Battlefield 3 runs at 30 frames per second on console - it's the chink in the armour that the makers of Modern Warfare 3 have begun prying open.
You can dress an engine up with whatever flashy name you like, said Sledgehammer Games founder Glen Schofield (co-developer of MW3). But, simply, Modern Warfare 3 runs at 60 frames per second.
"You can go out and name your engine and call it whatever you want. I've done that before - I've seen that trick," Schofield told AusGamers. "The bottom line is this game [MW3] will run at 60 frames a second. Not sure any of our competitors will.
"I'd be a little scared at this point, in June, if I was looking forward to a particular game that wasn't on the console and running at 60," he added. "60 is our competitive edge and you just don't throw that away."
Battlefield 3 burst into view earlier this year with a stunning gameplay trailer. Developer DICE used the footage to wax lyrical about new engine Frosbite 2. Impressive demo after impressive demo followed, but all on PC. It wasn't until EA and DICE demoed Battlefield 3 on TV chat show Jimmy Fallon that we finally saw the game running on console. This demo was later confirmed to be running at 30FPS and in 720p.
The Call of Duty series prides itself on a smooth 60FPS experience. But engine talk is beside the point, concluded Schofield, who declared that "you don't ship an engine, you ship a game".
EA has invested heavily in Battlefield 3 to mount a serious challenge to Modern Warfare 3 this autumn. And talked up the fight - a lot. But Activision has also poured pounds into its flagship franchise, putting three developers - Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer and Raven Software - to work on Modern Warfare 3. That number rises to four if you consider the integral Call of Duty: Elite service developed over two years by Beachhead.
Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey co-founded Activision studio Sledgehammer in late 2009. They were given a "fantastic new facility" and hefty backing to cherry pick a "world class team". The pair were previously employed by EA at Visceral Games, where they made Dead Space - now a blockbuster series for their former wage payer.
Modern Warfare 3 will be the first fruit of Sledgehammer's labour.