Chance Glasco, an Infinity Ward animator who worked on Medal of Honor: Allied Assault as part of the original dev team, has recently been let loose on an AMA thread on Reddit, sharing his knowledge on the intricacies of constructing and positioning some of the most frequently glimpsed weapon animations from the Call of Duty series, revealing his feelings about the FAL's reload in Modern Warfare 2, and at what point a reload becomes "too flashy."
On the FAL animation: “I personally thought my FAL animation was one of my weaker animations in the game, but it was literally saved by the concept behind the animation. People like it because you knock out the empty magazine with your new magazine, not because it was my best animation. There are some things I wish I could have changed/cleaned up in it. It really goes to show you how a good reload idea can really propel a gun into popularity.”
On gun serial nubers: "I had one of my buddies in the art department use that [The Javelin] as the serial number. Actually, most serial numbers on guns in CoD have significance. On the side of the SPAS12 you will see GB72BJJ. That's secret code for 'Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu-jitsu'. It's just a very subtle shout out to my gym. Maybe you could call it a 'whisper out'."
On the Kar98k: "Oh yes, the Kar98k is my favorite gun I ever worked on The satisfaction....It's that feeling like when you grew up playing baseball, quit, and then 8 years later start throwing the ball again. It's been forever, but it feels natural and part of you."
On Battlefield having the AK-47′s ejectors on the wrong side: "It keeps me up at night."
On balancing realism with flashiness: "This is actually one of the most difficult aspects of my job, especially as time goes on and I’ve worked with so many weapons. Before I start, I usually research how the weapon is operated if necessary. I do try to keep it realistic to a point. I don’t go full realism because it’s often boring and flat. If you want to be tactical, for example, you should always keep your rifle pointing forward when reloading, but frankly, that doesn’t make for a very interesting animation. So, often I will meet a weapons expert and they’ll tell me that I made a mistake here or I should have done this. Usually that ‘mistake’ is a creative choice to show off the weapon or make it feel unique or special. I do keep it balanced though, as I don’t really add super flashy actions to my animations like twirling a pistol or flipping a magazine before inserting it."
On reusing guns from past titles: "If we bring back a gun from a previous game, we might be using the same reload animation for it instead of doing a brand new one. It's better to spend that time doing something new, rather than re-doing something you've probably already done well. If you want to a weapon to feel unique from other weapons, it needs to have it's own set of animations. On the other hand, there are a lot of people posting their own reload animations on Youtube. Often they are copies of my animation or another animator. I think that's pretty cool, actually."
Again, the AMA is available to read over on Reddit in full, so go check it out.