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Infinity Ward: Business as usual, morale is high

With Modern Warfare 2's first DLC map pack about to land, last night we had a chat with Infinity Ward community supremo Robert 'Fourzerotwo' Bowling.

Aside from the current situation at IW following the fallout between publisher Activision and the studio's recently-sacked former bosses, we talked about the content of the upcoming Stimulus pack, the percieved high pricing thereof, and the competition from DICE's Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Here's what he had to say.

GamesRadar: First up, can you confirm exactly what we’re going to be getting in the Stimulus Package?

Robert Bowling: The map pack includes five maps. Three of them are brand new to the series and two of them are some of our classic most-played maps from Call of Duty 4. In those five maps you have Bailout, which is one of our only American maps. It’s an American apartment complex, and it’s really great for any game-type that you play on, or any play-style. There’s Storm, which has a really cool atmosphere. It’s like an industrial park, and there’s a thundering, booming lightning storm and rain. There’s a huge warehouse and lots of interior fighting. And then there’s Salvage, which is a really simplistic, straightforward map. It’s a snowy junkyard and there’s not a lot of places to hide. It’s all about just getting out there and staying in the fight.

And then the two classic maps that we’re bringing back are Crash, which is an urban map with a crashed helicopter in the middle, which is one of the fan-favourites from the previous game, and there’s Overgrown, which is a wide, open area. A lot of overgrown bush, and a dry creek bed in the middle. A huge map, great for snipers. A very big game.

GR: Why are you just sticking with multiplayer at the moment? Spec-Ops was a massive hit, so do you have any plans to expand it?

RB: Yeah, Spec-Ops was great, but right now we’re focusing all our DLC  efforts on the multiplayer, just because, you know, we looked at the numbers and we have twenty-five million unique players in Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer, and that’s an insane amount of people dedicating an insane amount of time to the game. And we just really wanted to make sure that we were focusing our efforts on getting the most content to the biggest part of our audience that’s playing every day. And that just happens to be multiplayer.

GR: So is Spec-Ops under consideration for the next DLC?

RB: I’m not sure. We’re really focusing on one pack at a time, and depending on what kind of schedule we have we’re going to look at all our options, definitely.

GR: There’s been a bit of a mini-eruption on the ‘net regarding the 1200 Point pricing of the DLC on XBLA. How do you feel about that reaction?

RB: You know players will always react to any price that’s announced, but I think from a content standpoint, anyone who is playing Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer and is dedicating a lot of hours to it is definitely going to get their money’s worth from this map pack. This adds for some players hundreds and hundreds of hours of new gameplay to it, and on maps that have been proven to have a lot of mileage. I don’t think anyone who picks up this map pack is going to be disappointed with the purchase.

GR: Is the pricing something that you guys at Infinity Ward have a lot to do with, or is it all decided between Activision and Microsoft?

RB: Yeah, all pricing is handled by Activision outside of Infinity Ward. We really focus on all the creative content and let them handle all the business.

GR: One interesting thing about the DLC release this time is that you’re going up again Battlefield: Bad Company 2's downloadable content on the same day. There’s a bit of a fan rivalry developing between the two games at the moment. Obviously BF:BC2’s DLC has less content but it’s free and multi-format, whereas yours is paid-for and Xbox 360-only. How do you feel about that competition?

RB: I’m a big fan of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and I’m excited for the new game modes on those maps. But yeah, we don’t expect other games to stop supporting their communities because we’re supporting ours. And we’re excited about the content we’re bringing to our guys and we know they’re going to be excited about it.

GR: Have you noticed any difference in online play numbers since Battlefield came out, or is MW2 still ticking along consistently?

RB: Yeah, our player numbers have been consistent since we’ve been out, We’ve been the number one most-played game since launch, and I don’t see that slipping any time soon. Especially now that we have additional content out for our players to jump on and enjoy. But yeah, we’ve been fortunate enough to have a very dedicated community that’s sticking to the game every night.

GR: With CoD4 you just brought out the one map pack. Are you planning on supporting MW2 for longer this time around?

RB: Yeah, we will. We’re going to have a second map pack at some point. We don’t have details on that yet, but we’re definitely going to do more than one DLC this time around.

GR: Obviously there’s been a recent furore about various supposed goings-on at Infinity Ward. What’s the general atmosphere over there like with you guys? How are you weathering it?

RB: Right now, you know, we’re all focused on getting this DLC out, and that’s great for us, I mean it’s business as usual, which is the best thing that can happen at a time like this. That’s where our focus always wants to be, and that’s where it is right now. Things are good when we’re making games we love for people who love to play them.

GR: So it’s not hurt the morale over on your side of things at all?

RB: No, right now morale is high, because we’re really excited to get this DLC out. Any time we’re just about to launch something out to the community, morale boosts up, because you’re excited to see what your players think of it, and to watch them get on there and see what tactics they come up with.

So what do you think of Bowling's sayings? Are you still onboard with MW2, or are other games attracting your eye these days? Are we getting enough in the Stimulus Package to satiate your bloodlust, or do you want more for your money? Let us know in the comments, and via our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

23 comments

  • ahernia13 - March 27, 2010 3:25 p.m.

    1200 ms points. are you guys serious your mad about that. thats only $15 bucks. one meal. get over it and play the damn game
  • philipshaw - March 26, 2010 2:53 p.m.

    I was done with MW2 after 6 weeks because the online became a glitchy mess and there were too many expolits so people could cheat their way to victory
  • skynetiscoming - March 26, 2010 5:10 a.m.

    I seriously doubt a few new maps are going to give hundreds of hours of gameplay to anyone. And like someone else commented, you'll pretty much have to buy it if you want to play online. You don't buy it, do you think any friends will not play their overpriced maps just to have you in their party?
  • spideralex90 - March 26, 2010 5:06 a.m.

    1200 points for 3 maps. i'm not counting the other 2 because there was no effort put into those. Talk about a rip off. They've made more than a billion dollars, and they can't afford to give out a free map pack? Talk about money grabbing. Battlefields leaderboards actually work, i generally never get kicked from games and if i do it my own connection, and the gameplay is more balanced. Plus vehicles. BC > MW. God i love Battlefield. Defining Online Warfare is not a lie.
  • Cwf2008 - March 26, 2010 2:24 a.m.

    Ok lets see...1) Spec ops is bullshit we need some nazi zombies 2) The multiplayer is normally fine except for the occasional glitched matches, and even more infuriating getting dropped from games despite this great "host migration bullshit" 3) $15 for 3 new maps? WHAT THE HELL? Im boycotting this shit
  • WhiskeyBit - March 26, 2010 2:15 a.m.

    Myself, bieng a huge Battlefield fanboy, instinctively despise IW and all of their creations. I will give Bowling credit to his mature response on the BC2 competition. I could've swore it would have sounded a lot like MW2's online community... Other than that, it was pretty obvious that he was desperatley dodging questions.
  • johnnythejew666 - March 25, 2010 11:49 p.m.

    holy shit i just read the comments and theres so much hate for infinity ward you guys should be grateful theyre making a fucking map pack.
  • johnnythejew666 - March 25, 2010 11:46 p.m.

    i think it would be nice to see some camos or titles and emblems in with the maps but hopefuly thats the plan for thier next DLC.
  • aymnot - March 25, 2010 10:12 p.m.

    He has been the same thing in all of the interviews as of late. For map pack 2 I have been reading online that they are going to be bringing more maps from MW. I also hope that the guys who started IW, get back up and running again.
  • Mirako - March 25, 2010 9:30 p.m.

    Bah, I decided to sell MW2 after I joined a match and literally 4 seconds later I was hit by a grenade launcher, The MP has to many setups you can exploit. I'm glad I traded it in for RE5 now having loads of fun on it with my mate. And Spec-ops was more fun then anything else for me.
  • GwaR - March 25, 2010 9:18 p.m.

    Wow. Dodge, dodge, and dodge some more. Amazing that he manages to say almost nothing and yet still trys to come off as having said something. This is my favorite quote: 'Yeah, we will. We’re going to have a second map pack at some point. We don’t have details on that yet, but we’re definitely going to do more than one DLC this time around.' It took them 5 months to make 3 new maps and re-skin 2 old ones. I like how he just vaguely says 'at some point'. He doesn't even bother lieing to say 'soon'. LOL!
  • michaelmcc827 - March 25, 2010 7:31 p.m.

    *done
  • GoldenMe - March 25, 2010 7:19 p.m.

    Robert Bowling must of been fearful for his job, cause the answer they gave were complete bullshit. Also, ACTIVISION!!!!
  • michaelmcc827 - March 25, 2010 6:22 p.m.

    I'm pretty much dine with call of duty, I already sold mw2, it's all bf from here on out.
  • apleasantguy - March 25, 2010 6:16 p.m.

    Nice to see the Iraqi Information Minister is still finding work.
  • DrRock - March 25, 2010 5:33 p.m.

    Ace their exclusive for 30 days then everyone else gets them.
  • IIIIIACEIIIII - March 25, 2010 4:38 p.m.

    What what what? Map Packs only for the 360!?
  • EDfromRED - March 25, 2010 3:56 p.m.

    MW2 online is a buggy/glitchy mess! 50% of games seem to end abruptly. My many dozens of BFBC2 multiplayer matchs have had only 2 interupts I would love for someone to give RB some Truth Serum and ask the questions about Infinity Ward. I hope the two ousted former IW founders form their own studio--again! Reports I read say they were the driveing force behind that studios excellence. I think Activision will run the CoD series into the ground
  • zigs - March 25, 2010 3:35 p.m.

    Of course the price was set by Activision, eesh! As much as I try and like Acti, they consistently do things like this. They tried the same with the launch of MW2, charging far more than usual as the RRP here in the UK, purely because they knew people would still buy it. And they're doing it again with the DLC. 1200 MSP is too much for five bloody maps. Pretty ridiculous, imo
  • DrRock - March 25, 2010 3:22 p.m.

    Totally toeing the company line. I'm sure RB doesn't want to get fired for being insubordinate like his prior bosses were. Yeah and paying more money for rehashes of maps is worth it cause they work. That just sounds like laziness to me. Hey guys; I have an idea. Why don't we only make 2 new maps and just retool some old maps like we did in Cod4? What? You want to charge 5 dollars more than last time? I bet those idiot gamers will buy that shit up! Conversation overhead by a fly @ Activision.

Showing 1-20 of 23 comments

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