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"I don't want you to get a second-rate experience…"

Black Ops 3 dev on Activision's controversial decision to ditch campaign for last-gen consoles.

Activision caused quite the stir when it announced the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 version of Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 would not include campaign - a first for the series.

It's the end of the line for Call of Duty's campaign on PS3 and Xbox 360.

"The ambitious scope of the 1-4 player co-op campaign design of the PS4, Xbox One and PC versions could not be faithfully recreated on old generation hardware," publisher Activision explained in a statement released in September.

Beenox and Mercenary Technology are making the last-gen version of Black Ops 3, leaving Treyarch to work exclusively on the more powerful PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

Speaking to Eurogamer, Treyarch's Jason Blundell, director of campaign and Zombies mode for Black Ops 3, expanded on the statement, and said he supported Activision's decision to ditch the campaign for last-gen - because including it would have meant a compromise too far.

"When I make a game, what I'm trying to do is give you an experience," he said.

"What I see on the screen and what I'm working with the team to make, that's what I want you to experience. So, one part of my job is to push our team to get every ounce of power and energy and memory out of the current gen consoles. And they're very talented individuals and perform miracles to do that.

"We being Treyarch, we're only looking at the current-gen stuff, so PS4 and Xbox One. And when we hear the old-gen stuff start having to take things away to be able to make it perform on those machines... they're like, 'okay, we're going to have to lose this, and lose that, and bring this back in,' from a purely selfish point of view, I completely agreed with Activision's decision to cut the campaign, because I don't want you to get a second-rate experience. So I agreed on that level."

Blundell continued: "It took us three years to make this thing and craft that experience. I would hate for someone to get something that isn't true to the vision. That sounds a bit arty, but that's how I feel about it. I agreed with Activision's decision on not going there. I don't think they could have faithfully conveyed some of the concepts I wanted into the campaign experience.

"If we took something and started cutting it up into pieces and taking those bits away, that would have made me more upset, to be honest."

Blundell said one of the reasons the last generation of consoles struggled with Black Ops 3's campaign was because it has been designed for co-op, and as a result has larger levels than previous Call of Duty games.

"Every level is bigger than any previous level we've done," Blundell explained.

"We take advantage of longer draw distances. So certain scenes you just couldn't do. You'd have to bring in the clipping distance and do some fogging. I'm trying to give you a feeling of size and scale. On the previous generation you'd have to do a bunch of smoke and mirrors to convey the idea."

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Black Ops 3's levels have also been designed with increased verticality in mind. The idea is a team of four players work together to defeat the computer-controlled enemies, with one player, perhaps, trying to reach the high ground to mark enemies who then appear on other players' heads-up displays.

"We've got these big arena-like experiences you can approach from different angles," Blundell said.

"A lot of those concepts would have to have been cut, or you would have lost sections of it, because it would have been too much weight on the system. You'd have to dumb it down so much you wouldn't get the graphical fidelity you'd need to convey certain lighting feels. There are certain levels where the lighting complexity sets a certain mood or a vibe of anticipation.

"Let's say I want to do scale, and then I want to make you feel claustrophobic - you can't play with that lighting and that scale at the same time on the old-gen consoles. I know because I've wanted to do that before previously, and I had to say, 'okay, I have to make a concession'.

"The current-gen is very liberating, because we've been able to take some of these bigger concepts on. But you just couldn't pull it off - all of the elements at the same time, anyway. You'd have had to have given something away. It's a real shame."

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