Content Type: Gaming Reviews
Date: November 26, 2019
Titan Books has published a hardback book titled Making Call of Duty: Modern Warfare available from numerous online retailers and high street book stores. Can Making Call of Duty: Modern Warfare deliver what it sets out to by producing an official making of and art book companion to the videogame Call of Duty: Modern Warfare?
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is a first-person shooter available via retail stores and digitally on home consoles and PC. Call of Duty originated on October 29th 2003 with the release of the very first Call of Duty on PC in which the Call of Duty brand has since spanned numerous console generations and become one of the most successful and highest grossing entertainment franchises of all time as proved by sales rapidly approaching 300 million units sold, alongside the billions of hours of online multiplayer gameplay logged across the entire Call of Duty series including an unprecedented $10 billion worth of total sales throughout the Call of Duty franchise.
Call of Duty made its home console debut with the release of Call of Duty: Finest Hour on PS2 in November 2004 followed by Call of Duty 2: Big Red One for PS2 in November 2005, although both games actually provided a back story to the PC games rather than direct ports. Call of Duty 3 also received a release on PS2 in November 2006, while Call of Duty: World at War – Final Fronts released in November 2008 featuring its own set of single player missions as the final Call of Duty game on PS2. Outside of the home console environment, Call of Duty has had its portable releases in the past with the standouts being both PlayStation releases including Call of Duty: Roads to Victory for PSP in March 2007 and Call of Duty: Black Ops – Declassified on Vita in November 2012. Call of Duty made its PS3 debut in November 2006 with Call of Duty 3 followed by the story arcs of Modern Warfare trilogy, Ghosts and Advanced Warfare as well as World at War and the Black Ops trilogy until November 2015. Call of Duty began on PS4 with a port of Call of Duty: Ghosts in November 2013 followed by Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered, Call of Duty: WWII, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
Making Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is in experienced hands as it is written by Andy McVittie that has previously written many videogame art books including The Art of Assassin’s Creed III, The Art of Titanfall, The Art of Watch Dogs, The Art of Alien: Isolation, Rise of the Tomb Raider: The Official Art Book, The Art of Tom Clancy’s The Division and The Art of Titanfall 2.
Making Call of Duty: Modern Warfare begins with a foreword and introduction by Joel Emslie that has previously been part of the development team at Infinity Ward during Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, alongside Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Joel informs the reader of how he came to rejoin Infinity Ward for Modern Warfare, introducing newer development techniques, the creative approach to returning to Modern Warfare and the scope of the cross-over between the making of and art book.
The characters chapter from pages 10 to 49 focuses on creating a multitude of new characters including Farah and Hadir Karim, Alex, Kate Laswell, Kyle Garrick, Butcher, the Beast and various factions of soldiers, alongside the process of re-imagining previously established characters within the Modern Warfare franchise such as Captain John Price, Juggernauts and Nikolai. Every character is performance captured by an actor or actress to provide a better sense of realism in relation to character design and animation, although preparation involves concept artwork in order to envision each character’s costume design to make them look more appropriate to their respective role within the narrative of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Meanwhile, multiplayer characters are realised in higher fidelity rendering to make them as visually authentic as ever before in the Call of Duty franchise including Thorne, Bale, Syd, Kruegar and Zane. Performance capture is also covered in detail with multiple scenes showcased through a fair few paragraphs and photography directly from the performance capture studio. Technical rigging relates to a digital skeleton wrapped within the character’s body and limbs to make each character pose to the exact preference of the development team.
The weapons and technology feature from pages 50 to 105 emphasises the weaponry, technology and vehicles situated throughout Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Weapons coverage includes weapon categories, the soundscape of recording weapon audio and detailed interiors and exteriors of vehicles that have weapons mounted to them, alongside technology including night vision goggles and watches with various quantities of technology contained within their unique designs.
The locations chapter from pages 106 to 177 focuses on environments situated in specific levels via text based analysis, graphical in-game engine imagery and a set of storyboards showcasing a particular scene. Meanwhile, building kits are shown in harmony with real-world set building, props, textures and skies to improve the authenticity of the environments during gameplay.
The graphics feature from pages 178 to 191 emphasises the finer details within the environments including branding such as motorsports and automotive posters and energy drinks labels, alongside other various categories of graphics such as insignias, game mode icons, faction icons, body art and user interface design.
Quality of writing is pretty good in the majority of the book, but there are a few areas that could have been improved upon such as perhaps there could have been far more interviews with development team talents and the cast bringing the characters to life. However, it also never really explores as to why Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is not technically a sequel, rather than the re-imagining of what has went before it from the Modern Warfare trilogy; that it is. While there is genuine ground for not spoiling particular gameplay or story elements, but when the reader is told that they would have to play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare to find out some of the functionality of such technology contained within a watch, then that seems quite excessive for what is a making of book after all.
Making Call of Duty: Modern Warfare book’s presentation is mostly excellent with front cover artwork including silhouettes of the squad of main characters getting ready for battle; accompanied by the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare logo, while back cover artwork is reminiscent in tone with a synopsis of the story. Meanwhile, from cover to cover there is a large quantity of artwork, in-game engine imagery and photography, alongside some sketches and storyboards that brings a lot to each chapter. However, there are some pages, especially during the characters and weaponry chapters that utilises a grey font upon a black background when annotating artwork, in-game engine imagery or photography as well as the font for annotations being noticeably smaller than the usual text font for body text; therefore making annotations harder to read.
Making Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s value originates from the behind-the-scenes look at some of the development processes and techniques utilised for some of the core facets of gameplay throughout the duration of 192 pages. A further nice touch is the inclusion of an in-game Bonus Operator skin redeem code via Call of Duty’s official website for the reader’s preferred platform in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
• Title: Making Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
• Writers: Andy McVittie
• Contributions: Joel Emslie (Foreword and Introduction) and Art/Photography from the Development Team at Infinity Ward
• Publisher: Titan Books
• Length: 192 pages
• Cover: Hardback
Making Call of Duty: Modern Warfare can be purchased in the UK from Amazon and Forbidden Planet, while Making Call of Duty: Modern Warfare can be purchased in America and Canada from Amazon. You can also find Titan Books’ official website including a back catalogue of captivating books and product details regarding Making Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.