» Call of Duty 3
Having completed Call of Duty 2: Big Red One in only ten short months, we quickly went into production working on a true sequel to both our previous title and Infinity Ward's Call of Duty 2. The biggest challenge aside from figuring out the best way to tackle five major platforms at once (Xbox, Xbox 360, Playstation 2, Playstation 3, and Gamecube) was how to do so in less than twelve months. We had developed a "layer system" similar to layers and channels in Adobe Photoshop on the previous project which was useful in allowing one person to work on a section of the level while a second worked in the same level on a different layer. The team decided to take this system further and give designers the ability to label each layer as "current-gen", "next-gen", or "both". This meant that both the current and next-gen versions of each level used the same rough geometry, while allowing us to place higher detail elements into a next-gen version that would not be compiled into the current-gen.
We had our work cut out for us for sure. I was primarily responsible for a mission called "Savior De Mayenne", or Mayenne Bridge as it was referred to on the development team. The level featured "Castle De Mayenne", which was built on the banks of the Mayenne River, and was based on the historical accounts of German forces rigging the only standing bridge in the region to explode if the allies managed to gain any ground. Military intelligence warned the army of the plot and devised a plan to split into two groups. The first group would act as a main force decoy, while the second group snuck across the river to flank the occupying German forces and disarm the bombs on the bridge before the allies regrouped.
One of the game's leading story characters makes a valiant last stand defending the bridge, and is gunned down while defusing the last bomb. This event was based on an historic account of Pvt. James McRacken, who dashed out to save the platoon from certain death by sacrificing himself to defuse the bombs (you can read about him here, courtesy of Time.com).