In unveiling Modern Warfare 3's multiplayer at its Call of Duty XP fan event in Los Angeles this weekend, Activision said it aimed to focus on what it sees as a new degree of realism and intensity for the franchise.
"It's striking that perfect balance between capturing the real-world authenticity... and the amazing kind of 'holy shit' moments of a blockbuster action movie," CEO Eric Hirshberg told media, including Gamasutra, at a press preview for the event.
"We want every muscle in your body tense; we want your knuckles white, we want your pupils dilated every time," he said.
The teams say that objective shouldn't come at the expense of accessibility for the game, which aims to be "easy to pick up and play, hard to master," in Hirshberg's words. Another major principle: Running at 60 FPS "is like a religion with our developers," he said.
"Developing games, particularly for consoles, is all about prioritizing processing power," Hirshberg continues. "The engine has to be immensely more efficient to render the games at 60 FPS than at 30. Delivering that gameplay experience is always our priority; those are the principles that our teams started on, and the ones they still live by today."
He thanked all of the studios that have worked on Modern Warfare 3, including both Treyarch and Infinity Ward, Elite design leaders Beachhead, and Raven Software. "I think it's the most epic cinematic scale you've ever seen from a video game," Hirshberg opined. "It puts World War III right outside your door."
"We think this is the deepest experience we have ever created," agreed Infinity Ward's Robert Bowling. "We have made more profound additions and changes to the core multiplayer experience than we ever have in any chapter of Modern Warfare."
The developers have also focused on narrowing the gap between entry level and expert players, making it easier for those at a variety of skill levels to enjoy themselves: "We're supporting a larger variety of play styles than we ever have before," says Bowling.
At the Call of Duty XP event, fans will get to play Modern Warfare 3's multiplayer and see a $1 million prize tournament. They'll also get to look at a special edition Xbox 360 bundle with MW3 trappings, accessories and sound effects -- plus a 320 GB hard drive --- that will become available at the game's launch.
"This weekend is all about our fans," Hirshberg said. "We think we have the greatest fanbase in the world; we just want give them an experience that they can't get anywhere else, that they'll remember forever. That's what XP's all about -- to show our fans how much we appreciate them."
One hundred percent of the proceeds from ticket sales to this week's event will go toward the Call of Duty Endowment, Activision's non-profit charitable program that helps military veterans land jobs after returning home from their overseas missions.