Call of Duty Dev Says Pressure to Deliver Not Unlike What Patriots Go Through
Sledgehammer co-founder says pressure to deliver every year is similar to what Tom Brady faces when Patriots fans call for a Super Bowl victory.
Activision's Call of Duty series is one of the biggest and most successful in all of gaming. But staying atop the annual leaderboard, in terms of sales and critical reception, is a pressure-filled task, according to Advanced Warfare developer Sledgehammer Games co-founder Michael Condrey. He says the pressure to deliver a great game is not unlike what New England Patriots face every year when fans call for a Super Bowl victory.
"Yeah, there is a lot of pressure," Condrey told Polygon as part of a wide-ranging interview about Sledgehammer and the origins of Advanced Warfare. "It's curious, because it's a question we get asked a lot about sales. And it's a weird answer, but its true that we don't ever talk about sales."
Condrey said he feels more pressure to deliver as it relates to critical reception, not necessarily sales.
"I was thinking about it the other day," Condrey said. "So like the New England Patriots. Tom Brady. The winningest Super Bowl team in the past decade. Those poor bastards, they have to win the Super Bowl every year or they've failed, right? ... And so for us, it's a little bit like that. ... There's some pressure with that, I won't lie."
The marquee feature for Advanced Warfare is the exoskeleton, which gives players an array of super-human abilities that allow them to traverse the battlefield in all new ways. Condrey explained that this game mechanic is unprecedented in the Call of Duty series and could be a sign of things to come for future games.
"I think the speed and the fluidity and the new movement sets have set a new tone for the franchise" -- Michael Condrey
"Could I imagine going back and making a game now without boost jump and without all the without all the movements we've done now? I think that would be really challenging," Condrey said. "I think the speed and the fluidity and the new movement sets have set a new tone for the franchise that I think it'd be hard to move back from."
At the same time, however, Condrey said he's still interested in games and entertainment experiences that are rooted in the past, when such high-tech gadgetry was not available.
"I'm a big fan of World War II fiction. I love Band of Brothers. I love Saving Private Ryan. So I want to play that game again," Condrey said. "In my head, a next-generation World War II game with the production values of Band of Brothers would be awesome. But I do think the way the game feels today [with Advanced Warfare] is going to set an expectation with fans."
Advanced Warfare officially launches on November 4, but the game unlocks a day earlier through the Day Zero edition. Recently, video footage from a "stolen" copy of the game revealed unannounced features and Sledgehammer wasn't happy about it.
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