Sunday, January 30, 2011

How To Make A "Call Of Duty" Game.

So badass.  He HAS to be American.

The Call of Duty franchise has really taken off, ever since the release of the fourth installation in the series "Modern Warfare".  Allow me to give a brief breakdown of the seven main games:

1) Call of Duty- A game about World War II.
2) Call of Duty 2- ... Another game about World War II.
3) Call of Duty 3- ... Really?  Another WWII game?
4) Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare- Ah, a breath of fresh air.  Wait... Middle-East conflict...Russia... isn't this a bit too soon?
5) Call of Duty 5: World at War- Uh, what the fuck?  World War II again? Oh, now I'm killing the Japanese and not the Nazis.
6) Call of Duty 6: Modern Warfare 2- So is this a continuation of the story line from the fourth game?
7) Call of Duty 7: Black Ops- Does the maker(s) of these games know how time works?

The games are published by Activision, and made by Infinity Ward and Treyarch.  IW and Treyarch seem to alternate making every other game, although I'm not sure why.  They all kind of turn out the same in the end.  So, I decided to start my own gaming company.  I thought this would be a huge investment, but I researched their techniques and found that everything I needed to create a war game was right here on my MacBook.  What did I title it, you ask?  Obviously the only thing I could title a game so badass.


You're also probably wondering why it's a sequel.  That's so people assume there was a first one, and it just had to have done well enough to deserve a second game.  But I learned a lot from the experience of making this epic tale of ass-kickery.  How could I possibly keep it all to myself?  Here are some pro-tips for all you would be game creators out there.

1.) Pick a war.
...Preferably WWII.  Let's face it, it was the most exciting war in American history (which is, as you know, the only history that matters).  Plus, none of the other wars have Nazis.  What the fuck is that shit?  Killing Nazis is really the only thing you can kill and feel good about.  Aw, who am I kidding?  As long as you aren't American, you're probably fun to kill.  But back on topic- avoid wars before WWII, as he weapons suck and, let's face it, the fights were boring as hell.  Nobody wants Trench warfare (WW I) or lining up and firing at the other side, only to take 8 minutes to reload (I'm looking at you, Revolutionary War).  Also, avoid wars that the rest of the world thinks we lost.  Vietnam, Korea, any Middle-Eastern conflict (technically)... stay away from 'em.  I know, I know.  That doesn't leave much, huh?  Well, in that case, do what Infinity Ward and Treyarch did!

2.) Make Up A War.
Yeah!  It's simple: Take the greatest country in the world (America, of course) and put them in a dire, possibly contemporary situation.  All that really matters is that the player- the American- wins in the end. You should also have the conflict parallel something actually going on.  This makes the player feel angry, and allows him or her to take out his aggression in a safe environment.

3.) The Main Character.
Is unimportant.  Story development and plot have nothing, if anything, to do with the protagonist.  Give the player's character a name and a branch of the military, and leave it at that.  Make sure he's the "silent type", or give him a bitchin' reason not to speak (like he was in a fight with 100,000 Nazis, and they managed to cut his voice box out before he broke all of their anti-Semitic bones).  This allows the human player to feel as though he or she is actually the one moving the story along.

4.) The Plot.
Speaking of the story, follow this basic formula:  1) America was wronged, 2) America retaliates, and 3) America wins.  

5.) The Bad Guy.
This one is easy.  America has many enemies in the world, so there is no shortage of stereotypical bad guy fodder to throw at the player.  Some examples include angry Muslims, angry Nazis, angry Japanese (WWII), angry militant Africans, angry militant South Americans, angry North Koreans, and finally, angry Communist Russians.  Always have multiple bad guys, with one leader at the top.  In other words, create your own fantasy axis of evil.  Modern Warfare 1 and 2 sported Brazilians, Russians, and Middle-Easterners (not to mention Communists and other Eastern Europeans).  So have fun with it!  Why wouldn't Mexico, North Korea, and Uzbekistan team up to take on America?  I know I can't think of any reason!

6.) The Weapons.
The key to winning the fictional war lies within the weapons you give to your players.  It doesn't really matter how disastrous they are in reality, or that most non-fiction weapons carried by soldiers aren't automatic.  Ignore the rules of nature and just go balls out.  Make that machine gun fire round after round without the barrel melting.  Have your player travel underwater, through water, or in extreme temperatures without their weapons malfunctioning.  And completely forget that guns need to be cleaned extremely often.  What really matters is that the weapon has a cool sound when the player shoots it, it looks cool, and it shoots fast.  

7.) Americans Can Take A Bullet.
Hundreds, actually.  Games aren't fun when they are based on reality, so make your player's character soak up all the bullets he wants, so long as it's not too much at once.  That would just be silly.  This is, out of all the rules, one of the big ones as it makes the gamer feel extremely awesome.  "Did I really just blow through twelve levels of Commie-killin' action without dying?" You sure did!  And your kill count was literally in the upper hundreds- just like every other American soldier's!

8.) The Multiplayer Experience.
After the solo-game is said and done, the multiplayer experience is what really makes your gamer feel as though your $60 disc was worth it.  I won't get into the maps or anything here, but you should offer a variety of terrain with a variety of "game types".  Also, there should be no penalty for dying.  Make your player spawn within milliseconds to speed up the game, and watch as 16+ soldiers-in-training rapidly and unskillfully tear each other apart.  Most people will flock the death match aspect, only to get bored with it after awhile, so do yourself a favor and...

Fuck yeah.  Put your players in a single area where they have to defend against waves and waves of brain-craving corpses!  "But wait, isn't this a realistic war game?"  Haha, no you whiny bitch.  Zombies work in just about anything!  Still, throw those dissenters a bone- make them Nazi Zombies!  Everyone hates them.     
Is there really any difference between a Nazi and a
Nazi Zombie?  Really?  Seems a bit... redundant.

10.) Cater To Every Living Thing.
Your game should be so easy, another species can play it and win.  In fact, the only important buttons should be the "fire" button and the movement sticks.  Make it so that an epileptic would dominate the game.  Ideally, you either want people running around and holding down the trigger, or standing in place and spinning joyfully as they spray lead in an endless 360.  You might be asking why you would want this.  Easy!  Why make money off of just 18-40 year old men when you could be making money off of babies, children, pets, and the government too?  Train those little tykes from an early age, soldier!  They'll be fighting another Republican's war someday.

11.) Be Prepared To Alienate A Demographic.
Let's face it, if your conflict is based off of an America-Middle East war, you won't have many Middle-Easterners buying your game.  I mean, why would they want to play as Americans only to kick their own ass?  There is certainly no joy in that.  Ask the Germans- they've felt that dick punch over and over again since the first WW II game came out.  Don't worry, though.  Everything will turn out fine in the end.  America will own that country some day, and then your game will sell.

12.) Make It, Sell It, Forget It.
That's the bottom-line.  Immediately start working on your next big hit.  Sure, your game is probably glitchy as hell and easy to hack into (so easy that by two weeks after its release, a good quarter of your fan-base is cheating), but just remember: they're going to move on in a year once they realize you aren't going to stand by your game.  Sure, release a few "updates" that fix some of the stuff wrong with it.  Just don't forget to throw a monkey wrench or two in there, like one of the latest Black Ops patches for the PS3 did.  The most important thing here is that you make a game that costs roughly five dollars a disc, and then sell it for sixty in about a year or two.  Oh, and don't forget to sign on with Activision!  They absolutely love churning out shitty games at a rapid pace.  Also adopt their motto: "If it was good to begin with, we're going to make it faster, cheaper, and shittier for a bigger profit."

Here's the deal for those of you that can't understand sarcasm.  Call of Duty was, at one time, a good game.  But then they started to realize that they could make a game where Americans literally shit on other countries, and people would still buy it for sixty bucks a pop.  So now they have a new game hitting the shelves every year, only to have more and more people buy it.  Why?  Isn't anyone disturbed by how real it's getting?  Actual warfare is not fun, it's scary as shit, and the men and women that fight in militaries the world over probably feel the same way (if they are human, anyway).  Call of Duty is perpetuating several different ideas at once:
1) War is fun.
2) American soldiers are better and more competent than other soldiers.
3) If you're too fat and lazy to fight for your country, you can now do it out of your living room chair.

As an American, I love and respect all of the people that fight for us, but I don't believe them to be invincible and it's for that reason why I don't think war is "fun".  

If you were to take a look at my gaming shelf, you'd see Gears of War and Halo and think, "What a hypocrite!"  Okay, we're talking about two very different "war games" here.  You are not shooting at other humans in Halo or Gears of War.  You're shooting at aliens in fake places with fake guns.  Oh, and guess what?  The protagonist isn't associated with any specific nation.  They are fighting for humanity, not against it.  But all that is neither here nor there.  Leave a comment if you want to poke at my logic.

And last but not least, I shall leave with this:

Check out Arby n' The Chief by Jon CJG over on Youtube.  You won't regret it.


Anonymous said...

Great read!

flod was here

Anonymous said...

hmm.. deleting my last comment... stupid fanboy.

Shaun said...

Deleting your last comment? I didn't touch it, although by your "stupid fanboy" remark, I can see where you were probably going with it.

Actually, while I do like Reach and Gears (I assume that's what you're talking about), I play a lot of other games... Borderlands, The Force Unleashed, Fallout 3 and New Vegas, Dragon Age, Bioshock, Mass Effect, etc.

So I'm hardly a "fan boy". Or stupid, for that matter. Still, I appreciate your opinion.

Anonymous said...

Epic Vid!

Anonymous said...

Great read, too bad no one will see this ever again, much less the average CoD player.

Anonymous said...

~Teh Floodz