The Call of Duty franchise remains one of the most highly popular multiplayer military shooters in the AAA video game industry, but the games have also featured a handful of truly engaging story campaigns with iconic moments like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare‘s infamous “nuke scene.” Having already teased a narrative-driven singleplayer campaign for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Sledgehammer Games has now released a behind-the-scenes ‘Story’ video.
Probably one of the most noticeable things in this featurette is just how little it actually talks about story. Creative director Bret Robbins cites Sledgehammer’s history of “pedigree” storytelling in games like Dead Space and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, as well as reiterating the fact that Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare‘s story took two and a half years to write, but the featurette offers no new details on what that story actually is.
What Robbins does discuss is the military advisers who were consulted during the development of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – including Navy SEALs and Delta Force operators – as well as the futurists who aided in creating a vision of what the world and its technology might be like in forty years.
Robbins also talks about the “new storytelling techniques” used in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, but then only goes into detail about the performance capture technology, which is more of an animation technique than a storytelling technique. After all, there have been plenty of games with terrible stories and high-quality cinematics. Equally, there have been a lot of games with poor graphics but extremely compelling stories.
Though it contains some interesting tidbits of information, the featurette is ultimately quite frustrating in the way that it dances around without ever properly touching on Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare‘s story. It’s especially frustrating since what we’ve seen of the story already is fairly promising. The first cinematic trailer packed a powerful punch, with Kevin Spacey as the head of a private military organization, opining on the futility of trying to install democracy in nations that can’t support it.
A gameplay demo revealed at E3 2014 also showed the game’s protagonist, Private Mitchell, experiencing life-changing event during battle. It was a well-executed sequence, and if the rest of the game holds up to that high quality then there’s hope for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare to set a new standard for storytelling within the series.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare releases November 4, 2014 for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.