“Two dumpsters and a piece of garbage,” according to Infinity Ward’s studio head Vince Zampella. “Cracks in the sidewalk” also rank among his favourite visual touches in the biggest game of the year – and one of a very few games to make the British look manly.
“It’s just a matter of detail, little touches,” Zampella told us during a recent showing of Modern Warfare 2. “Transitions from wall to ground are now hand-touched by all the artists so that everything fits.”
Modern Warfare 2′s got serious visual presence, its muscular streaming technology allowing the developer to push back level perimeters and step up the detail at close quarters, but if Zampella is to be believed, the engine isn’t at its best when rendering shiny normal-mapped AK47s, nor beautifully textured terrorist bandanas, nor exploding helicopters and the like. No sir, Zampella’s an artist – and artists find beauty in the most unlikely of places.
“If you see some of the Rio scenes from the trailers, there’s just like these uphill broken stairwells that are half-covered in dirt, weeds coming through – one of my favourite parts in the whole game is there’s a back alley there, and there’s just two dumpsters and a piece of garbage, some trash blowing in the wind and the weeds coming up through the cracks in the sidewalk.”
Cracks in the sidewalk. Not exactly “attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion”, is it? Next up, an in-engine showreel of Zampella’s favourite discarded shopping trolleys.
Check out our tongue-in-cheek “Quickfire Q&A” with Modern Warfare 2, and stay tuned for our full review. The game’s out for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on 10th November, like you didn’t know already.