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

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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!

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46 Author Replies

  • i ask you this why Mr. Dan and don’t tell me “play what you like” BECAUSE I LOVE COD MORE THAN YOU!. Why should i continue playing MW3? its just like feels like a dejavu tell me wheres the creativity? i guess what im saying im dissapointed on how the series is going. although you probably dont care because if it sells good :) people love it right? and if you dont play what you like!!!?

  • When I log into Elite, it shows a big banner that says “Double XP Weekend Begins NOW!” with a giant 2X in it.

    • Then that is a mistake, because I showed you the source, and I’m playing the game right now, and I am not getting double XP.

      If in doubt…log in. :)

  • AT 99@ i support evo 10
    lol switch games you just threw your 60$ to the trash is that what your saying to evo ?he shouldnt have expected new innovation? lol have you even play mw2? see all the hacking!!! LOL but who cares lol right?! hahaha we asking you the same DAn wheres the innovation and if its going to be the same on the new CoD ?!

  • Yeah I am sure it was. That is why I figured I tell you because you have more Clout with Beachhead to fix it quickly then little ole me does. Am I wrong?

    • I do not work at a developer. But the Intel post appeared before the Elite graphic, and I highly suspect the latter is a mistake. Someone probably pushed the button too early on that graphic.

  • Dan… Thank you for taking the time for answering my questions. Even if I didn’t quite like the answers, I still respect the time you took to answer them.

  • I don’t play CoD but Dan sure is a great community manager.

    I give this post 1 red square.

    Dan, you get 5 red squares.

  • Peer to Peer MP where I live makes games that use it literally unplayable. At home, I get 1 or 2 bars if I’m lucky. At college, there is so much traffic that the game likes to switch between 4 bars and 1 bar. Of course, this applies to most P2P games… including Uncharted and Resistance.

    Shame too… because I wanted to give MW3 a legitimate chance, but I can’t play something that is unplayable.

    (And yes, I have played it, you can check my trophies)

  • I have downloaded all of the collection 1 downloads over & over again & every time i go to play the colletion 1 playlist it says piazza is missing or corupted… ive almost had it with this… what is the issue with this map pack???

    • You should contact @ATVIAssist on Twitter, or /ActivisionAssist on Facebook, or — they are there to help with things like this.

  • It’s okay Dan they don’t hate you they hate Activision don’t sweat it we all appreciate you replying to some of are comments and giving us your feeling and a calm nice matter you’re an awesome community manger.:D!

  • I don’t care very much for Call of Duty and haven’t even played MW3. However, I gotta hand it to Dan for being so awesome and responding to crazy people with intelligence. It may fly over their heads, but who knows. Kudos to you sir. Keep up the good work.

  • khjkhjkghkjghkjghjgjhhkghi

  • add me(^__^)

  • thanks Dan.. ive left a post on there facebook page but havent gotten response… seeing as ive downloaded the piazza map & all the others multipule times now… is there any wy the file on the ps store is damaged.. cause thts the message i get…”piazza is missing or damaged… i know its not missing..any other help would be apreciated..

  • I have Premium so the maps have trickled in and I played quite a bit of Piazza and Liberation. I think they’re pretty good maps and you can be successful in Liberation even if you are not a Sniper….assault class works just as well if you know how to traverse it the right way.

    Overwatch kicks my @ss every time. Not sure what it is about that map but I never seem to get the upper hand. The newest one, Black Box, I havn’t played in a public match. Have not played any of the new ones as much as I wanted because I did not like having to cycle through game modes I did not want to play. Glad they have entered normal rotation and expect to get my fill over DBL XP.

    Now that the 1st package is out to all I hope Activition will heed some advise and provide an accurate release schedule for the remainder of the DLC for all the different levels of player. I am over the fact that PS3 Premium Elite Players were basically deceived but I would at least like some hard dates for everyone by the time Xbox Premium players get it. I appreciate the fact that I saved a little money and got some DLC somewhat early but this whole Elite experience has left a bad taste in my mouth.

    Love the game…Elite not so much for the price we paid :(

  • well Activision assist were of no assistance.. ive purchesed the collection 1 map pack from the ps store.. downloaded & installed 7 files.. multi. times i might add & all i get when i go to play them is ” Required map Piazza is missing or damaged, gain access by purchesing subscription or map pack”…. ive already payed for them & downloaded & installed multi times… if it wont work id like a refund to my wallet.

  • Dan whats going on with the Crash Bandicoot franchise?

  • Battlefield3 is WAAAAAYYYY Better!!

  • OK it turns out when i purchesed the collection 1 map pack from the PS store i purchesed the one for BLUS-30887 when i needed BLUS-30838… this is very silly of me & PS store & activision.. this sort of stuff leads people to loose money.. i just clicked on the first collection 1 pack & purchesed not knowing there was more then 1… i sure hope i can some how get the one i need without paying anymore.. if i have to buy it over again i sure as hell wont be…. & wont be buying any future ps store stuff…

    can these BLUS’s downloads be exchanged? or have i lost $16??????????????

  • to update my last post… the activision assist rep. said that i could download the BLUS-80838 version of the MW3 collection 1 pack & no extra charge if i purchesed the wrong version, yet when i try to download the correct version it trys to charge me $14.99+tax again.. im not paying for it twice.. can someone please unlock the correct version to download for this PS account..

  • hi dan do u know when mw3 be available in psn store?

  • activation cant make games every game i played from them is just trash. no one makes games like they use to unless you’re activation then you never made good games in the first place lol. what happen to games like rainbow six 3 ravens shield, area 51, battlefield modern combat 2.

  • “I’m afraid the majority buys the packs for the multiplayer maps.”

    Always found these types of comments a bit amusing. Call of Duty World at War made the vast majority of their sales for map packs because of the Nazi Zombie map additions. The same was actually true for Black Ops.

    I have never purchased one of the add-ons from Infinity Ward and never even bothered to gank one from a friend when they bought them. Extra multiplayer maps just isn’t really worth it at the end of the day because you’re still doing the same thing you were doing in the previous set maps, with probably more problems in the new ones. The main difference being that with the normal experience you don’t pay anything extra and really don’t miss out on anything drastic, while the other leaves you missing $15 and still playing the same game.

    I’m glad Infinity Ward finally got around to making a map pack I contemplated buying. For some reason I can’t get into the multiplayer at all for this game, but I’ve got over a day put into Spec Ops oddly enough.

  • The maps I enjoyed were the downed helicopter and the uhh… maybe it was a train terminal?

    I particularly hated the one with the bridge overhead, or whatever.

    The two biggest problem with Call of Duty games: weapon damage and the random spawns.

    If the guns are too damaging, players die too fast. That rewards ambushing and almost penalizes actually aiming at folks because, seriously, what’s a headshot when spraying three shots into a guy’s thighs will do the trick?

    Random spawns, if you just drop people on the street with no advance knowledge of where they land, you’re dropping them into a meat grinder. Why not show a player where he’s dropping while he’s waiting out the respawn timer? My guess is so that you can drop him into a meat grinder where he has to suddenly assess where the crap he is and run for it.

    I gave it another shot on Steam during the free multiplayer weekend, but the servers were loaded with cheaters. Seriously every other match. Guys with rapidfire, golden sniper rifles, shredding guys through buildings. Not a PS3 iteration issue, sure, but it it was a tour of CoD’s problems.

    Won’t be returning until there’s a significant overhaul to the design philosophy.

  • People are mad that a game that literally recycles itself year after year is the best selling game right now, while it is a sad picture it should not affect people who don´t like COD, they can just play other games BUT here is the funny part, because COD is so popular, other publishers are demading their existing franchises to be dumbed down to the COD level trying to get that “mass appeal” COD has, games with more cerebral and methodical gameplay being reduced to a “action oriented instant gratificaton”, “scripted events” and “linear” experiences which im sure sounds familiar. That is the reason people hate COD, not because its popular itself but because its presence affects the “games that makes us happy”

    I just saw this article but i hope this comment gets to Mr Dan Amrich if he is still around.

  • Dear Dan, What about poor connectivity and Lag issue what we face everyday. You guys making billion buck from game but don’t care about us(gamers). Its take long time to reach on prestige 14 but due to your best server-host-lag issue, the game ruined my KDR, play skill, sometime i found like i am a beginner. Your customer care officer don’t have good solution. Plz save million of gamers from this issue. PLZ fix this issue what make this game unplayable. If your answer is Choose other game then I will ask you plz return back all the time i spent on this game, return back my money what i spent on this game and elite….. But a consumer I ask you to give us a good solution and promise us to solve this evil Lag issue….

  • Who cares when you ruined my relationship with my friends! kids ruined MW3! but I really don’t care anymore this game went to the deep’s of hell! Infinitely Ward was only pat of the team and Sledge Hammer games didn’t use any creative idea’s with this game in the first place! This genre will die soon with nothing new or original! Pay for a hacker’s paradise? $50.00 bucks for junk! They didn’t use there God given brain! Where is custom sound tracks,online trophies,And a way better way to ban cheaters in MW3! “Omg seriously what does it take to screw a light bulb in the socket!” You idiots in the video game industry! Modern Warfare 3 is the last dying breed for this generation!

  • Who cares when you ruined my relationship with my friends! kids ruined MW3! but I really don’t care anymore this game went to the deep’s of hell! Infinitely Ward was only part of the team and Sledge Hammer games didn’t use any creative idea’s with this game in the first place! This genre will die soon with nothing new or original! Pay for a hacker’s paradise? $50.00 bucks for junk! They didn’t use there God given brain! Where is custom sound tracks,online trophies,And a way better way to ban cheaters in MW3! “Omg seriously what does it take to screw a light bulb in the socket!” You idiots in the video game industry! Modern Warfare 3 is the last dying breed for this generation!

  • well i just finished talking to sony support on the phone… & what a joke…hackers have more access to there network then these guys do!…

    A tip to all… if u purchese this map pack make sure u purchese the correct version.. there is 2 versions of collection 1 mp pack on PS Store that correspond with the BLUS code on the side of the game case…if u download the wrong version like i did it will give u error when trying to play in collection 1 playlists…sony support & activision assist will give u the run around, like they did me, then in the end ull have to wait 7-10 bussiness days for a refund to ur wallet…very stupid..

  • Have elite membership and havent played since release week. Two words: lag compensation.

  • Get a hair cut.

  • i really cant wait to get these new maps and play but i am having the issue of getting on to the online it keeps giving me the error code 332 and saying that the server is not available at this time….these maps look great, but it does nothing for me if i cant get on to play….any ideas how to fix this problem?

  • Dan please riddle me this:

    Why does MW3 have the same sounds as every MW game from the first? Why is the blood on the screen from when you are hit the same? Why is running the same? Why are there the SAME glitches? Why are graphics almost the same? If the graphics are almost the same, that means that the game runs on the same engine.

    If the game runs on the same engine, that means the maps for ALL CoD games past CoD4 are compatible with each and every game, with little tweaking. Which means Activision is selling people the same maps that they already paid money for in the last game.

    You might say, developers need to make a living. But do you see Atlas doing this? Atlas games aren’t as huge as any Activision title. They don’t have to put all these exaggerated prices on their games, yet they still make money. Valve doesn’t do this, in fact they dish out DLC FOR FREE. You know they are successful.

    Dan, don’t you study history? Video gaming history? The exact same thing that caused the gaming crash of the 80s was companies milking gamers for their money. And I guarantee you, if you don’t stop, it will happen again, it just is a matter of time.

  • The problem I have with MW3 is that the sniper gameplay has been totally ruined since MW2 :

    – Most of the (base) maps are terrible for sniping, I can’t have fun out of Mission, Village, Bakaara and Fallen
    – Automatic weapon having been powered-up makes it impossible for snipers to defend themselves
    – Auto-aim nullifies the range advantage snipers (should) benefit of
    – The flawed respawn doesn’t help

    The Elite maps look really interesting but given the current gameplay balance I’m really thinking of buying back MW2 which was near perfect. And yeah, I know it has been discussed already but the delay we have on PS3 for DLCs is really annoying…

    Thanks for replying to us anyway :)

  • Awsome!!! Damn i love cod!

  • Even though mw2 is a lot better then mw3

  • The maps are pretty good, I enjoy Overwatch the best. There is some issues with MW3, but that doesn’t disturb me. I don’t think people should be complaining.

  • can anyone else connect to psn right now? or is it just me?


  • When will the new maps be playable on all game types? I have paid for the DLC but hardly played because I can’t stand Domination.

  • Dan, if I buy a 50$ PSN card, can I use that to buy an Elite member ship?

  • doublexp was a joke nothing but lag had a 1.06 ratio on saturday now .93 empty clips on them with no kills only got assists what a joke !!!!! Was inthe red allways like 9 kills 20 deaths thats BS !!!! Iam better than that most of the time !!!

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