I have a great privilege to be a part of the xbox.com forums, I see many community managers from different development houses interact with people on the forums, take some feedback and just relax and have fun with fans of their game. After Robert Bowling [Community Manager of Infinity Ward] made an announcement that a set of playlists were going to come via an update for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, many of us anticipated the new playlists and waited for weeks onto months before coming to the realization that the playlists were never going to happen. When one of the posters asked as to why there aren’t any DLC for CoD4, Rober replied:
“Glad to hear you enjoyed CoD:WaW. As for DLC for our games, we did three map packs for Call of Duty 2, ending with an impressive number altogether. For Call of Duty 4, we focused on including as many maps as we could out of box, and had 16 from DAY 1 (adding four more later for a total 20 Maps total).
Personally, I prefer to give the community as much as possible out of the box instead of making them wait and pay extra for them later. However, whenever possible (like with COD2) we continue to make maps if our development process allows for it.
It’s a bit of a catch 22 in gaming. Of course as a gamer you always want more, more more. If you include them out of box (shipped with game for no extra cost) then it’s just ignored and people demand more. If you instead, decide to get the game out and then worry about beefing up the map selection via DLC, people say “don’t nickle and dime me” or “this should have been included in the shipped game”.
Perfect solution, ship with a load of maps (like we did) and also release a lot of DLC (for free). In a perfect world, that would be fantastic. Regretfully in a realistic development environment, it’s near impossible. Unless your Criterion of course, with their magical DLC fairies ; )
In all seriousness though, I hear ya, and We’re always working on improving our development process and planning to ensure that we can deliver more and more community support in the form of updates / DLC and other forms of support for our future games. We have big plans for our future (still currently unofficial) projects.”
Another poster comments:
“6 months later and still no playlist update. Great community support. A real vote of confidence for IW support in future games.”
“Regretfully the playlists never came to fruition, however that’s hardly a accurate depiction of the validity of community support. Community support goes so much deeper than just “playlist updates”. Good community support goes unnoticed, and unpraised, because it is done in a way to ensure that the shipped product includes the requests, features, and demands of the community out of box.
Community Support via the COD2 community helped shape and mold COD4 into the game it is, and community support via COD4 will help shape future Infinity Ward titles to ensure we’re always improving and including community wants and needs into future games.
Every level designer / texture artist / enviornmental artist / etc. working on a new map for a previous game is one less working on a map for a future game. Again going back to the, do you attempt to include as much as possible out of box for the people spending $60 and that goes to everyone, or do you focus on doing endless DLC for previous game, shipping with only a few maps, and beefing up MP via DLC after launch for a fee (which only a % of community people can enjoy due to internet connection / Xbox Live gold requirement). Regretfully that’s the harsh reality and shitty part of game development.
Since COD4 however, we’ve been focusing on expanding our team here at Infinity Ward and looking at our development cycle to see how it can be optimized and improved to make strides in how we can have the best of both worlds. A polished / stacked game at launch and a dedicated team for DLC post-launch while everyone else looks towards the future.”
As you can see Infinity Ward has a very good reason as to why DLC has not been developed after the first map pack. Developing is not an easy task and takes time from most important projects, like building the next Call of Duty game. After all, how many developers do you see offering 16 maps with the game for $60 these days.