So the cat is out of the bag, and now everyone knows that I wasn’t just cycling around Venice Beach trying to find Tenacious D last week. Call of Duty Ghosts is aiming to step things up a notch for the franchise later this year, and while baysplosions and 60 frames per second are par for the course as with any COD title. There is something else that’s new as well. Military trained killer attack German Shepard dogs. And their cute dog goggles. Or doggles. Ha!
Speaking to Activision Senior Producer Yale Miller again, one topic that kept on surfacing was the addition of a dog to the Call of Duty formula. According to Miller, that trusty canine is going to be a key part of your arsenal.
“The dog is an integral part of the squad. We worked with real SEAL team advisors and service dogs, and figured out what they’re capable of and how they’re used in the real world, and figured out how we can make them meaningful for the game”, Yale said.
Not just to make them a companion and a part of the family, but to make them a tool and a useful part of combat. Whether that is actual combat, like with a door breach with the dog, or for surveillance purposes using real gear that was modelled, different ways that you can use that in combat.
So why a dog then? Sure, it has surveillance options as mentioned above, and can be used to help players perform door breaches and can attack enemies as well. The thing is though, we’ve done that before. But with AI human partners and robotic drones. So is the inclusion of a canine with a bulletproof vest and tattooed ears part of a method to get players more emotionally invested in the game? Or does it really add to the gameplay?
“I think maybe both”, Miller said.
Working with advisors, figuring out how they use dogs. It made sense for our story, and then it also made sense from telling a different story and adding a different emotional element that we haven’t done in the past.
And I get that idea, I honestly do. But to me, it’s still just a bunch of pixels, but in dog form. It’s an idea that’s going to work for some, but not everyone. What was more interesting though, was listening to Miller explain the challenges that they faced capturing a performance for the dog, as they had an actual military dog in their motion capture studio, dressed in his or her own little motion capture suit;
They are very bright. The only difference as well, is with actors you can say ‘Fight!’, but with the dogs, they think that they’re playing and we’re not actually putting the dogs in combat, but we want it to look real when we’re doing a takedown in the game, so that was really a different dynamic that we haven’t worked with before.
But it was really awesome when we put them in the mocap suits and said, ‘let’s do that’, and we were blown away by that one AV compare shot, when that ledge that that dog jumps onto, was seven feet tall actually.
And that was awesome for us, because we were figuring out new ways that the dog can be useful towards the story.
So there you have it. Call of Duty Ghosts may not be changing the formula too much this year, but at least it has dogs. Which is a perfect excuse for me to shout “WHO LET DA DOGS Out” every time I use one in combat. By the way, the dog also has its own Twitter account now.
It’s called Collar of Duty. And it has more followers than the entire Lazygamer gang put together. Dammit.
Last Updated: May 22, 2013