Call Of Duty’s multiplayer designer on the future of eSports
games™: Do you come to a lot of these kinds of events? What do you get out of them? Joseph Cecot: I’ve started to, yeah. Part of it is pleasure. Part of it is that it’s awesome to see the game being played at this level. The pros are exceptional. But also it’s really cool to see the features that we’ve put in for eSports and for the game in general – just to see them used in something like this, something that’s as high profile as this. Do you get a different level of feedback from professional gamers than you’d get from being at a different event? Pro players are very different from our more casual or standard player audience. Both are very passionate, but both want different things out of the game. The pro players want as fair a playing field as possible, so we work very closely with them to exclude certain portions of the game and modify parts of the game for them. I don’t get as much feedback at these shows as we do internally when we have them onsite. How does feedback work its way into development – Is it something that starts early on or after the game is out? With Call Of Duty: Ghosts a lot of it was post-ship. We got the game out on multiple consoles with a nice stable, balanced game and towards the end of development we started to bring in the pro players to see what they wanted. We bought in podcasters to let them play and the game has evolved since then and we’ve been very diligent at keeping that feedback loop going since the game’s release. Can you give any specific examples where pro players have effected any changes? Little things like where we’ve been trying to condense screen space to give more space to the game, which is where we have the Obituary which is the kill feed behind the personal menu. It shows what players are playing, but in eSports it made it hard to watch because you couldn’t see who was taking out who. Then we added other things like the new Oracle Mode, which allows podcasters to watch an outline of the players at all times, which really helps viewing and that’s something that helps a lot. It’s about thinking about how the game can be watched in a better way. The PC has traditionally dominated eSports. Do you see things changing towards consoles? Me personally, I watched Thresh and some of those guys playing Quake all the way up to Quake 3. I was a huge Quake fan, but more recently with the Halos and everything consoles have become really mainstream and they’re here to stay. The new consoles have launched and have had a great reception, so I think that eSports is going to continue being very powerful on console, but you’ll still have your League of Legends and other games where a mouse and keyboard are the optimal input for a game. But are consoles more of a level playing field for the people taking part? I don’t know if it’s any more level than for PC. On PC you just have a different input device. I think consoles have a lower barrier to entry and I think that’s one of the reasons why you’ve seen that movement [of eSports from PC to console]. Some games are staples of eSports for a long, long time, such as Halo 3 and Quake 3. Is the need to stay on top different for Call Of Duty because it supersedes itself annually? We’re always watching what’s happening in the market and there are multiple factors that lead us to change the game to keep it fresh. We do release yearly and we understand that and that’s why there is a strive internally with each studio that works on Call Of Duty to bring that freshness and to change it up. Part of it is freshness and the other part is constantly wanting to improve. Even though we know we have a quality product and we know our fans love it, at the end of the day we are always competing with ourselves. The full interview with Joseph Cecot is in games™ issue 146: on sale now, price £5. You can pick-up a copy from all good newsagents, theImagineshop, Zinio, Googleplay and iTunes. To subscribe or discover more great digital retailers where you can purchase games™, head to GreatDigitalMags now!.