We recently had the chance to speak to Activision’s VP of Mobile, Chris Plummer about Call Of Duty Mobile season 8, challenges that COVID had presented and the future of Call of Duty Mobile.
Call of Duty: Season 8, The Forge has just dropped. How has Covid affected what I’m sure is a pretty tightly locked down content schedule?
Chris Plummer: COVID has impacted everyone and adds new challenges to the way we work on Call of Duty: Mobile. The team had well-established tele-conferencing habits prior to COVID, which helped with the transition to working from home. Our partners at TiMi were also on lockdown back in January, so we had some familiarity and learnings from that exposure, which also helped us prepare and adapt. But this is a unique challenge and I’m proud of how the teams and our players have adapted. We’ve never been busier and all of us would love to be back in the office working together for our players.
The new season includes the return of the iconic Modern Warfare 2 map, Highrise. What made this map such a fan-favourite?
CP: Highrise is really one of the most iconic multiplayer maps of all-time, and we’re super excited to have it in Call of Duty: Mobile. I think there are many reasons why it became such a fan-favourite. If you ever played the map in Modern Warfare 2, you’ll definitely remember those long sightlines and super high spots where people first started pulling off some insane trick-shots.
In Call of Duty: Mobile, we’ve retained what made Highrise special, while also insuring that’s it feels new and fresh for Call of Duty: Mobile players.
Season 8 also sees the return of Juggernaut (5v1). How do you decide whether to bring modes in throughout the year?
CP: Our roadmap and content teams discuss upcoming features and modes almost every day. We have more formal discussions multiple times each month where the team gathers and processes feedback from the players, from internal COD experts, cross-functional departments and key stakeholders. Most features in the game receive ongoing improvements long after they go live too. A lot of effort goes into designing the seasons too and trying to build up a strong theme every month. All of this informs which new ideas make it into the roadmap for future updates and seasons. It’s a labour of love and we’re fortunate to have such a passionate team to drive these cool new features and content updates.
Can you tell us any more details surrounding the upcoming Seasonal Challenges and Seasonal Events, such as Days of Summer and Solstice Awakened?
CP: Solstice Awakened is a limited time event that challenges players to collect multiple resources across a variety of playlists. The more resources they gather, and the greater the variety, the more bartering power they’ll have to acquire new items.
I think players also really enjoyed Solstice Awakened as we had great participation there as well.
What new weapons, characters or items can we expect from the Battle Pass?
CP: As with every season, there’s always a bunch of great new items, weapons and characters. For Season 8 we added new characters including Tank Dempsey – Wrecker and Reaper – The Grinder. As players climb through the battle pass, they can earn weapons such as the DR-H, RUS-79U – Desperate Measures and the KN-44 – Living Rust. But don’t forget that we have other items like the legendary calling card, Hot Metal, and a new skin for our Tank called Wrecked.
We are up to Season 8 now. How are you going to ensure that the game stays fresh?
CP: A while back we changed the cadence of our seasons to be monthly, and this enabled us to give players more variety on a more frequent basis. Each new season has a new theme, new battle pass, new maps, characters, items and more. This helps to keep things fresh and interesting for our players and enables them to see something new whenever they log in to play.
I know that COD gamers are incredibly vocal. How much does the team read into what is being said on social media and sub-reddits and use that to improve the game?
CP: Our community feedback is incredibly important to us. Our team watches, reads and listens to our players – not only when they have concerns, but also what they like and prefer in Call of Duty: Mobile. This helps us shape not only future content, but our ongoing live service for our players.
Will we see larger content drops when a new Call Of Duty console/PC release comes around? Will that be when you completely renew the slate and start back at Season 1 or is this completely separate?
CP: While we are definitely part of the Call of Duty franchise, Call of Duty: Mobile is its own game. We aren’t tied into to the releases on console or PC. We have lots of ongoing plans for Call of Duty: Mobile, and even some surprises in store as we approach our one-year anniversary in October.
Do you see COD Mobile and the likes of Modern Warfare as targeting different audiences? Have you found that a lot of players play both, or are they both targeting different times of gamers?
CP: It’s a combination of similar and new audiences across the various Call of Duty platform offerings. We see a lot of players who are new to the franchise or returning to the franchise through the mobile experience and we also have a lot of hardcore Call of Duty fans playing on all platforms. This means we need to provide something familiar to fans of the traditional Call of Duty games while also making sure it’s a great mobile experience for everyone, including those new to the franchise.
Call Of Duty: Mobile was set to have its big break in eSports this year. How hard was it going to be to get the balance of that right?
CP: The Call of Duty: Mobile World Championship 2020 Tournament presented by Sony, kicked-off online April 30. It’s well underway now, and it’s going great! We’re wrapping up our first stages and starting to move through the team stages of the tournament right now. There’s a $1 million dollars in total prizes and players can compete and play around the world, and earn in-game items and cosmetics, just by playing.
We haven’t seen a Call of Duty game on a Nintendo console in some time. COD Mobile seems like it’d be a great fit. Is this being explored at all?
CP: We’re focused on bringing the best Call of Duty experience on mobile devices.
AR is really emerging in the mobile space. Has anything been looked into there?
CP: The team is always evaluating different technologies to see how we can make Call of Duty: Mobile the best possible experience for the majority of players