How Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Handles the Lack of Sound in Space

Your space suit can simulate sound--and it's "actually very plausible," developer says.


As Alien taught us, in space, no one can hear you scream. So how does Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, which is set partially in space, create sound in a vacuum?

Senior art director Brian Horton said developer Infinity Ward put a lot of thought into how it could simulate sound in space. In a military setting, "the absence of sound would actually be very detrimental," he said in an interview with the PlayStation Blog. You need to know when an explosion goes off or when a bullet screams by so you can react, he explained.

Infinite Warfare solves for this with the space suit characters will wear.

"In the game, there's a way your suit can simulate those sounds and impacts through photons so that you have a tactical awareness of your environment," Horton explained. "We've dampened the sound a little, but it's still there to make sure the player has a good time. This is actually not science fiction either--it's actually very plausible."

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Another thing about space that could be potentially impact the player experience is how slow you move in zero-gravity environment. Call of Duty is known for its fast pace. Infinity Ward's solution is a grappling hook, which players can use to quickly move to a new spot on the spacebound battlefield or to hook an enemy and pull them towards you.

While Infinite Warfare aims to be grounded in some level of plausibility, Horton said he admits that the grappling hook is something of a stretch.

"That grapple mechanic is--for us--pushing toward the boundary of science fiction, but you can still imagine someone engineering it," he said.

Speaking more generally about Infinite Warfare's futuristic setting and how believable it is, Horton said it was more important for the game to feel fun than necessarily realistic.

"You have to stretch and squash and work with the facts to get what you really want from the experience," he said. "So, we do take some licences with the science--this is a mass-market product after all, like an action movie--but we really want to make sure we're not going into laser beams and aliens."

Infinite Warfare launches in November for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Activision is also releasing a remastered version of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, but the only way to get it is to buy one of Infinite Warfare's premium versions, which start at $80.

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