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An update on the somewhat packed development of Modern Warfare 3

The situation concerning Modern Warfare 3 is one that no one has a definitive grasp on.  Since Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella were fired from Infinity Ward last year we’ve heard conflicting reports as to the status of Modern Warfare 3.  When West and Zampella left many assumed that would be the end of the series at Infinity Ward and that was later backed by a rumor that said as much.  But then we received word that Infinity Ward were indeed working on Modern Warfare 3 which was once again set to drop in the traditional November release window. So what the hell is going on with Modern Warfare 3?  Well based on a new report from the L.A. Times, things may not be going that smoothly for Activision’s premier franchise.

As per what we heard earlier this month, its being reported that Infinity Ward are indeed working on Modern Warfare 3, presumably as they were before the madness involving West and Zampella occurred.  But one key piece of information has been revealed: Activision has called in its fellow COD studios Sledgehammer Games and Raven Software to aid Infinity Ward. It’s not a big deal to have multiple developers’ aid one studio when working on a big AAA game as that’s almost common place (Sony even does it with technology support) but Sledgehammer is apparently co-developing the game to the point where they’re also working on the single-player campaign.

Previously Infinity Ward solely worked on the Modern Warfare games with no outside help, something I assume made West and Zampella rather proud from an ego standpoint.  So it’s interesting to hear that Sledgehammer is taking on a big portion of the Modern Warfare 3 development, more so considering that Sledgehammer has their own Call of Duty spin-of game in the works.  Sledgehammer’s commitments to MW3, at the behest of Activision, have subsequently delayed the production of Sledgehammer’s CoD spin-off game, which at one point was supposed to be a 3rd person action/adventure game but has later been billed as an fps.

Raven Software fits into this ménage a trois of developers as they’re reportedly handling the multiplayer component.  Recently the status and projects of Raven have been unknown after a good chunk of their staff was fired along with the rumors of their new James Bond game being resurrected. But Raven’s involvement gels with a recent jobs posting that Raven posted in which the studio was looking for staffers for “an established, console-based, realistic, first-person military shooter.”

So instead of being a production made by one studio as in the past, Modern Warfare 3 has a joint single-player campaign developed by the remnant of Infinity Ward and the newly launched Sledgehammer Games with Raven Software backing things up with the multiplayer mode. I don’t doubt the talent of the studios involved, but the situation as a whole sounds a bit like a clusterfuck of sorts as Activision literally pulled Sledgehammer off their new project to aid Infinity Ward.  I’m sure whatever we get will be competently made, but I just hope Activision isn’t rushing things in the hopes of meeting the planned November 2011 release date. A somewhat poor showing probably won’t stop Modern Warfare 3 from selling 5 million copies, but if the studio goes into the mindset of rushing games then we could see the Call of Duty franchise begin a downward spiral.