One of the most important aspects of making a game realistic is its graphics -- a core conceit of the generational transitions the console industry is founded on.
And for a game like Infinity Ward and Activision's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, that's even more strongly true; drawing inspiration from what's happening in the world now and bringing it credibly and viscerally to your screen, the Modern Warfare games live and die by visual veracity.
It's particularly worth noting that the Call of Duty games are driven as intensely by character action and interaction as they are by enemy combat -- two major, and complicated artistic problems to tackle.
To find out more about what goes into the visuals of what's already being billed as the biggest game of the year, Gamasutra sat down with Joel Emslie, the game's lead character artist.
Here, he discusses the processes by which the most respected name in war games gets its considerable visual punch: