FUTURE TECH POWERS A REVOLUTION IN CALL OF DUTY: ADVANCED WARFARE
The Call Of Duty series began life 11 years ago as a PC game centred on World War II. Like many PC games of old, it had a somewhat restrained tone, exemplified in its loading-screen quotes from famed military types, which attempted to underscore the seriousness of this whole war business. In the years since, nine subsequent key instalments have seen Call Of Duty become a more bombastic beast, swelling in stature to become the biggest, most lucrative brand in the world of mainstream videogames. It has achieved a great deal, then, and yet until now a Call Of Duty has featured on the cover of Edge only in tribute form, to honour Modern Warfare at our 100th-issue and 20-year anniversaries. Against this backdrop, Advanced Warfare immediately feels out of the ordinary.
There is no question that this particular Call Of Duty throws up an unusually long list of things to talk about. First, there are its origins at Sledgehammer Games, a studio that contains many of the people who created the first – and best – Dead Space at Visceral Games, and who are convinced that one of the things they can deliver this time around is a coherent, meaningful storyline. Then there’s the game’s new facial animation system, powered by technology and techniques that will also be used in the production of James Cameron’s Avatar 2. There is Advanced Warfare’s audio design, whose aim is to replicate not only the sound of letting loose with heavy firearms, but the torso-invading feel of it too. And there is Sledgehammer’s broad goal for the game’s visual appearance – photorealism – something it achieves in places thanks to a combination of its new rendering technology, an abundance of data sourced from the real world, and the application of its artists’ expert hands.
Throw in a helping of Kevin Spacey and a boatload of warmongering hardware to fit the 2054 setting, and you have a Call Of Duty that feels like the next genuine step change for the ideas first mapped out in 2003. We dig into all of these topics, and more, in our cover story.