Did you hear? There's a new Call of Duty game releasing this fall! That's what some fans and media members have grown tired of over the last few years since the more-of-the-same criticism has begun to take its toll, as evidenced by diminishing sales, reputation and critical review scores of the last entry in the series, Call of Duty: Ghosts.
Publisher Activision understands this however, and as new first-person shooter franchise look to debut alongside the new home consoles, Call of Duty looks to slow down the rushed development cycle. Hence, the creation of Sledgehammer Games in 2009. Their first solo project was meant to be a radical change for the COD brand, a third-person action game with elements of Dead Space, but it was canceled and the Activision subsidiary instead helped Infinity Ward develop Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 for its 2011 release.
At the time, if you recall, Infinity Ward was coming out of surviving an exodus of sorts as its leadership and a good portion of its staff left to form Respawn Entertainment under Electronic Arts (they made Titanfall). After MW3 however, Sledgehammer put all of its focus on its first fully in-house developed title, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare which was finally revealed in April. It's part of a larger development plan by Activision to move from a two-year cycle, alternating years between Infinity Ward and Treyarch, to a three-year cycle with three Call of Duty developers - this is the first game born from that shift.
And according to studio Studio Head, Chief Creative Officer and Co-founder Glen Schofield, fans should expect the best story yet from this particular series entry.
That's more time than most COD games get for their overall development, so by stating this fact, Schofield isn't shying away from raising expectations. From what we already know about the story of Advanced Warfare (not to be confused with Advanced Warfighter from Ghost Recon), it follows a single protagonist, Private Mitchell (voiced by Troy Baker) who Schofield previously described as intentionally "generic" in the year 2054.
He's accepted a job at a Private Military Corporation, the focus of the first video for the game, about the growth of PMCs in real-life and how they could effectively privatize global warfare. They have the manpower, the most advanced weapons, and the best skillsets and tactics - and they don't owe allegiance to any nation. They are armies for hire, and Hollywood star Kevin Spacey runs the world's biggest one, Atlas Corporation.
Part of the story changes for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare involve working in the mission objectives into the dialogue and story itself, so gone are the forgettable loading screen mission screens, overloaded with maps, lines and buzzwords. Expect the advanced technologies, vehicles, tools and weapons to factor into the story and set pieces heavily as well - because as usual, this Call of Duty was labeled "ambitious" but we'll wait until we play it before utilizing buzzword labels that don't have meaning without context.
As for the story, if it took that long to write, we're curious how long the campaign is - since the hours of single player gameplay have diminished over the last few installments. We're even more curious to see how Sledgehammer is handling co-op since that's been teased but not yet detailed. After so many installments, will fans finally be able to play through the campaign with friends (a la World at War) or are we getting the typical stock of separate co-op survival modes? With E3 around the corner, it won't be long before we found out just how ambitious this entry really is. We've heard Sledgehammer has big plans for this year's trade show for their debut title.
Excited to jump into an Exo suit and blast away at enemies of the future?
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare releases November 4, 2014 for last-gen and current-gen platforms.
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