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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare animation director details the reboot's slick gun animations

With Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Infinity Ward and Activision want to deliver both a hard-hitting, contemporary campaign and a thrilling, frenetic multiplayer experience. In a new video interview with Game Informer, animation director Mark Grigsby leaned pretty heavily on the latter as he excitedly detailed the "flair" of the game's gun animations. 

"We were going for that real Tier 1 feel, someone who works and sleeps with this weapon and can handle it with extreme confidence," he says. "Back in the day, we used to have, like, really floaty and pretty animations. With this project, we wanted it more visceral, realistic, constantly in-your-face like 'I'm in the thick of things.'" 

As Infinity Ward previously explained, the guns in the Modern Warfare reboot will feel a bit different to Call of Duty veterans, and as Grigsby says, they'll also look different. For one, you can now reload while aiming down sights, which necessitated a whole new suite of animations. More importantly, the reload and aim-down-sight animations in the reboot were done by hand without much or any motion capture. This gave the team more freedom to pace and stylize animations, but it also created a balancing act between realism and impact. 

"I've gone back and forth with [co-head Patrick Kelly] about this a couple of times," Grigsby says. "In the beginning, he wanted the fastest reload we could get. I went back and forth with him, and it's like, if you do that, you're gonna lose all the flair, almost like a taunt when you reload. I told him I'd do it as fast as I can, but at the same time, we still need that flair. There is a little bit of exaggeration in there, but it's definitely to the book."

Our first impressions of the Modern Warfare reboot: "A stripped back multiplayer that feels more accessible and fun than Call of Duty has been in years".