How Modern Warfare's writer wound up writing Battlefield 4

Jesse Stern, who wrote Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, left his job as a writer and co-executive producer at NCIS and started "actively looking for video game gigs," he told Paul Semel in a recent interview.

He met with David Cage and discussed writing for Beyond: Two Souls. While that partnership didn't pan out, it got Stern thinking about the possibility of traveling outside of the U.S. to work on a game.

That's when former Infinity Ward president and Respawn Entertainment co-founder Jason West mentioned Stern's name to the developers of Electronic Arts' rival military first-person shooter franchise, Battlefield.

"They wanted something that was more linear for Battlefield 4, something more cinematic, and they asked Jason how they had done it with the Modern Warfare games," Stern said. "Jason's always very nice to me, and always gives me more credit than I deserve, so he told them everything they had done, and then said, 'And we had Jesse.' To which the DICE guys said, 'Who the hell is Jesse?'

"So I went and met with Tom Keegan at DICE, who directs all the performance capture stuff and voice acting, as well as one of the writers from Battlefield 3, and they told me what they were looking for. But then they said that there was one caveat: I'd have to go to Sweden."

He did, met with the team at EA DICE "right at the beginning" of Battlefield 4 development when "they were still trying to figure out what the game was going to be, so it was a real opportunity to carve it out from scratch." He'll be credited as a writer of Battlefield 4 when the first-person shooter comes out Oct. 29 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Windows PC and later for next-gen consoles.

More from Polygon

Enemy Starfighter: Homeworld from inside a fighter

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare gameplay trailer

  • Diablo 3 - Xbox One vs. PC comparison

  • Hearthstone - Military Quarter gameplay video

  • Elite: Dangerous Overview video

Latest Discussions

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new Polygon username and password

As part of the new Polygon launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to Polygon going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new Polygon username and password

As part of the new Polygon launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to Polygon going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.



Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.