Players can instinctively remember Call of Duty when it comes to the first person shooter (FPS) genre. Folks at Activision built the foundations of the franchise from perhaps the deadliest conflict in human history, World War II. Infinity Ward’s first Call of Duty has since then changed the landscape of gaming. Activision and Sledgehammer Games attempt to bring the franchise back to its historical roots with Call of Duty: WWII and its November 3, 2017 release.
After 2003, the FPS genre shifted to embrace more contemporary aspects of warfare, including the Cold War to modern-day conflict. Games such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare helped the gaming community direct a more critical lens towards violence and war in the medium. Our crew from What’s A Geek! managed to get a sneak peek behind the curtain of Call of Duty: WWII courtesy of the recent Electronic Sports and Gaming Summit (ESGS 2017) last October.
Activision to Launch Call of Duty: WWII
Trailers for Call of Duty: WWII showed highlights from the well-documented conflict in history, but players can expect signature Call of Duty storytelling in the mix. Lead Art Director Joe Salud himself came to the Philippines during ESGS 2017 to share more about the upcoming iteration of the global franchise. According to Joe and his team, the game wanted to bring Call of Duty back to its beginnings. This might be the reason why hardcore franchise fans can feel this air of nostalgia from the gameplay and the time period.
The team also saw it as a way to honor the sacrifice of veterans who fought in the war. What better way is there to tell their story than to bring gripping cinematic experiences to new generations?
Of course, there was much discussion on the theater of war would tackle, given the scope of World War II. It was decided that the game will follow the American 1st Infantry Division Big Red One as they journey from the beaches of Omaha straight into the German Heartland. In the game, players will join Big Red One and several multi-national allied resistance forces on an unforgettable journey.
A More Cinematic Take on WWII
Joe Salud brought with him a sneak peek behind the creative process of Call of Duty: WWII. The team was very aware that they had to bring something different from the original games. This might be the reason for the emotionally dark yet visually gripping approach that the trailers showed. The art team had journeyed to countries such as France and Germany to capture reference shots for their concept art.
A city of note was Oradour-sur Glane, which is a fully-preserved ruined village from World War II. The team also drafted the expertise of Historian Martin Morgan to ensure that they treated the source material with authenticity and respect. They also hope the game would inspire players to learn more about World War II. The team also believes games like Call of Duty: WWII can be a great method for tangential learning for future generations.
Joe Salud approached the matter of story through a strong emotional core. He wanted to distill the experience of being a soldier in conflict. Additionally, they also wanted to capture how the war goes on, regardless of what you do and what your role in it will ultimately be. They took inspiration from several media like Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan. They also incorporated several cinematography techniques from films like The Revenant and Birdman.
ESGS 2017 Preview: Single Player, Multiplayer Modes
Joe Salud explained that while there’s a certain amount of ambition in the game’s single player campaign, its multiplayer aspect is just as exciting. The art team paid particular attention to four aspects of multiplayer, which they think can help boost the appeal of the game to FPS fans.
- Players can expect a more brutal “Boots on the Ground’ experience. Gamers can expect changes to modern FPS highlights such as regeneration, and can expect more health packs instead. This adds a layer of thrill and suspense to gamers.
- There is a particular emphasis to vulnerability, as the game isn’t a power fantasy. This makes the game an extremely visceral experience.
- The game also introduces Divisions in addition to its staple classes. This is an entirely new customization feature for fans. Support classes with medical abilities are now going to be more important than ever.
- The classic War Mode returns to its objective-based cooperative roots. This emphasizes the need to work as a unit instead of as individuals.
- The new Headquarters feature will become a social and competitive space among players. There are various mini-games such as Competitive Firing Ranges, a 1-versus-1 Pit Mode, and other “morale boosting” features.
Of course, Call of Duty wouldn’t be the same without a Zombie mode. Sledgehammer Games was made up of several developers who worked on Dead Space. It was only natural for the team members to bring their sensibilities to make the Nazi Zombies mode as exciting as it could get. The team researched several German myths and lore as well as several classic horror movies to make the scariest and most mature zombies in Call of Duty history. Famous actors like Vhing Rhames and David Tennant voiced a team from the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program heading into the Bavarian village of Mittleburg to recover art stolen by the Nazis. Alongside Office of Strategic Services officer Maria Fisher, they realize they were going to be only things that stand in the way of a demonic army of the dead.
As lead art director, Joe shared with a slice of how the Call of Duty: WWII pie was made. Surprisingly, the various multiplayer trailers weren’t scripted at all. During the closed play sessions of the game, he sent his team members to pilot cameras and film the players as they played the game. All the footage was a smorgasbord of cool things the team saw as it was happening. The rest of the job was simply tying all the awesome scenes together to a catchy and kinetic soundtrack.
Conclusion: A Game to Wait For
Fans of the franchise wouldn’t have to wait any longer to get their hands on Call of Duty: WWII, as the game gets a November 3, 2017 release for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows.