Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Taking a Sledgehammer to all we thought we knew about CoD
Point, shoot, kill. Point, shoot, kill. Realistically, there are only so many ways you can change a firstperson shooter’s basic combat, but what makes a good FPS stand out—and stops an exhausted series from stagnating further—is where you’re pulling the trigger and what tools you’re given to take control of that space. It’s these two key areas that Sledgehammer Games, formed by Dead Space creators Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey, has focused on in developing its first solo Call of Duty title. With superpowered soldiers, future tech, walking tanks and celebrity villains, this might just make CoD exciting again. Taking place in the year 2054, Advanced Warfare puts you in the role of tier-one operators of a private military corporation. These soldiers wear heavily armored exoskeleton suits that give them superhuman strength, the ability to climb walls, cloak, and best of all, double-jump and even hover in the air for short periods of time. In the end, guns will always be guns, but when a shooter fundamentally changes the way a player can traverse their environment, that’s when things start to get interesting.
At E3, I got to see portions of two of the game’s earlier levels: Collapse, which is set on San Francisco’s Golden Gate bridge, and Biolab, a stealth-heavy infiltration
The demo showed how different player movement can be, and a variety of new tools
mission that takes place in a Bulgarian forest in the dead of night. Collapse showed how different player movement can be, with a squad of soldiers jump-boosting up and over debris while under heavy enemy fire; and Biolab showcased the wide variety of new tools, like the exosuit’s cloaking technology, specifically designed to encourage players to take a more strategic, considered approach towards combat.
“That was absolutely the goal,” says Sledgehammer’s senior development director Aaron Halon. “It was really important to us. Another aspect was augmented reality. We started thinking about how to have that ammo counter on your weapon in the real world rather than your standard UI.” The best example of this in-game is the grenades; instead of having lots of different kinds in your inventory, you now simply have one universal grenade with an LED display for different options that you can cycle through on the fly, including flash, EMP, frag, and threat, the latter making enemies temporarily visible through walls.
It’s clear even from this early look that Advanced Warfare is benefiting from being the first Call of Duty title in Activision’s new three-year development cycle for the franchise. It looks pretty, and the extra time afforded to the developer has allowed Sledgehammer to rethink and shake up the antiquated, familiar character movement— an overhaul that should make the game’s multiplayer reveal worth watching out for.
Future soldiers must not need to use the toilet, or that suit is a logistical nightmare.
You might have access to advanced weaponry, but so does the enemy.
Apparently some time between now and 2054 will see the abolition of wheels.