The latest Call of Duty, dubbed Ghosts, has drafted Syriana and Traffic writer Stephen Gaghan to provide its fiction.
Games don't get more Hollywood than Call of Duty, and Activision has shown little hesitance in acquiring composers and writers from the silver screen to aid in its ever bigger and brasher efforts. Gaghan's work on Traffic, a dour crime drama, and political thriller Syriana made him a standout candidate for Ghosts. The game follows the remainder of the US military in a world scarred by a weapon of mass destruction.
According to developer Infinity Ward, Gaghan didn't swoop in and drop off a script – he requested an office, and worked from one amidst the game's single-player team all throughout the game's production. That's a sterling gesture, but I asked Call of Duty: Ghosts executive producer Mark Rubin to explain why Gaghan was deemed suitable to write for players, not viewers.
"Basically, we looked at his work – he's a great writer, no doubt about it and that's fine, there are probably lots of great writers out there," Rubin said. "So what we did is we actually got the chance to talk to him a long time before we decided to go forward with it. And we realized he was getting it. We've had writers before, and they know how to write, but they don't understand the game aspect of it.
"And I feel like with Gaghan, he really understood what we were trying to do. He asked more questions than try to sell himself, and that was, I think, a really big selling point. He was asking how things work and how we do things, and was really interested in how we craft the story, not from a writing standpoint but from the visuals and gameplay. He was really asking more questions. Although he was a gamer – he knew it from that side – he didn't know it from the dev side. He really was asking a lot of questions about the dev side, he really wanted to know more. I think that interest in what we were doing is really what drove us to him."