20. The ‘All Ghillied Up’ Mission In Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
As the seeds of World War III start to grow, Modern Warfare moves to Prypiat 15 years earlier for a little stealth-based exposition.
Published on Dec 5, 2011
Amid the chaos of an impending nuclear conflict, the action of Modern Warfare skips back 15 years and into the well-polished boots of a young Captain Price.
The mission in question is ‘All Ghillied Up’, undoubtedly the best level in Call of Duty history. You can feel the tension in the air during the thrilling stealth section, and the Ferris wheel showdown at the end is brutal, exciting and tactical in equal measure.
Why it’s great
Because everything about the mission resonates quality. The stealth section across the Prypiat fields is tense and requires a good aim to surpass without triggering the alarm.
You also need expert timing, slick movement and a keen ear to map out the guard patrols in the junkyard before reaching the city. Before that however, you come across a patrolling tank and a massive squad of troops.
Running away isn’t an option, so the only thing to do is lie low, blend in to the grass and pray that you aren’t spotted. As All Ghillied Up segues into the mission One Shot, One Kill, this is a stark counter to the Ferris wheel shoot out at the end, in which a wounded Macmillan needs your help.
You have to defend him against the most aggressive enemy AI in the game, as wave after wave of Russians pour into the fairground and open fire. It’s tough as nails, but the feeling you get when escaping in the chopper that eventually arrives is one of sheer relief and validation.
What the developer says
Rob Bowling, creative strategist, Infinity Ward
We caught up with Infinity Ward’s Rob Bowling about where the idea for the mission came from, and the feedback they had after Modern Warfare launched.
"There is so much that went into that level. For one it was very unique to the game as a whole because it was a flashback and more importantly, Captain Price has this allure to him. We looked at the character and said, ‘how did Captain Price become such a badass that his is?’ you know, surviving generations of warfare. [laughs]"
"The flashback level was really cool because it was our chance to put you in the shoes of who was then Lieutenant Price and his mentor Captain Macmillan. That dynamic in itself was really cool for the game in general so we wanted to make that very special, and to really live up to the legend that is Captain Price."
"From a pacing standpoint, I mean, from one moment you go from a very methodical, straight-up sniper mission to just shit going crazy, going through all this hell and it ends in that fairground. That abandoned fairground – in my mind – is one of the most difficult levels in the history of Call of Duty."
"[Laughs] I mean it’s perseverance, and just pure strategy is needed to beat that level. What I’d say about that mission is, it does more in that one level than you would expect in an entire game. That in terms of how the pacing dynamically changes from moment, to moment, to moment. Also, you get a little bit of everything, which is what I love about it."
"What we really tried to do as per our design philosophy, is not only deliver variety throughout the campaign, but really sprinkle that throughout every level."
"That’s why we show you the conflict from different perspectives. You’re not just boots on the ground in traditional warfare, because in another instant you’re in those crazy action moments and that’s what All Ghillied Up was all about."