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Sledgehammer discusses the benefits of a three year ‘Call of Duty’ dev cycle

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Making a Call of Duty game is no small feat, and Aaron Halon, Senior Development Director at Sledgehammer Games sat down with Examiner to discuss how a 3 year development cycle will benefit Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

The Call of Duty franchise took somewhat of a hit last year critically on Ghosts, in response Activision has moved to a 3-studio, 3-year cycle for each game. Halon said,

There’s a lot of pressure just to make a great Call of Duty game because the franchise has been so phenomenal. So we feel that and then to also be truly next-gen to have three years to work on the game helps.

Halon stresses that the cycle allows the creators to actually be creative, innovative, and to bring interesting and challenging new ideas to life in the series, not to mention make a better looking and sounding game.

"In a way, the three years takes off the pressure a little bit because you have a little more time to cook your ideas, proof things out, to prototype, to iterate," Halon explained, "so the three years helps us a lot."

Halon also discussed that the three year cycle gave Sledgehammer the opportunity to do more in the way of pre-production. Halon illustrated,

Our pre-production was longer, which allowed us to do more concept work, a lot of prototyping, R&D, and then obviously our production is a lot longer. Bringing all of our levels and story to the full potential it could be, makes all the things I just said better.

While Advanced Warfare is the first of the titles to utilize the new cycle, from what we've seen so far the series will certainly benefit from the fresh air and extra time. Halon described the extra time best,

I’ve been doing games for 18 years, and I’ve never done a project where I didn’t wish we had an extra six months or an extra year, and I feel like I have that with [Advanced Warfare].

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare releases on Xbox and Playstation consoles on November 4, with "Day Zero Edition" grants players a day of early access, bonus XP, and some other goodies.