Call of Duty® Warzone™: Pacific
"Ready to traverse the lush landscapes, rocky crags, and other as-yet-unrevealed areas all contained within this expansive island?"
Large map mode UX & UI development for the complete game life-cycle, including an annualized live-ops season with extensive content offerings. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility-centered development leader. Please contact me if you'd like to request additional information.
Design Tools: Illustrator, XD, Figma, Photoshop, InDesign, After Effects, Media Encoder, & proprietary tools
Implementation Tools: GSC, LUA, Perforce, Shotgrid, JIRA, & proprietary tools
My work for the Pacific chapter of Warzone™ focused on leveling-up accessibility, improving player quality of life, and fully revamping all menus related to Operators / Operator customization. The overwhelmingly positive reception and success of these features brought Call of Duty® Warzone™ into the spotlight as an industry leader for accessibility.
Over the course of the Warzone Pacific narrative cycle, my work focused on continuing to develop strengthened dev-ops pipelines to support Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in our in-game content, building on the foundation we established during the Verdansk '84 narrative cycle. We expanded upon Accessibility in Warzone by delivering a world-class feature set, strengthening player feedback systems, providing online outlets for information / discussion surrounding our current offering of features, supporting developers through formal education/certification, and road mapping the Now & Next features for accessibility. The work the full team completed in this space catapulted Call of Duty® Warzone™ from a largely inaccessible game to a global industry leader in accessibility, gaining recognition for this work worldwide from dozens of news outlets, conferences such as #GAConf, and even through the PlayStation Store's Accessibility Collection.
The following features represent a vertical slice of my work in this space throughout the Warzone Pacific narrative cycle and illustrate some of our most buzz-worthy feature updates.
Warzone™ Pacific Trailers
As the team and project transitioned away from the Verdansk '84 Chapter into the Pacific Chapter, new mechanisms of support were identified as needing to be addressed in order to create a seamless flow between the Vanguard and Warzone products. To address new Operator mechanics and newly unveiled Operator Progression, I was tasked with revamping the visual design and technical framework of all Operator menus throughout the Warzone UI. Altogether, my work involved overhauling (or adding support for) the Operator Select menu, the Operator Bio menu, the Operator Faction UI, Operator Progression, the Operator Customization UI, and the Operator Mission menu. For brevity, I'll only cover the changes to the Operator Bio UI in depth so as to give a vertical slice view into the work completed in this area of focus. If you would like to discuss additional elements of this work in more detail or if this work overlaps with a project need that you would like to discuss further then please reach out to me directly.
As is shown in the images below, the original Operator Bio menu maintained it's Modern Warfare 2019 look until it's revamp for the Pacific Map. This included an infographic that portrayed Operator data (name, background, birth place), blood type, fingerprint, bink video, and faction navigation. Of note, the unique challenge associated with revamping this original menu is that our solution needed to exist entirely within the original implementation framework. In other words, the solution could not sit outside the original data framework, the original seasonal update pipeline, or the legacy player experience. Although the overhaul needed to feel refreshed, purposeful, and elegant to the player, it's back-end implementation could not have significant variances from our legacy system.
For parity with the Vanguard product, the new Operator Bio menu needed to support two key, newly unveiled components:
Operator's Favorite Weapon
In addition to these new elements and with the support of the broader team, I took a critical eye to which elements on the original Operator Bio UI had lost their original value / meaning and which elements were valuable to maintain. The following outline illustrates some of the considerations leveraged to critique each UI element:
Is the information tied to narrative/systems/gameplay or is it extra "fluff"?
Does the element present storage management or memory issues for the player?
Does the element require additional maintenance or dev time in the future? How much dev time is being devoted to it's seasonal maintenance currently?
What is the value delivered to the player? How is that measured?
With these considerations and design critique explorations, I established the following guidelines for the design refresh.
Whenever possible, the design should:
...prioritize information that is tied to narrative/systems/gameplay, with a particular focus on ensuring the player consistently receives feedback on their Operator Progression.
...leverage the 3D character models to give the player a better sense of immersion and familiarity with their chosen Operator.
...reorganize the Faction Menu - the Modern Warfare system is embedded within the Bio data in a way that consistently leads players to believe that it is a static face book, rather than a navigable menu.
...highlight key aspects of the Operator's background, personality, and allegiance.
...provide ample flexibility to support the Vanguard Favorite Weapon mechanic for Operators wherein the mechanic is applicable.
...function within a framework close enough to the original Modern Warfare framework such that the development pipeline for implementing Operators is preserved and not disrupted.
...provide an experience that is consistent with the legacy experience (do not confuse existing players) while giving a sense of refreshment / refinement that elegantly supports the new and expanded systems being presented.
After working through various iterations across departments and development studios, I coordinated with our Engineering and implementation teams to bring this redesign to life (alongside the redesigns of parallel menus/systems). The images below illustrate examples of how this menu now functions in-game with it's new design. Notably, the menu exists in the 3D world, reorganizes the bio information, eliminates redundant data, and re-prioritizes the Operator Progression, Favorite Weapon, and Faction mechanics. Even further, this menu exists entirely within the original implementation framework, making it's development investment lightweight, it's user experience consistent for legacy users, and it's seasonal pipeline consistent for Operator implementation.
Pride Month 2022
For Pride Month in June of 2021, I managed a strike team focused on creating and implementing Emblems that represent and include LGBTQIA+ identities in-game, expanding on the game's offering of Pride assets. For the celebration's, we left the visual targets largely open for exploration by the artists themselves, with the goal of creating 1-2 new Emblems that not only represent Pride, but go beyond the traditional flag representation (which we have already covered with Calling Cards) and dive into new ways to visually represent Pride month. The two Emblems we delivered, Lion's Pride and Gaymer, went above and beyond expectations of both developers and players, creating incredible assets that excited and inspired our Warzone players. These Emblems were granted for free to all players and became available in every player's Barracks on June 1st. This was accompanied by a companion Tweet to announce the Emblems.
In order to realize these assets in-game, I was responsible for developing the core concept (though we kept this largely open to exploration), evaluating relevant considerations (financial, cultural, regional, legal), managing development of the Calling Card assets, and developing player-facing communications including patch notes details and twitter announcements.
Diversity & Inclusion Work
When our team began working on the Pacific Warzone map, I was responsible for managing our development team's relationship with a formal Diversity & Inclusion consultant. This consultant group focused on supporting our map team in developing an authentic, compelling play space situated within the Pacific Islands region. As is the nature of Diversity & Inclusion work, the discussions, questions, data, and resulting design direction are private and confidential to the development team. For this reason, the details of my work and the specific impacts this has had on the design direction for the Pacific map remain unavailable to the public. With that said, this work is near and dear to my heart, and I am happy to discuss the pipeline, asset creation, or various considerations in more depth if this or similar efforts related to Diversity & Inclusion management/business transformation are of interest to your teams or project!
AbleGamers APX Certification
Alongside the Pacific map development, I also worked with various cross-studio capabilities to provide continuing education opportunities to our developers at Raven Software. This included educational speakerships on a broad selection of development-relevant Diversity & Inclusion topics as well as access to the AbleGamers Accessible Player Experience (APX) Practitioner Certification Course.
Notably the AbleGamers APX Course takes place over a 2-day period and provides developers with the tools to affect change within their organizations and products, ultimately broadening access to games for players with disabilities. I also participated in this certification course (credential shown below) in order to better understand these underrepresented and underserved communities so that we can effectively weave Accessibility-By-Design into all aspects of our development pipeline. Altogether, this initiative resulted in our Studio having the highest rate of course completion at the company! In addition, our participants represent a broad array of disciplines on both the Art/Design and the Engineering sides of the fence.
If this or similar efforts are of interest to your teams or project and you would like to discuss Accessibility management/business transformation strategies in more depth, please reach out to me directly.