Two weeks ago we discussed how according to Treyarch the IW engine still seems to be doing its job just fine. Well, it seems that in the next console generation the Call of Duty series might just be moving away from the IW engine to a newer, perhaps even outsourced engine.

Suggestions for the future adoption of the outsourced engine come after an earlier job listing by Infinity Ward, which called for a senior technical animator whose responsibilities will include "working with 3rd party software for viewing and effecting Maya animations in the game engine." "3rd party" is an incredibly important term, meaning the engine will definitely be outsourced in favour a commercially licensed engine such as the id Tech 5 engine, or Epic Studio's future Unreal Engine 4, which is currently tipped by the media to be the current engine's replacement.

If the next Infinity Ward game does indeed use Unreal Engine 4 then that will pose a serious problem for Nintendo fans; yesterday Geoff Keighley confirmed that the Wii U might not possess the horsepower required to run the engine and that " at GDC Mike Capps said Wii-U will be Unreal Engine 3." If that were true, it would mean that the system would either have a more lacking version of the game or that it, and by extension everyone who owns one, may miss out on future titles altogether.

The Unreal Engine 4 in action at the Game Developer's Conference from Epic's tech demo of The Dark Knight.

Epic, being a game developer as well as the developer of Unreal, remains conscious that the more eye candy you offer, the more staff and funds your studio will need, using Call of Duty as a prime example. "Call of Duty was a game that a team of a few dozen could develop on PlayStation 2," Sweeney discusses. "Now Activision has hundreds of people working on Call of Duty for the current-gen consoles. What's supposed to happen in the next generation? Are they going to have 4,000 people?"

With that in mind, Unreal Engine 4 will ship with the new Kismet 2 tool, which renders complex matters of level scripting in simple, visual terms. Thus, designers will be able to experiment with relatively complex scenarios without obliging programmers to fiddle with the underlying code, which takes time and costs money.

Infinity Ward also has an eye out for a technical visual effects artist "to help raise the bar for visual effects on current and next generation hardware". Hired artists will "focus on large complex destruction sequence simulations and making worlds that are more alive, animated and interactive," which might imply a hint of environmental destruction being added to the game, something which hasn't been seen in Call of Duty multiplayer so far.

Who knows though, this is all speculation and in the end all Infinity Ward described it as an "exciting unannounced title." Who can say for sure it's another Call of Duty game?

Further reading

  1. OXM - Infinity Ward's Xbox 720 Modern Warfare may use Unreal Engine 4, offer Battlefield-style destruction
  2. Kotaku - The Wii U’s Ability to Run Unreal Engine 4 is In Doubt (Again).

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