Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare leaned on Saving Private Ryan for leadership story (1 Viewer)

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Apr 29, 2013
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare has been getting some rather good reviews with its non-linear sci-fi gameplay and an exemplary narrative by Call of Duty standards. The story was something developer Infinity Ward worked hard on, knowing early in the development cycle that it was going to try something new.
"We saw two patterns emerge," Narrative Director Taylor Kurosaki said, explaining the need to watch a lot of war films and TV shows for research, everything from Gates of Fire and Blackhawk Down to Aliens and Avatar. "We saw the war story that was told from the viewpoint of a soldier, an infantryman, and we saw the war stories told from the viewpoint of a leader. We thought, if you're going to have mission choice, well, then you're a leader. You're choosing where to go."
Once the team had that idea set, then came the decision on how to present it. Saving Private Ryan lent some elements to the story, particularly how Tom Hanks played Capt. Miller. "His character learns that it's not about getting home to see his wife, it's not about getting the rest of his guys home to their loved ones, it's about saving Private Ryan, " Kurosaki said. "We wanted to tell a story that followed that same thematic principle and there you have Captain Reyes who has to, in very short order, go from a mindset of being a squadron commander where he believes in getting his men home, to very quickly evolving into a guy who understands that the mission comes first."
And with the burden of command comes the need to introduce an element of sacrifice into the story as well, he said. "We wanted to tell a story that felt authentic, and if you're going to tell a story about the burden of leadership, which means you know very well that you are ordering your men into harm's way and then must live with the repercussions of those orders. There had to be repercussions. If you were part of a superhero squadron and everyone got out okay and everyone was unscathed, we really wouldn't be doing that theme or that notion about that burden any justice."
Kurosaki also said that the introduction of Ethan to the squad mix was a challenge and that the character was not going to be a robot if they couldn't make the story work believably. "Ethan's overriding, overarching goal, is to always protect his fellow soldiers, and in some cases, it's Reyes, his commanding officer. That's his mindset," he said. "Our research showed us that in war, there are a lot of very mundane, boring, stir crazy moment, and a lot of extremely dangerous, intense moments, and not a lot in between. To get through that experience, to survive those low moments, and to get through the more intense moments, soldiers use humor as a way to endear themselves to one another, and as a way to keep their mind off of the fact that death could be around any corner. Ethan has that humor chip as part of his personality, and it's a way that his squadmates feel comfortable around him."
The interview offers a lot of background on other aspects of the game and story. If you found the game as interesting as we did, give it a read.


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