It would be an understatement to say that the developers of the Call of Duty series haven't limited their previous games with notions of what was plausible in real-world military operations or disasters. With Black Ops 2, the series went into the near-future of mechanized warfare. But now that more details concerning Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare have arrived, it seems the franchise is entering into full blown science fiction, bringing energy weapons and hovering vehicles, to name a few futuristic additions.
When Activision began to first market the fiction that would shape Advanced Warfare, they made the focus clear: a look at how the rise of Private Military Companies could change the nature of war. Kevin Spacey was revealed as a central figure in the game, portraying Jonathan Irons, the head of one such company seeking to privatize warfare on a global scale. How the player would fit into the mix wasn't clear, but new details and screenshots help.
According to details gleaned from the latest issue of Game Informer (via GameSpot), Spacey's rant against the notion of freedom seen in the first trailer doesn't actually mean he's the villain. After serving in the Marines alongside William Irons (Jonathan's son), the game's protagonist - Mitchell, voiced by Troy Baker (The Last of Us, BioShock: Infinite) - accepts a job offer to join the ranks of Atlas as a private military contractor.
The lucrative career decision turns south when a worldwide terrorist attack (Call of Duty is fairly big on that) cripples cities around the globe with a group known as KVA claiming responsibility. The EXO suit seen being worn in several screenshots by Mitchell is made possible by the game's setting in 2054, and brings new levels of customization and leveling to the campaign. Players will apparently earn points on missions that can be put towards the EXO Suit's climbing, jumping, or even the ability to hover in mid-air.
The suits aren't the only technology capable of hovering according to the latest screenshots, with Sledgehammer Games having consulted with military and Hollywood special effects experts to craft their vision of future warfare. Take a look:
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The base weapon loadout will be seeing some signifcant improvements due to the jump into the future as well. Details are being kept quiet for now, but what has been confirmed is not only energy-based guns (which do not use ammunition) but "variable grenades." Aside from destruction upon detonation, these grenades can be shifted to reveal enemy locations via the player's modified visor. Beyond giving the player more tools to use as part of a squad, Sledgehammer has also confirmed that there will be some form of co-op gameplay at launch.
Those familiar with online shooters will be able to see how an upgradeable hero and such varied weaponry could have an impact on the multiplayer experience system, but the developers aren't revealing how many of the systems will be carried over from singleplayer. Whatever the end result, it would seem that Activision is looking to please both singleplayer fans and the hardcore online crowd with Call of Duty's first foray into next-gen.
On that note, Sledgehammer confirmed that they will be handling development for the PC, PS4 and Xbox One, and handing off porting duties for the Xbox 360 and PS3 to a separate studio. Normally that may be cause for concern, but with the recent success of Titanfall's adaptation to Xbox 360, it's less certain. Like several triple-A next-gen titles, any release on the Wii U has yet to be confirmed.
More details will be officially released as coverage continues, but this is already enough information for Call of Duty fans to decide if a shift into future sci-fi is what they're after on next-gen. For years, the pacing and spectacle of Call of Duty has defined the brand more than setting or characters, but this certainly marks the largest departure from past titles in years.
What do you Call of Duty fans think of the 2054 war and weaponry? Is a step beyond modern inevitable for the franchise, or a risky move? Sound off in the comments.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare releases November 4, 2014 for last-gen and current-gen platforms.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.
Source: Game Informer (via GameSpot)