Before helping Infinity Ward finish up development on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, developer Sledgehammer Games was working on their own Call of Duty title. The game was set during the Vietnam War and, unlike all of the previous games in the franchise, it deployed a third person perspective.
However, once their work was completed on MW3, Sledgehammer was offered an opportunity they couldn't pass up: the chance to develop an official entry in the Call of Duty franchise. If they said yes, the developer would be added to the fold as a third studio responsible for delivering Call of Duty games on its new three-year development cycle. But, with that opportunity came the death of their third person spin-off.
Now that Sledgehammer Games is nearing the end of development on their first COD franchise entry, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, the developer is looking back on what could have been - sharing previously unknown details regarding their third person shooter and why the game ultimately would have never worked.
As part of their Advanced Warfare cover story for Game Informer, Sledgehammer Games tells the publication that while their third person shooter would have used the Vietnam war as its backdrop it would not have featured familiar terrain. Rather, as studio co-founders Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey explain, their game would have used Cambodia as a major setting. What's more, the two devs say that their game featured some "Dead Space moments" as players navigate the "dense jungles" of Cambodia.
"I don’t mean that from sci-fi, I mean that was a war that was scary for the [American soldiers]. They didn’t know if in the jungle there was a booby trap, or what was in those tunnels. And there were thousands of miles of tunnel underground. It was a hidden war, right? Everybody thought the war was in Vietnam, but it was in Cambodia and Laos. So we were telling a cool story."
Unfortunately, while their work on the Call of Duty spin-off helped Sledgehammer Games, time away from the project showed a major flaw. The team discovered that, while unique, the game would be hard to market outside of the United States, as many countries view the Vietnam War, or rather America's War, as an unpopular event in history. Obviously that's true for US residents as well, but apparently the setting might have hurt the game from a marketing perspective, and therefore Sledgehammer decided it best to let the project ride off into the sunset.
“We found out as we were researching it as well, all around the world it’s actually known as America’s war. Not Vietnam’s. We were the only ones that called it the Vietnam War. It’s kind of unpopular. And we didn’t really understand the marketing aspect of that.”
While it's interesting to consider what could have been, the focus is now on Advanced Warfare, which represents a major turning point for the franchise. For starters, this is the first, truly next-gen title in the billion-dollar franchise, boasting a new, sharper graphics engine. It also features some top tier talent in the form of Kevin Spacey, who plays Jonathan Irons in the game.
But most of all, Advanced Warfare is a chance for Call of Duty to course correct sales-wise with a new developer and a somewhat fresh concept. We'll see whether Sledgehammer's decision to take on proper Call of Duty games was a wise one when Advanced Warfare hits in November.
Do you wish that Sledgehammer had continued their work on the third person Call of Duty? Or was the concept of a game set during Vietnam not as appealing?
Sledgehammer's new game, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, releases November 4, 2014 for the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
Source: Game Informer
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