CoD: Infinite Warfare
Andrew Whitehead knows that the haters are gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Set in the distant future, and in its own separate Call of Duty universe, Infinite Warfare portrays an Earth stripped of its natural resources, relying on the newly formed United Nations Space Alliance (UNSA) for survival and to handle off-planet colonisation.
Now, a militant group known as the Settlement Defense Front (SDF) has declared war on the UNSA and killed the captain of the space-faring warship, the Retribution. It’s up to Lieutenant Nick Reyes to step up, take control of the Retribution, defend Earth, and yeah you get the picture. It’s Call of Duty, not Tolstoy.
Clichéd storyline aside, right now Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare's biggest problem is its uphill battle against swarms of haters online. And I can understand why; packaging in the remastered version of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare as an exclusive extra is a bit of a dick move and, in some ways, shows a lack of faith in the next CoD on the block.
And, look, I’ll say it: Call of Duty campaigns have fluctuated between average and awful for a while now. Infinite Warfare’s plot probably isn’t going to be the series’ best. But everything I’ve seen of the actual game makes me believe it’s worth the benefit of the doubt.
For one thing, Infinite Warfare doesn’t just feature a linear campaign anymore. Instead, there are now optional side-quests called Ship Assaults where players can try and take down SDF ships to unlock weapons and equipment.
“You, as the captain of the Retribution, are able to make a choice of where you’re going to point your ship,” says Studio Art Director Brian Horton. “Set a course, pick one of the SDF ships, go there and go from the Jackal, which is your small fighter jet, to zero-g combat, to getting inside the SDF ship and then exfiltrate.”
The Jackal spaceship sections aren’t on-rails shooting galleries, either; this is real from ground to space flight that takes to you into proper ship-to-ship combat. There’s been flight modes in Call of Duty before, but never with this degree of freedom.
Twisting the Call of Duty formula even more are the tools you have to deal with the zero-gravity battles you’ll be fighting as you invade one of the hulking SDF ships. For one thing, you have grenades that can lock-on and home-in on enemies, plus a speedy grappling hook that can pull you towards objects or drag an enemy towards you, allowing you to crack open their space helmet.
“We spent three years developing this game,” says Brian, “and we wanted to innovate; we wanted to push the boundaries. And we wanted to find a theatre that’s different than anything else we’ve done before.”
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare probably won’t revolutionise gaming the way the game it’s packed in with did, but it’s clear Infinity Ward is giving the Call of Duty series the kick up the arse it desperately needs if it’s going to compete in the increasingly diverse shooter genre.
Yes, this actually really is a screenshot from the next Call of Duty game