In a recent report, Bloomberg’s gaming journalist, Jason Schreier, shed light on the behind-the-scenes story of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III, revealing that the game’s subpar quality was a result of a rushed development cycle. Schreier explains that the game was developed by Sledgehammer Games, a different studio compared to the main Infinity Ward studio that developed MW1 and MW2. Typically, each installment in the Call of Duty series takes around three years to develop, which begs the question of why Activision decided to switch studios. However, MW3 was released just a year after MW2, giving Sledgehammer a mere 16 months to develop the game, making it the shortest development cycle for a modern Call of Duty game.
Schreier also provides insight into Sledgehammer’s previous project, which was called Vanguard and set in the future, sharing the same universe as their 2014 game, Advanced Warfare. The studio pitched the project to Activision’s management, but it was ultimately put on hold because the decision was made to release a new Modern Warfare installment to fill the gap in the 2023 release schedule.
Initially, Sledgehammer’s Modern Warfare project was conceived as a spin-off of Modern Warfare 2, taking place in Mexico. However, it evolved into a full-fledged sequel, Modern Warfare 3, which expanded on a much larger scale, featuring a global storyline, new multiplayer maps, and the addition of a zombie mode. These changes put immense pressure on Sledgehammer and significantly impacted their workflow.
Another factor that affected the development was the fact that the Modern Warfare series was primarily handled by Infinity Ward. When Sledgehammer was tasked with developing the next installment, they had to rely on Infinity Ward’s management to provide content, leading to delays and occasional conflicts between the two studios.
This combination of factors forced parts of Sledgehammer’s team to work long and sleepless nights, even during weekends, just to meet the development deadlines. This was a disappointment for some team members who had previously been promised that they wouldn’t have to go through such rushed projects after Vanguard. Yet, here they were, facing the same challenges once again.
TLDR: According to Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III suffered from a subpar quality due to a rushed development cycle. Developed in just 16 months by Sledgehammer Games, this installment had the shortest development time in the modern Call of Duty era. The decision to switch studios and the pressure to fill a release gap further impacted the development process. Conflicts between Sledgehammer and Infinity Ward, as well as a need for content from the latter, contributed to the challenges faced by the development team. Despite promises to avoid such rushed projects, team members had to work long hours and weekends to complete the game.