Infinity Ward, the developer behind many of Call of Duty’s games including the upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, was at one point working on a game designed to dethrone Halo from its sci-fi shooter throne. According to Game Informer, this project was being developed alongside Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, an exemplary shooter in its own right that paved the way for the rest of the Modern Warfare series. Infinity Ward wanted to take down Halo but was unsure of how to do it when developing the 2007 Modern Warfare.
Speaking to Infinity Ward about its development of Call of Duty 4, Game Informer learned from multiplayer design director Geoff Smith that the developer found it difficult to convince people to give Call of Duty a try when Halo was waiting in the wings. Call of Duty’s World War II focus didn’t quite stand up to Halo’s sci-fi theme at the time, Smith said.
“All my friends were playing Halo, and I couldn’t convince them to give CoD 2 a try," he said. "I was like, 'Well, you’re this really cool spaceman who’s shooting stuff. It’s really hard for me to convince them to be cool with, like, a wooden gun with, like, a pot on your head."
Once Infinity Ward began its work on its next Call of Duty game following Call of Duty 2 and Treyarch’s release of Call of Duty 3, studio art director Joel Emslie said the team was unsure of whether it’d be able to pull off a modern game or not. Emslie said the team wanted to “take down Halo really, really bad” with the result of that being the “Halo killer” which was briefly in development.
Part of Infinity Ward worked on this “Halo killer” while another group worked on what was at first a World War II version of Call of Duty 4. Emslie said the studio realized soon enough that the division of responsibilities wasn’t working and that the teams were then brought back together to work on Modern Warfare.
“The whole Infinity Ward experience is what we make is the sum of the parts, like all the components work together," he said. "When you had components missing, it threw the whole thing off balance, and that’s why it was realized pretty quickly, thank God, and they brought everybody back together, and then we dug into Modern Warfare.”
The rebooted Call of Duty: Modern Warfare releases for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC platforms on October 25th.