July 13, 2022

On the Shoulders of Giants

July 13, 2022

BY Lou S.

I love a good creature feature. I love Love LOVE movie monsters. Large or small, I love them all. But really, when it comes down to it, sometimes bigger is indeed better, and there are no bigger creatures than Godzilla and Kong. Both of these titans of film have long had a place in my heart since I was young. I can remember as a kid watching Showa-era Godzilla films on Sunday afternoon basic cable and trying (in vain) to make my own stop motion animated movies with creatures like Kong. This love wasn’t a childhood fad though as my appreciation for these creatures grew as I did. That growing admiration came in the form of things like a high school book report on the biography of Merian C. Cooper (the producer of the original Kong movie) and a deepening exploration of post WW2 Japanese cinema that birthed from my love of Godzilla. I can directly trace the discovery of my favorite film of all time (Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai) back to my love of Godzilla (fun fact - both Seven Samurai and the first Godzilla, “Gojira,” were released in the same year and their directors were close friends). Even now, I still find myself drawn to Kong and Godzilla. Within the past few years, I have been able to go to a few Godzilla movie marathons (nothing beats seeing them on the big screen) and I have been covering my home work space with all sorts of fun Godzilla and Kong posters and artwork. I haven’t even gotten to how much I have enjoyed the new Monsterverse movies! Legendary has done a bang-up job bringing these two Titans back to theaters in a massive way and I am first in line for everything that comes out.

So, when I heard that Call of Duty: Warzone was planning to feature both Kong AND Godzilla, I was ecstatic... and if I am being honest with myself, kind of happy that I was going to have nothing to do with it. That response may come as a shock given everything I have said before, but, in this case, I was initially relieved that I was going to get to enjoy this experience as a member of the community and not as a developer. That fresh and new Godzilla and Kong content was going to be served to me piping hot in a new Call of Duty: Warzone event was exciting. To make games is hard work, and to take something that has been your source of joy and make that into work can sometimes be a challenge. The last thing I wanted was to be working on something that I loved, and to have that love be lost in any way.

All that changed very quickly when we were asked to work on the Titan Frenzy in-game event portion of Operation Monarch. I can even remember being in a meeting with Paul Yan as he was confused that I wasn’t bouncing off the ceiling to get a chance to be a part of this. He couldn’t tell if I was thrilled or upset. In fact, I couldn’t either. I was nervous... it’s not every day you get to “work with your heroes” ... even if they are famous movie monsters and not real people. Thankfully, any and all concerns were washed away immediately. Working on this has been an absolute joy. First, I have to say that Raven and High Moon Studios have been wonderful partners to work with throughout the development of this season. I cannot say that enough – just phenomenal people to work with. Really though when it comes down to it, I have to say that the first time I loaded into Caldera and saw the scale of Godzilla and Kong I was completely set at ease. These are the titans of my dreams, and I was floored by what I saw. Kong and Godzilla are finally in an experience that can truly capture their imposing size – it is truly awe inspiring. My fear of working on this was completely unfounded as each day of development brought something new and exciting for me to nerd out about. Seeing animations like Kong slamming the ground and pounding his chest and the audio of Godzilla charging up before unleashing his radioactive heat ray still get the hair on the back of my neck to stand up. Getting to play a part in the development of this season, and to give players the call to action to engage with these behemoths has been so rewarding.

I wish I had a time machine and could describe to my younger self how rewarding and wonderful this experience has been, I would hope that he (me?) would be as excited as I am for everyone to get experience this. But of course, I would only be informing him during the Sunday afternoon basic cable commercial break.

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