Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is a game filled with unforgettable and explosive moments, but the central concept behind what would become one of the franchise’s most iconic missions, All Ghillied Up, didn’t initially win over many developers at Infinity Ward.
The mission is now replicated in nearly every contemporary military shooter, including almost every Call of Duty game released after 2007’s Modern Warfare. It’s a concept that is now legendary and almost synonymous with the franchise: two operatives, deep behind enemy lines wearing ghillie suits that render them nearly invisible to the naked eye, armed with silenced sniper rifles. One misstep could lead to certain death, forcing players to proceed cautiously, take calculated shots, evade enemies, and collaborate with their NPC partner to survive.
In an interview with IGN to commemorate the franchise’s 20th anniversary, one of the key minds behind All Ghillied Up, Modern Warfare designer Mohammad Alavi, revealed that the idea of creating Call of Duty’s first true stealth mission was not initially well-received by the team.
“No one thought it was cool, including myself,” Alavi admitted. “I’ve always preferred the more explosive missions, and this was the complete opposite.”
Fortunately, other members of Infinity Ward, such as Steve Fukuda, one of the game’s lead designers, and Preston Glenn, a level designer, recognized the potential of a stealth-based mission and eventually convinced Alavi.
“[Fukuda] said, ‘You’re walking in a field, you approach a bush and you spot two guys beyond the bush, and you raise your gun,'” Alavi recalled. “‘You’re about to take a shot, and the bush turns to you and says, hold up.’ And that’s all he said. And I was like, ‘I’m in.’
However, creating All Ghillied Up was no easy task. Alavi explained that developing the mission required reworking the code of Call of Duty.
“It was constant warfare,” Alavi explained. “The AI was never designed to not detect you. So I thought, ‘We can deceive them.’ But I dislike that approach because it’s instantly noticeable. I thought, ‘Or, I can make this Metal Gear Solid style. I can make this the ultimate stealth mission in a Call of Duty game.’ And without informing anyone, because I knew they would try to stop me, that’s what I attempted to do.”
The rest, as they say, is history. Alavi had to modify the enemy’s ability to detect players and wrote “nearly 20,000 lines of poorly written script” to create a custom system that allowed players to hide in shadows and bushes without being detected.
Make sure to visit IGN to read the complete story of how All Ghillied Up came to be. One of the original creators of Call of Duty also recently shared how the franchise initially aimed to surpass Counter-Strike, but only found its own identity when it abandoned that goal and instead focused on making Team Deathmatch as enjoyable as possible.