I heard that you guys were pulled from one project to help develop MW3. If this is true, then how hard/easy/confusing was it to get the team rolling on MW3 over the project you had been working on? And will the transition back be just as easy or difficult?
- Joshua Malone
Fullsail University Game Design Student
Hi Joshua, thanks for your question.
Sledgehammer Games was founded in July 2009 as a new Call of Duty development team within the Activision family of independent studios. We initially prototyped a few ideas around an Action Adventure game within the Call of Duty universe. There was a lot of passion and excitement about the idea of expanding into the Action Adventure space and we built a complete playable demo experience proving the validity of the concept.
We were presented the option to co-develop with Infinity Ward, one of the industry’s most acclaimed development studios, on the follow up to the critically acclaimed Modern Warfare 2. It was an unexpected opportunity to work with a studio known for their history of delivering world class software, on a franchise we have all loved as gamers and developers for a decade. We discussed the option with the team, and collectively agreed it was a rare opportunity that we couldn’t pass up.
We were in a fortunate position at Sledgehammer Games in that we had a very senior team with a deep background in FPS development experience, and familiarity with the IW technology. Still, I’ll be honest, the ramp up wasn’t easy. Then again, the most worthwhile things in life rarely are easy. I couldn’t be more proud of the commitment from the team to push themselves to master the pipelines and to quickly begin contributing to the co-dev effort.. We are also extremely thankful to the developers at IW who were key in helping the knowledge pass down to their counterparts at Sledgehammer Games. Without their support, the ramp up would have been much more challenging.
Now, with both teams pushing ahead at full steam, we have an unprecedented amount of talent focused on the game. The dynamic between the studios invites collaboration, challenges quality, and encourages the development of the best ideas across the game. With support from others across Activision, Modern Warfare 3 is on track to be the deepest and most epic offering in the franchise yet.
- Michael Condrey, Co-founder
Do you have a question? Please submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Sledgehammer Games
Categories Question of the Week
Sledgehammer Games and Infinity Ward talk shop in this exclusive backstage video from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
We raise the question: What's some of your favorite classic video games?
Written by Guy Beahm
The trip to the Jimmy Fallon Show started Sunday afternoon. Flying in a spacious exit row is the way to go.... especially when Michael Condrey is sitting next to you. You need all the distance you can get. The food was excellent, service good, but Condrey's incessant whining and crying every time we hit a little turbulence drove me crazy. Finally somewhere over Idaho I hit him over the head with my dinner tray. When he woke up three hours later I told him a piece of luggage fell out of the overhead bin.
We landed at JFK around 10 pm EST, waited for Condrey to grab his Hello Kitty suitcase he had checked in and found our driver.
I believe our driver's name was Al, a happy fella with a thick NY accent. After about 15 minutes of driving, Al hated Condrey too. 10 more minutes and Al pulled the cab over and kicked Condrey out. Reluctantly I went too because I knew Condrey would get mugged. Luckily we were only blocks from our hotel.
The next day Monday we headed to NBC in the heart of the city by Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center and 30 Rock.
We went around 2:30 for rehearsals, signed some papers and got ourselves acquainted with the studio. Our great crew of Mike Mejia and Josh Selinger had been there since the morning setting up the equipment and playing the build since we were playing live. We were shown a tiny room that said "Modern Warfare 3 The Jimmy Fallon Show" on the door.
Crazy little room, maybe 7 foot by 7 foot, with cereal boxes on the wall and little toys and trinkets glued to the walls, light switches, whatever and a very ornate paint job. It was so weird that it was cool. This was our own dressing room. There were three blue guest bags for us with a signed thank you note from Jimmy, a mug and tee shirt.
Down the hall was the "Green Room". This is where we really hung out. It was supplied with food and drinks and they even did a special delivery to Starbucks for us. They were fantastic hosts and everyone we met had a smile on their face.
Eric Hirshberg, Robert Bowling, and I rehearsed a few times. We observed where we would stand, where the monitors were and how the 6 or 7 minutes would play out. Then Jimmy came out in street clothes to do a final rehearsal. He’s a great guy in person just like he is on the show; personable, creative and really funny.
As the time drew closer to the actual taping, the halls started getting louder as they filled with people. The producers were running around, the bands were playing and the talent started arriving. Will Smith was there with his wife who was a guest as well. He drew a crowd and Eric had a conversation with him.
Just before we went onstage we had to go to the makeup room. They put some on Condrey, even though he wasn't on air, because he requested it. He was in there for about 20 minutes. He came out looking like a bean pole with a plastic Barbie head glued on.
We all waited in the green room. There was John Rafacz, our senior PR guy who along with Josh set everything up and did a wonderful job with Mike Mejia, Robert, myself, Eric….. and Barbie.
Eric practiced and fine-tuned his lines, but he's pretty much a natural at it as well as passionate about what he's saying so he was just basically doing it for timing.
Time is very precious live so every word needs to be right. We watched live in the Green Room the show and saw all the skits and the guests. It was surreal and very exciting. Nobody was even nervous.
Simon Pegg then went on and we knew we were next. Robert, Eric, and I walked onto the stage. I could hear Condrey in the Green Room crying because he wasn't on the show. We walked out during a commercial, took our places and got a little powder to stop the shining on our faces.
Cameras were all around, the band was playing and the crowd was cheering. Walking onstage was such a cool and memorable moment. I'll never forget it. Jimmy was great and made us feel right at home. Our bit went just as rehearsed. The time went in a flash without a hitch. Immediately after our bit we quickly got a group picture with Simon and Jimmy. And before we knew it our time was up and we walked off stage.
We did a quick little interview for the show's blog just as the show was ending. Backstage after the show was a flurry of people running around, the bands carrying their instruments. I felt bad for Condrey because nobody, not even the security guard, would sign his tee shirt.
We left the building feeling great. We'd had our few minutes of fame on national TV, met some great people and showed MW3 which we're so proud of. And to top it all off, Jimmy loved playing it!
I love being in the game industry.
Highlights of the show's full episode can be found at http://www.latenightwithjimmyfallon.com
Visit our Facebook page to see more pictures! http://on.fb.me/SHGfacebook
Written by Glen Schofield
Do you have a question for Sledgehammer Games? Want to know more about us, our studio culture, and/or MW3?
Every Friday, a member from the Sledgehammer Games Crew will answer one of your questions.
So for example, if you want to know more about what we do on a daily basis, we just may answer that. If you’re interested in learning about how we’ve been doing our research in developing MW3, we just may answer that. If you have a question about what food we stock in our kitchen, well, I can answer that for you right now, Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal!
So if you want your question highlighted and answered, please submit to:
First question will be answered this Friday.
Written by Guy Beahm
Categories Question of the Week
Welcome to Hammer of the Month, June 2011 Edition!
Do you have a YouTube channel? Are you ready to show off your design scheme and talent? We’re looking for an elite YouTube channel that best represents the Sledgehammer Games community.
We want to see you ingeniously transform your channel into a Sledgehammer Games/Call of Duty showcase. We are looking for the ultimate depiction of what the franchise and our studio means to you, the ultimate fan.
Bonus points will be awarded for custom designs, unique artwork, and any SHG specific video content. We had loads of entries for our May contest, so we expect the competition to be high. Bring your A game and let's keep this baby rockin!
Like always, the winner will receive the Tool Box of Chaos.
So send us a link to your YouTube channel to email@example.com
Deadline for submission is June 30th, 2011.
Winner will be announced at the beginning of July’s contest.
Written by Guy Beahm