Glen Schofield, Co-Founder, Sledgehammer Games
Co-Optimus: Has the split duty of Sledgehammer and Infinity Ward working together along with the geographic distance between the Bay area (where you are) and Los Angeles (where IW is located) affected development on the game?
Glen: Not one bit. One of the keys to success in developing a game is communication. We knew the challenges that awaited us prior to diving into the project, so naturally we constructed a very strong line of communication right from the start. The constant advancements in technology allow us to efficiently stay connected across all mediums of game development. And its just a one hour flight down there. Both teams are constantly flying back and forth and helping each other out. We have two experienced development teams working on this game with top notch, proven talent. I think we’ve prepared quite well.
Co-Optimus: What exactly is Sledgehammer's role in Modern Warfare 3's development? Were you given any kind of creative freedom with the game, perhaps introducing some of the studio's DNA into the game?
Glen: We are an equal partner, we are not a team that came in to support anyone. We have our own ideas, processes, strengths and a commitment to quality. IW is the creators of the Modern Warfare games and we have a great respect for them and their legacy. But we also come in with a good track record and a world class team and they respect that. We listen to each other and push one another. The dynamic has worked extremely well as we've each learned things from one another. When you have two talented groups like this working together you can either have egos that hurt the process or you can put your egos aside , work together and make something great. That's the path that we took together.
Co-Optimus: How easy was it for Sledgehammer to come into a situation like Infinity Ward was in, rev yourselves up to whatever Modern Warfare 3 was at that point and bring your team’s expertise to the game and possibly changing direction for the game and the overall series?
Glen: These opportunities are what developers dream about. To be thrown into the biggest franchise in the history of video games was an honor, we knew we had to step up and it wasn’t going to be easy. I mean think about it, a brand new studio whose first game is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. That’s crazy good fortune. There’ve been quite a few challenges we’ve faced like designing the studio, hiring, building the infrastructure, learning a new company, a new engine, then designing and building a game. But these challenges have provided this team with valuable experiences. We’re happy to bring some of the knowledge and practices of developing an award winning game to this specific franchise. Our core guys here are tremendous and extremely talented and it’s pretty evident in the results so far.
Co-Optimus: Obviously we are in a world where multi-team games are being developed. Games like BioShock 2 with four different developers (in different countries) attached to it obviously turned out well from a critical and sales standpoint. It is highly doubtful that the knowledge Modern Warfare 3 is a two developer effort will keep a consumer from picking the game up, but does that possibility ever enter your mind?
Glen: No not at all. Again, it really is about the game and not who’s working on what and who did this and that. Ultimately in the end, both teams just want to put out a Call of Duty product that takes the franchise further. We’re focused on making sure the experience is thoroughly enjoyable and that it meets the fans and our high expectations.