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.
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