Activision wants Call of Duty to be talked about as much as Game of Thrones

"Our goal as entertainers is to deliver a Red Wedding scene through interactive entertainment," Sledgehammer says.

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Upcoming action-shooter Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is really going to focus on story, studio heads Michael Condrey and Glen Schofield said in a new interview. Speaking with Game Informer, studio cofounder Michael Condrey said his ambition for the Call of Duty series overall is for it to permeate popular culture in a similar way to Game of Thrones.

"Our goal as entertainers is to deliver a Red Wedding scene through interactive entertainment, and have people talk about Call of Duty on that sort of level one day," Condrey said. Other cofounder Glen Schofield added: "I want people to go 'crap, it's over'. 'Wow…There was a great story in a video game. It can be done.' And that's a big deal."

Schofield went on to say that while Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will have large-scale set-piece moments, including a scene where San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge comes crashing down, the game will also focus on more subtle emotional scenes.

"It's not just about the big moments; it's about the emotional moments," Schofield said. "And they can still be big and bold, but it's to me, right now...at this point in our career and I think in video games, with the new consoles and the amount of fidelity you get with the characters, it's about emotional connections. Narrative is extremely important to us. Not that it isn't to others, but we pay an awful lot of attention to that."

"It's not just a military story; this is about family, and camaraderie, and pain, and loss" -- Glen Schofield

"I just feel that video games is the next medium to be talking about a story," he added. "We need to be telling a story."

Condrey echoed Schofield's comments, saying it's been a "core focus" for Sledgehammer Games to create a "rich narrative." Sledgehammer isn't yet saying much about the story Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will tell, but unlike past entries in the series, there will only be one protagonist, a soldier named Private Mitchell.

"It's not just a military story; this is about family, and camaraderie, and pain, and loss," Schofield said. Mitchell is described as a "normal" guy, an "anybody." He is voiced by prolific and celebrated voice actor Troy Baker (The Last of Us, BioShock: Infinite), but Mitchell only speaks during cinematics, never during gameplay.

Could that be jarring for players, not hearing the protagonist talk during gameplay?

"We've talked an awful lot about it. And it just feels like once we're in game, we want you to feel like you're Mitchell," Schofield said. If you hear someone else's voice as your character during gameplay, you might lose a feeling of immersion, Schofield says.

Finally, Schofield explained that Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's dramatic new gameplay features, including the super-ability EXO suit that players can use to climb walls and dodge with great speed, are not going to make the game feel any less like the Call of Duty fans have grown accustomed to.

"Maybe we change it up as much as possible but there's something in it that people can say 'Ah, it's still Call of Duty,'" Schofield said. "Because we know there's still millions of people who play it and they don't want a completely different game; they want Call of Duty, but better, different, innovative."

"This is Call of Duty from the spirit of everything you loved about it, but it is a different Call of Duty and we think that's going to be pretty fun for the fans," Condrey said.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare launches November 4 for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC. For more, check out everything we know so far and three questions we want answers to.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Discussion

334 comments
Fanible
Fanible

Haven't they now ruined it by mentioning it then?  Now I'll be expecting it.

fede018
fede018

Comparing COD to Game Of Thrones was wrong. COD is more like THE WIRE! Amirite?

aphextwin777
aphextwin777

I think the game devs need to stop dreaming.

Navardo95
Navardo95

Well if you notice,its already being talked about as much as game of thrones...just not in a good way :P

Keitha313
Keitha313

We can always talk about how bad it is from time to time?

Call of Duty died two years ago leave it in its grave R.I.P

TheCyborgNinja
TheCyborgNinja

I think it already is, because I've been tired of hearing anything about either of them for what feels like an eternity. If companies want their stuff mentioned until somebody vomits, just get Jimmy Fallon's writers to like it. Last fall, all you ever heard was "Breaking Bad," "Grand Theft Auto V," and "Twitter." It's like an NBC version of MS's "TV, Sports, and Call of Duty" presentation...

MrStygian
MrStygian

What are you talking about? They are talked about like Game of Thrones! They're just liked as much as Joffrey was liked as a character is all.


P.S. Don't tell them I said that, they might get a bit...."choked" up.

scarred_fox
scarred_fox

talk about how it continues to pump annual content with little to no change, sure we'll talk about that...

Shivatin
Shivatin

To even get to a level close to Game of Thrones, COD has to not suck. Even then it would never be anywhere near as good as Game of Thrones...

Wraith3
Wraith3

Yeah you already did that several years back with the "gun down Russian civilians in an airport" scene in MW2. How'd that work out?

deadpen
deadpen

Well they achieved it cause no one at work or online talks about Game of Thrones.

Dexodrill
Dexodrill

I'm sorry, I will never talk about CoD as much as game of thrones. I don't mean to disrespect but after idk how many versions im tired of CoD. I still remember the original games, but im tired of CoD, there are so many different ones that come out with hardly huge jumps in style and overall changes. I'll admit they have there merit, don't think I'm trying to bash them, but it's time for CoD to retire. I'd really like to see a different series from Activision. I may enjoy BF4 more then CoD but it's not just because of the differences, it's because I feel a lot of changes and advancements in the actual game. With CoD it always makes me feel like it's the same small arena, never offering me a good difference in play. I give them both the time and just come out with more BF4 enjoyment. :/

DrKill09
DrKill09

Soo... I guess they don't want anyone at all to talk about it?


Because really, I hadn't heard of the series til that stupid, overly long, South Park episode.

digitm64
digitm64

COD will never match Game of Thrones. This is just plain insulting.  If George R R Martin read this article he would have a laughing fit.

Evil_Sidekick
Evil_Sidekick

The only way to do that is to make a Call of Duty that doesn't have MP. This is the only way people will actually look at it as more than an e-sport sort of thing.

straightcur
straightcur

so it's going to be CUT SCENES, CUT SCENES, CUT SCENES.....   


No Thanks

Trev9421
Trev9421

I think this is admirable, but I don't think it's possible. GoT has been going on in literary form since the early 90s I believe. It's been about 6 or 7 years since Dance of Dragons. I don't believe COD can do it.

kay2kid
kay2kid

You dare mention this recycled garbage's name and the mighty Game of Thrones in the same sentence?!


May Hodor snap your nick...

de-astroturfer
de-astroturfer

"Activision wants call of duty to be talked about as much as game of thrones" Well COD may as well be a TV program for the amount of pre rendered cut scenes and on rails gameplay it has, it barely resembles a game anyway !

finalkain
finalkain

Gears of War has better Characters. HALO has a better Story. Keep talking out your ass Activi$ion

smokeless_0225
smokeless_0225

Honestly I've never cared for CoD's story much. I've played through every campaign, but CoD has generally just been a fun gathering place for friends online for me. I understand that others feel differently but (given recent statistics from GameInformer magazine regarding % of customers who even start the campaign) I can't help but think that the majority of the fan base for this series couldn't care less about much of a story at all.

Make the MP fun first and foremost. The story probably won't be played by over 70%  of people who purchase this, and most of the remaining 30% probably see it just as "icing on the cake".

I go to other games for a good story...not CoD, lol!

UberMan5000
UberMan5000

Yeah, we'd all like a lot of things, Activision.


I wonder if, at the time, they said they want Guitar Hero to be talked about as much as Lost? Or Tony Hawk's Pro Skater to be talked about as much as MTV? The ebb and flow of gaming fads is not one that's easily swayed, Activision.

nl_skipper
nl_skipper

So uhh... I recall them saying pretty much the exact same stuff about the last couple CoD games (though it wasn't from Sledgehammer).  Then it's released and it's just another over the top action montage where a lot of explosions go off and people die, and you don't really give a crap about any of it because it's all over way too fast and filled with clichés... they're the equivalent of your average summer blockbuster film, which is not a bad thing at all, but don't go on with all this emotional resonance crap when there's never anything to back it up.

Rakou
Rakou

Technically getting people to bash the cod franchise has them "talking about cod".


Just like Black Ops was colloquially named "blops", I'm calling the new cod "coddaw" (extra "d" to add flow)

Sl4cka
Sl4cka

Ahahahhahahhaahaaa.....

grenadehh
grenadehh

Okay see, first of all, Sean Bean.


Second of all, in order for people to talk about CoD like they do Game of Thrones (which will end about a year after its over), people have to give a fuck about the characters and story.


Even now with what has happened this season, even with major plot points being revealed for the non-book readers last episode, no one is talking about the show. The purple and red weddings were the most talked about episodes since Sean Bean. They're talked about because people cared about the Starks, they were good people, and they got absolutely fucked for it - and because they hate or hated certain antagonist characters so much. So it makes for good drama.


Call of Duty could never ever hope to accomplish the same level of character-audience attachment as any TV show or movie or book, even if it was the same characters in every game, because it was never interesting in the first place. There was never any emotion or character development. You just kill dozens upon hundreds of dudes and watch dozens of follow-me's get killed with no consequences for any of the characters.


What, do they think because people talk about House of Cards which has Kevin Spacey in it, that putting Kevin Spacey in CoD will make them talk about it?

SingletreeAve
SingletreeAve

Focus on story?  Maybe Telltale should make the next CoD.  All that shooting is overrated anyway.

grenadehh
grenadehh

Okay see, first of all, Sean Bean.


Second of all, in order for people to talk about CoD like they do Game of Thrones (which will end about a year after its over), people have to give a fuck about the characters and story.


Even now with what has happened this season, even with major plot points being revealed for the non-book readers last episode, no one is talking about the show. The purple and red weddings were the most talked about episodes since Sean Bean. They're talked about because people cared about the Starks, they were good people, and they got absolutely fucked for it - and because they hate or hated certain antagonist characters so much. So it makes for good drama.


Call of Duty could never ever hope to accomplish the same level of character-audience attachment as any TV show or movie or book, even if it was the same characters in every game, because it was never interesting in the first place. There was never any emotion or character development. You just kill dozens upon hundreds of dudes and watch dozens of follow-me's get killed with no consequences for any of the characters.

freedomzealot
freedomzealot

Im sure it will be talked about as much as Game of Thrones, but most of the talk will probably be about how much it sucks.

Omojo
Omojo

"Because we know there's still millions of people who play it and they don't want a completely different game; they want Call of Duty, but better, different, innovative."

Translation: We know a lot of kiddies buy the same thing every year, only this time we're tweaking it a bit. Lol I think they're gonna change this cod a bit and continue to publish the same thing every year this gen. Lets hope I'm wrong.

justinka777
justinka777

@digitm64 someone should warn him, the fit of hysteria induced from this is potentially life threating. I just barely survived myself.