Call of Duty: World at War Q&A - PC Graphics and Features
We get some new intel on the PC version of this upcoming World War II shooter.
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Many modern first-person shooters combine the adrenaline rush of dashing around 3D environments while shooting anything that isn't you with gritty, realistic settings that heighten the tension. Last year's outstanding Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, developed by Infinity Ward, was a great example of excellent technology meeting a strong game setting and terrific, action-packed gameplay. And now the Call of Duty series will make its return to the theater of war known as World War II with Call of Duty: World at War, in development at Treyarch. Though the game was originally announced for consoles, it will also make its way to the PC. We have new details from Treyarch's project lead Cesar Statsny.
GameSpot: The last Call of Duty game developed by Treyarch, Call of Duty 3, didn't make an appearance on the PC platform. Why have you decided to bring World at War to the PC?
Cesar Stastny: Consoles are great fun and I am a big fan. But I am an old-school PC gamer at heart who believes in the supremacy of keyboard and mouse for first-person shooters. The PC community wants better precision, configurability, and the opportunity to play on faster processors at higher resolutions. They want to play the same game that their friends get to play on 360 and PS3, but they also want to create and play mods.
We get it: more awesomeness, please. Well, we are PC gamers and we want all of these things too.
GS: You've shown off some exciting new features in Call of Duty: World at War, including four-player online co-op. Will all of the announced features make it into the PC version, and are you planning cross-platform play?
CS: Yes, the PC version has the same features as Xbox 360 and PS3, but implemented in a way that makes sense on PC. We do not have split-screen co-op, for example. We are not planning cross-platform play. Instead, we are focused on making the PC experience as fun as possible. Four-player online co-op is incredibly fun on PC!
GS: After Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare made the leap to modern combat, it was somewhat of a surprise to learn that you were taking the franchise back to the World War II setting. What was your inspiration for this blast-from-the-past decision?
CS: Treyarch actually starting [working on] Call of Duty: World at War a year before Modern Warfare hit the shelves. I doubt that many people would have been very surprised back then, since all the titles in the COD series up to that point were set in WWII. So we set out to create the best of that genre. As surprises go, I think you will like this one.
GS: Are there any other PC-specific features you can tell us about in Call of Duty: World at War?
CS: Our goal is to bring the same game experience to multiple platforms, and I think we are hitting our mark. That said, my team is very consciously making a PC title with a focus on all the things we love about PC gaming. COD:WAW looks fantastic in higher PC resolutions than you can get on a console. It plays great on high-end rigs, but we've optimized for more-modest gear, too. The PC version is more configurable with respect to controls, graphics, and performance options. And support for mods--not just multiplayer but co-op mods too!
GS: How has Infinity Ward's COD4 engine helped you in development of Call of Duty: World at War?
CS: The COD4 engine gave us a solid foundation on which to build this game. You can't beat it for next-gen cross-platform development with excellent lighting and scripting. This allowed us to concentrate on creating content, developing new types of gameplay features like cooperative multiplayer, graphical improvements, new effects, integrating our own networking technology, optimizations, and so forth.
GS: Speaking of COD4, that game featured one of the most robust and addicting online multiplayer modes we've seen in a while, and you've taken another page from Infinity Ward's book by including persistent ranks and stats in your own multiplayer mode. You've also added a new squad mechanic. Tell us how online squads work.
CS: Squads make it easier to play with your friends while helping to keep your team organized into groups. This is particularly fun on our large multiplayer maps.
GS: What vehicles will be playable in Call of Duty: World at War? Can they be used cooperatively with friends?
CS: Yes, tanks are best enjoyed with friends.
GS: You've announced plans for a public multiplayer beta on the PC and Xbox 360. How can players sign up, and what can they expect from the play test?
CS: Players can expect to get a taste of some of the new weapons and attachments while still enjoying the fast-paced action that they know is Call of Duty. We are excited to bring back some game types that are favorites around the office, but more details about that and how to get into the PC beta will be coming soon. To get into the Xbox 360 beta, players should register at the official Call of Duty Web site.
GS: So far, Call of Duty: World at War appears to be a graphically intense game. What system requirements will PC gamers need to jump into the fray?
CS: My team worked closely with hardware vendors such as Intel and Nvidia to optimize for various hardware configurations available on PC. This was especially important as we are really pushing the limits of the engine. So we were able to achieve this graphical intensity with only a modest bump in the minimum requirements from COD4:
Processor: AMD 64 3200+/Intel Pentium 4 3.0GHz or better
Memory: 8 GB free hard-drive space, 512MB RAM (XP)/1GB RAM (Vista)
Graphics: Shader 3.0 or better, 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6600GT/ATI Radeon 1600XT or better
GS: Finally, how do you think Call of Duty: World at War will separate itself from the number of other excellent first-person shooters on the PC platform?
CS: We started with the technology from the best FPS available. We cranked up the graphics and audio. We ratcheted up the hardcore intensity. We kept the awesome multiplayer. We added vehicles and squads and co-op. Can I go play now?
GS: Fair enough. Thanks, Cesar.