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Call of Duty: Ghosts developer talks about linear stories in games

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Call of Duty's single-player campaigns are known more for their linear journeys through high-ballistic war zones than for free-roaming exploration, and that's not going to change any time soon. Mark Rubin, executive producer on Call of Duty: Ghosts said linear design and in-game story-telling are often part of the same package.

"We want to guide the player through the story and have a story happening," he said in an interview with US Gamer. "We don't want to go into the open-world idea of, 'I can do whatever I want. I can break my story. I can make my story uninteresting.' It's a weird, fine balance.

"We want to ensure that the player gets the story and the experience that we're trying to craft for them, but not have that 'Press Y to watch the cutscene!' feel, or put the player in a position where they can make the wrong decision and get stuck or get lost or otherwise not feel like they're part of the story."

Call of Duty: Ghosts is set for release in November this year. It's set in a post-cataclysmic world, in which soldiers must fight against all odds to survive.

Developer Infinity Ward wants to submerge the player fully into the story. "One of the first things that can happen when you get away from what we try to plan for you is that you realize you're in a video game. 'Let's go see if the toilets flush!' Flush the toilets. 'Oh, look, the toilets flush!' That's cool. I did it in Duke Nukem every time I saw a toilet," said Rubin.

"But it pulls you out of the story. You remember that you're in a game. For us, it's always about making sure that the player feels like they're in a movie, that they're in this cinematic experience. I really think that kind of stuff can pull you away from there."