite?

    @ Dan

    I like to play games that aren’t watered down xbox ports. Come back your sheeple game looks as good as Killzone, Uncharted & GoW :)

  • *when

  • I play all first person shooters i can and they all have there ups n downs. The only thing battlefield has on Call of duty is the vehicles…. I know what ya thinking more realistic shooting….. Some of us dont want our games too real, thats what makes games fun! Also Ghost Recon isn’t a fps its a military stratagy based shooter, so ya have to get in to that kind of thing( I do) its diffrent as one shot to the head ya dead..No health hate if ya must but cant wait 4 number 2

    • I get you on this. I never really understood the attitude that if you like Military Game A, then Military Game B must suck and then be wiped off the face of the earth. A and B might both be of interest, you know?

      Like, thank goodness nobody says “no more sci-fi movies, they already made one.” Different approaches work for different people.

  • I am an ELITE premium founder and I am in no way disappointed that there are two special ops missions included in the pack. I actually enjoy special ops and zombies, so they are actually a plus for me. In my previous post I was not trying to be rude to anybody. I was simply telling Dan that the majority of the community views it this way. That does not mean I view it that way, and I said that there is appreciation out there for the hard work. I just so happen to be one of the people that appreciate it. Anyway, the point of the post was just letting him know that unfortunately a lot of people feel that way.

  • thanks for the advice!!! =)

  • I think Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has worked out to be an $800 experience as of 2012.

  • Correction: probably closer to $500. Still, a lot of pricey expansions for a five-year-old game.

  • Hi Dan, bet you can’t guess who this is lol

    I have to agree with some of the comments expressed here. For instance, $15 for 4 maps. Yes, there’s a couples Spec Ops missions included, but I think Activision and everyone else is very much aware of the fact that the overwhelming majority buy these for the MP Maps. To me, it seems more like they’re throwing in these Spec Ops missions and such as a means to justify a more expensive map pack price. This is also evident by the fact that none of the questions in this interview even concerned the spec-ops missions.

    While there are those out there whom I’m sure enjoy playing them, I’m willing to bet that if they released a parallel map pack with only 4 maps for $10, it’s sales would vastly outnumber that of the one that included Spec Ops missions.

  • @ Dan Amrich – Any chance that the new maps will be added to the Drop Zone playlist? It’s my favorite play-type and I hope it returns in future sequels. Also, any plan to add Drop Zone to the Elite stats?

  • Dan, do you make commission on the amount of hate-filled comments that you respond to? If not, then I suggest pursuing the option with your Manager.

  • Well i pre-ordered the maps a week ago, i always buy the first set of map packs then skip on the rest.. i look forward to trying these new maps very soon.


  • This is a COD post, go post about MAG somewhere else!

  • I loved the call of duty and modernwarfare games UNtil BF3 came out WITH NEW and improved gameplay. aLL I HAVE TO SAY ID MWF AND COD NEED A HUGE CHANGE IN THE GAME! for me to convert back over. hopefully you guys will make some gameplay changes like maybe a new engine and gameplay mechanics. ITS ALL TO SIMILAR you guys have to change the formula soon. its getting old to fast guys.

    • When you ask for change…what are you really asking to be changed, and why? For instance, sitcoms — would anybody really say “You need to get rid of that lead actor, they’ve been around for the whole series”? Nah. Someone recently said “needs new engine” and I asked what it was they didn’t like about it. They immediately said “I don’t know.” So…you need to know, you know? There needs to be a good reason to change something that major.

      Call of Duty is, realistically, always going to be about action-oriented gunplay. I don’t think that is likely to change — and as a fan of Call of Duty, I don’t want it to. “Gameplay mechanics” play a big part — I like the way CoD games “feel,” and I would not want a dramatically different gameplay mechanic. I want to fire weapons and capture flags and save the world by running, shooting, jumping, ziplining, whatever. Is that fun gameplay at 60 FPS really what should change?

      What I support is the idea that you can innovate within that framework; that things can improve within the broad boundaries that a game establishes. (See also: Uncharted.) I think there is innovation within each game series, but sometimes people don’t want to notice it.

  • Nevermind I figured it out….when you’re making a party, on the bottom of the screen it has to say DLC Disabled…..then you can see the new maps in Standard Playlists….sounds stupid I know but DLC Disabled means DLC enabled….go figure….

  • @ Dan – Sorry dude, but I’m squeezing these questions in at work. What do you think of adding updated MW2 maps to MW3? Is this a possibility at some point?

  • I love having Elite. I get the maps early and I don’t have to wait as long. Plus I save money and I get to do clan ops.

Please enter your date of birth.