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Report: Modern Warfare 3 devs complain of crunch, rushed development

Original story, November 10, 2023: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was developed in just 16 months with some periods of crunch and communications issues between developer Sledgehammer Games and Modern Warfare creator Infinity Ward.

That’s according to a Bloomberg report citing several anonymous members of the development team, who said the game was built in less than half the time – usually a three-year cycle – as previous Call of Duty games.

In fact, this is said to have had the shortest development time for a Call of Duty game in several years.

It’s also claimed they worked nights and weekends to finish the game in time for its launch today.

Some developers said they felt betrayed because they were promised they would not face another shortened development cycle after the struggles of their previous project, Call of Duty: Vanguard, which was also built under constrained conditions.

As has been previously reported, the project is said to have started as an expansion to 2022’s Modern Warfare 2 to fill the gap when the next full Call of Duty was said to be delayed into 2024.

An Activision spokesperson denied Modern Warfare 3 was ever an expansion, stating that it was envisaged as a “premium game” from the beginning.

However, Bloomberg cites more than a dozen current and former Call of Duty developers who say this is not what they were told.

Some were informed directly this title would be an expansion, while others say it was left ambiguous at first, but all said they believed it to be an expansion until much later into development.

The game was reportedly planned as a smaller-scale expansion set solely in Mexico to make it easier to complete within the shorter development cycle. But Activision executives reportedly instructed the team to make it a direct sequel last summer with missions that spanned the globe.

Bloomberg’s sources also expressed frustration at requiring content approval by Infinity Ward executives, saying slow feedback and the need to make significant and occasionally unwanted changes added to the stress of development.

The report emerged as critics released reviews for the single-player campaign of Modern Warfare 3, awarding some of the lowest scores in the series’ 20-year history.

IGN, for example, gave it 4/10 while Gamespot granted 5/10.’s sister site Eurogamer described the game as “clearly rushed to market” in a review entitled “vapid and hastily assembled.”

Update, November 14, 2023: Sledgehammer Games has responded to the circulating reports regarding the development of Modern Warfare 3, with studio head Aaron Halon releasing a statement on social media.

“From the start of development, we have all been laser focused on creating the next groundbreaking Call of Duty game,” he wrote. “Long before we wrapped up our previous game, we heard loud and clear from fans about the desire to stay and play together for longer within the same series.”

He concluded: “We have worked hard to deliver on this vision which has been years in the making. Anything said to the contrary is simply not true.”

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