Sledgehammer, Activision Return Series To Its Roots With ‘Call of Duty: WW2’

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Three years ago, Sledgehammer Games released Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. For the next three games Activision was focused solely not in war of our world’s history but of the possibilities of the not-so-far future. As soon as Sledgehammer released their game, however, they instead saw the critics and fans of the long-running series hoping to see more games centered on world history. So, for their development cycle, Sledgehammer decided to strip the series of all the fantastical elements and return to its roots in our past. Ladies and gentlemen, Call of Duty: WW2 will drop in just a few short months for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

Today the developers took to social media to cover some of the basic elements of the multiplayer facet of WW2 for fans who were too eager to wait for E3 to kick in full gear. I took a half hour this afternoon and watched intently as some of the details finally came to surface on what to expect this November. The following descriptions come straight from the developers who were interviewed during the live Call of Duty: WW2 stream on Facebook Live.

Opening Remarks

Michael Condrey, the chief operating and development officer at Sledgehammer Games, had previously advised that the studio wanted to shy away from futuristic tales and transport players back to a whole different type of hell. Sledgehammer’s goal is to create “gritty, intense WW2 combat.” For the multiplayer Sledgehammer keeps saying they have a “boots on the ground” mentality with their latest development for gamers. They are referring to the mechanics as relying less on modern technologies, with laser sights and satellites, and more what the Allies used to combat enemies on the front lines – accurate and improved iron sights on all of the weapons. (Sorry folks, but if you rely heavily on red-dot sights in your COD games – you’re out of luck this fall.)

Condrey cites that the developers have a “respect and responsibility” to gamers new and old. While older gamers grew up with the likes of Saving Private Ryan (now nearly 19 years old) and The Thin Red Line, young gamers haven’t had much in the way of historical dramas to watch and learn from. Instead, introducing World War 2 to a whole new generation of gamers who missed the games of Call of Duty and Medal of Honor 15 to 20 years ago      they want to honor the work and determination all of the men and women involved in World War II endured that would shape the outcome of the war. Locations, skirmishes and battles, missions, all will factor in to both the campaign and multiplayer aspects of Call of Duty: WW2.

Oh, and in the trailer above – the awesome shot of the Allied solider laying waste to Nazi foes with a flamethrower? Indeed that is part of the multiplayer experience. Aside from controllable score streaks as we are all accustomed to, the ability to use other vehicles such as tanks and planes will be very present – not just as kill streaks but also in the midst of a match as well. Those will feature more with the War Mode, as those maps are bigger and more expansive in nature. Speaking of which, War Mode will expand beyond the standard multiplayer games, such as team deathmatch, and will be more reminiscent of the newer Battlefield games, much like Battlefield 1.

Headquarters

Headquarters is a whole new experience that will enhance how you interact with your friends and other gamers on the network. Headquarters is a 48 person living experience that began with Advanced Warfare and has been refined for WW2. Off of the front lines you can compete, be social, or just show off with your friends your various achievements. You’ll be able to socialize, commend other players which you interact with, and challenge your squad too. One example – shootouts with other players (ala one-on-one) to see how long you can survive against each other. Headquarters is used to party up and you can compete via “pits.” Headquarters is separate from matchmaking and can be easily accessed via the hub. While you’re still in the queue you can run around Headquarters and, once your match begins, you’ll be whisked away to your match straight away. Headquarters is essentially the main menu per the developers and is available at boot up. Sledgehammer then showed off one such facet of Headquarters – a firing range that can be used solo OR against multiple players.

Divisions

With the three year development cycle, Sledgehammer looked back at how you can progress your player within the game and has opted to replace Create A Class. For Sledgehammer Games Divisions is where you gain experience by enlisting in a division (or class of character) – your play style, appearance, et cetera. You can manipulate classes but the biggest announcement by far is that perks are gone. Everything to craft your character will begin in basic training and, as you began to level up in the rankings, you’ll be able to progress your player. Characters can be fully customized. Loadouts are Airborne (run and gun), Armored (heavy weaponry), Mountain (sniper), or Expeditionary (shotgun/close quarters). Much about progression has yet to be tweaked but you can either be a male or female, even different nationalities. At any time you desire you can switch your Division to a different preference so you can play Multiplayer as you so desire. Diving is very much intact, but sliding too is gone. That mechanic doesn’t fit in with the ideology of “boots on the ground” in the European theater.

Maps and War Modes

Sledgehammer games want to put players at the most iconic scenarios of the European theater, especially Normandy and the Allied march towards Berlin. All of the maps are very intricately detailed that show the evolution of COD maps by pushing the boundary and range of opportunities without seeming outlandish and ridiculous. The developers want to push different game styles for all types of players. Maps will all range in sizes and will be as historically accurate as possible. In terms of the War Mode, this is very much like the huge maps that Battlefield players will recall well. In War Mode teams will be given specific instructions what needs goals need to be completed – for example destroy bridges, artillery pieces, armored brigades, and various other missions. Apparently up to 66 people can participate on various War modes (different ranges for different modes) – Team Deathmatch, Domination, Hardpoint, et cetrea.  Sledgehammer has said that the multiplayer maps are a “taylor built experience” featuring maps built for different scenarios. More details will follow in the coming months.

Zombies

Sadly, there was no mention of the popular mode, though there will definitely be a very immerse Nazi Zombies experience. However, I wouldn’t expect to see any further adventures of the dastardly Edward Rictofen or his crazy experiments.

Private Beta

Now, if you preordered the game like I have, you’ll want to know when the private betas will begin. As with Infinite Warfare Playstation 4 has the early access over Xbox One. The private beta for PS4 launches August 18th while the private beta for Xbox One begins September 1st.

The only downside I’ve seen so far? The fact that Activision is erasing the swastika from history. Yes, that insignia is damning, but was very much part of the Nazi regime during their rise and fall. The studio doesn’t want to upset German censors, understandably so as the COD games are just as popular worldwide as they are in the United States. However, Bethseda Studios has no problem using the iron cross and swastika logos for the forthcoming Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. Between now and launch, Activision could change their minds. Still, slightly disappointing that Sledgehammer Games is not being allowed to have a fully historically-accurate game.

Call Of Duty: WW2 will hit PS4 and Xbox One on November 3rd, just four days before Microsoft will launch the Xbox One X to retailers across the country. Stay tuned for Fan Fest News for more coverage from E3 as the week continues onward!

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