Activision admits that the “new” COD engine isn’t exactly new

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Man, the new Call of Duty, Ghosts certainly looks impressive! Of course, that’s the sort of visual fidelity afforded by brand new, next generation engines. Only it’s not a new engine at all. In an interview with OPM, Infinity Ward’s animation lead Zach Volker admitted that while the engine is functionally new, it’s still based on the previous engine. Which was based on a previous engine. Which was based on idTech 3, the Quake 3 engine.

“It’s a fine line when you define “new engine,” and augmentations to an engine,” Volker says in the embedded video (skip to around 4:47).

“What you want to be careful of,” he continues, “is making too much of a distinction of a new engine. As we develop and add features, at what point does it become a new engine – because it’s impossible to develop a new engine from the ground up in a two year cycle.”

“You would need an army of 200 engineers,” he declares.

And with that, Activision confirms that the new engine isn’t new at all – but is just a heavily modified version of the last engine. Of course, this is the way things work. If you, for even a second, believe that EA and DICE’s Frostbite 3 engine wasn’t cobbled together using bits of Frostbite 2.0 (which in turn was cobbled from bits of Frostbite 1) then you’re delusional.

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The difference, of course, is that Frostbite is at least an engine from the current generation, brought in to the next generation – whereas at its core, Call of Duty: Ghosts is really just an elaborate Quake 3 Total Conversion mod.

Last Updated: May 23, 2013

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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