Three Big Questions Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Needs to Answer

Answer me these riddles three.

By this point, you've probably seen the announcement trailer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. If you haven't, allow me to paint a picture: Kevin Spacey is a futuristic business tycoon who enjoys launching into extended soliloquies about the viability of imposed democracy, and interspersed between his political musings are a number of scenes involving explosions, gunfire, and one very unfortunate Golden Gate Bridge.

I'll admit it's a pretty exciting trailer as far as pure spectacle goes. But the more I watch it, the more questions I have about Advanced Warfare. It's not exactly a teaser trailer, but as a longtime Call of Duty player, I can't help but look at this footage within the context of the overall series. Here's what I've been asking myself for the past few days...

How often can we use that cool tech?

The Advanced Warfare trailer is absolutely packed with sci-fi gadgetry. Throughout these brief snippets of gameplay you see characters using invisibility cloaks, wall-climbing gloves, hoverbikes, and exo suits that provide some truly impressive leaping abilities. And that's just the stuff that I actually understand. (Were those...infrared grenades?)

There's a lot of stuff there--a collection of tech that looks poised to add some much-needed diversity to the series' trademark run-and-gun gameplay. But will those gadgets be a consistent part of your arsenal, or specific moments in a campaign that maintains strict control over when and where you're allowed to use them?

See, Call of Duty has this little habit of giving you access to fun toys, but only for a few fleeting moments. Remember the wing suit in Black Ops II? That was pretty fun! For the one level you had access to it. Even the canine companion in Ghosts made for an interesting change of pace up until the point the game forgot he existed.

Sure, that roller coaster of unpredictability has always been a hallmark of Call of Duty campaigns. But there are ways to maintain the excitement of a blockbuster action movie while giving players access to a broader selection of tools and weapons. I'd love to see all that tech from the trailer generously interspersed throughout the campaign, resulting in myriad options for how to approach each battle instead of using wall-climbing gloves because you happen to be in the wall-climbing glove level.

Considering how well established the Call of Duty formula is, that might be asking for a lot. This has never been a weapon wheel kind of shooter, one of those games where you can carry a small military's worth of supplies at any given moment. But if the 11th game in a series isn't the right time for reinvention, I don't know what is.

Will Kevin Spacey be a memorable villain?

One thing the Call of Duty franchise has always lacked is a memorable villain. Sure, the Modern Warfare games had Makarov, and he was a pretty awful guy. But I can't for the life of me recall a single character detail about him. I think he was in Spetsnaz? Then again, he was a Russian video game character and every Russian video game character was in Spetsnaz at one point or another. How do you think Zangief learned all those sick moves?

Then there was Black Ops II, which was probably the clearest example of a Call of Duty game trying to establish a villain's motivations. Treyarch did a commendable job explaining why Raul Menendez turned into such a villainous creature, but once he crossed that threshold, there wasn't much to him as a character as the story progressed. Like Makarov, Menendez was perfectly functional as a catalyst for the overall plot and a means to explain why you're being thrown into one crazy situation after the next. But how often have you thought about these characters once you finished those campaigns?

That's precisely why I'm so intrigued by the appearance of Kevin Spacey. Anyone who has seen Spacey's recent work on House of Cards knows that he's got a knack for playing the scheming, power-hungry tyrant. But more importantly, Spacey is an actor who can chew up the scenery and leave a lasting impression in the viewers' minds.

Will that translate into a video game where (A) Spacey's likeness has been filtered through the nascent art of computerized performance capture, and (B) the vast majority of screen time will be spent not on him, but on the player dispensing enough bullet shells to fill the entirety of the Grand Canyon?

I just hope there's a scene of him eating ribs.

What will Sledgehammer's contribution to the series be?

Remember when Treyarch was considered the Call of Duty B team? The studio that Activision had filling those off years when Infinity Ward was busy working on its next entry in the series? Well, a lot has changed since Call of Duty 3.

Treyarch has now established itself as a studio capable of making some truly great shooters, serving as the experimental yin to Infinity Ward's more predictable yang. While Infinity Ward was wrapping up the Modern Warfare trilogy, Treyarch was throwing all kinds of crazy new ingredients into the pot.

Black Ops introduced the COD points system that reshuffled the way new equipment was unlocked in multiplayer, and its sequel brought in those strike force missions that almost felt like a tactical strategy game. Oh, and let's not forget the plot that spanned four decades while simultaneously introducing branching story decisions. You can certainly argue how well those additions worked out, but it's hard to make the case that Treyarch hasn't been willing to mix things up.

Now we have Sledgehammer Games, the third major studio in Activision's stable of Call of Duty teams. How will Sledgehammer shape its own identity apart from Treyarch and Infinity Ward? Will there ever be a point when we play a Call of Duty game and think, that's so Sledgehammer? In other words, can it pull a Treyarch?

Maybe that will happen right out of the gate with Advanced Warfare, but more likely than not it will take a couple of games before Sledgehammer carves out its own niche within this trio of teams. Maybe it will be the studio that broadens the series' rigid shooter formula with all those gadgets, or perhaps it will be the studio that focuses on characters and narrative, beginning with the performance of Kevin Spacey in Advanced Warfare.

Yes, those are pretty huge maybes. But hopefully we'll get some answers to these questions when the Electronic Entertainment Expo rolls around next month. Until then, we'll have to wait and see.

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Discussion

362 comments
taylortgal
taylortgal

i know a lot of people have lost faith. but i just want back the good old days with mw2. i hope alot that this cod will bring back something:-. im more of a multiplayer guy, but if it was a campaign it would be half life all the way!!!

ima_troller___
ima_troller___

look i just want to have fun playing this game. if its fun i can overlook some flaws. Ghosts was just plain out boring. tbh i loved black ops 2. yes it had some really bullcrap moments but it was fun. it gave me a rush. It had my heart pounding when i got my first nuclear. i dont get no where the same excitement when playing ghosts. i do like that they are giving us something a little different though.

Martyr77
Martyr77

1. Why are they still making COD games?

2. Why do they try to rip us off with DLC?

3. Why can't Activision and EA go bankrupt?

omar_q
omar_q

When will they learn and drop the god damn campaign mode? I played Cod 4, CoD 6 and Black Ops and I can't recall for shit what they campaign was about. No one plays CoD for the campaign. 

If anyone does, I feel sorry them.

ghost59
ghost59

will the story actually be a story ?

McDog3
McDog3

I've only got one question:


Why?

MatthewSnyder86
MatthewSnyder86

This game looks amazing! Future tech suits, and you get to upgrade it, sorry that was never in any call of duty already different.

Rakou
Rakou

Here's my 3 questions:


1.) Will this cod even resemble innovation?

2.) Which gaming-related news companies are not being paid off?

3.) Will this be another SSDD? (same shit different day)

hella_epic
hella_epic

Call of Duty has always been laden with fancy gimmicks and gadgets. Black Ops 2 and Ghosts also showcases advanced warfare equipment. My question isn't related to single player, rather germains towards multiplayer, will all these gadgets, if integrated into the online play create a balance? CoD games are ruined with over-powered kill streaks, guns that are not balanced properly (Come on! The SMG's in CoD online are ridiculous), Maps that have horrible design. Fundamental things that have not improved since MW2. You can put Kevin Spacey in but that won't change these errors.

grenadehh
grenadehh

You want to use the wall climbing gloves outside of the wall climbing glove segment:? What do you think this is, Shaun, a game? It's a movie. Also, you know Sledghammer played more than a minor role in making MW3 and Ghosts both. It's not exactly their first time - so far they haven't distinguished themselves at all and make a generic CoD like the rest of the studios.

chechak7
chechak7

the biggest Question WILL KIDs BUY SAME GAME OVER YEARS or stop ?

Sushiglutton
Sushiglutton

Damn I wanna see Kevin Spaceys performance, but it's not worth $60, so I guess I will pass. Hurts a bit though :(.

leandrro
leandrro

the only question: is it a real new engine? or you guys are deliberately lying again like last year?

same engine = cod 4 modern warfare with PC max settings

new engine = fuck battlefield, im back on cod

TheExxorcist
TheExxorcist

The only thing that looks improved in this game are graphics, if it plays like the rest of them... it's a dud for me

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

Those are some pretty good points to consider. I usually try to avoid being cynical, but after ten games and not much change, I think we've all earned the right to be. I really can't imagine Advanced Warfare really stirring things up.

Jawehawk-DK
Jawehawk-DK

My biggest question is why do people continue to buy this shit? You'd get more value out of setting your money on fire.

ccusick
ccusick

I liked this article.   Many articles seem just written to get a reaction, or start a platform war in the comments.  This article was thoughtful. 


I think I can answer the gadget question.  MW1, 2, and 3 etc. would let you repel at the repel point.  "Hook in!"

Those mechanics have been used to move to the next checkpoint, or move in a way that did not involve running/walking.   For example, in Black Ops, once you got in the helicopter, you could not choose to get out until the sequence was over.  I'm guessing that wall climbing is just the repelling, but you get to go up instead of down, and then there's a cut scene, and the mechanic is discarded for the gameplay portion....   I know I'm guessing, but I would be really surprised if it turned out differently.   


In sandbox games, you can go back to that car, jeep, tank, if you want.  In COD, once that tank/helo/driving sequence is over, you cannot go back for another ride.

FELOFLOW
FELOFLOW

Will be a shit like ghost, will run like shit in pc, the graphics will be same shit, will not have ping and will lagg like ghost, the only CODs that i really love was MW2 and BO2 all the rest is shity games.

And the most shity was GHOST.

CraZkid37
CraZkid37

Well to me it's not the campaign I'm worried about. It's not the campaign that needs the changes nearly as much as the multiplayer gameplay and its overall structure.

drakoulis7
drakoulis7

Q:If all companies in the world were like Activision would there be any rubbish coming from them?

A:Of course not because Activision recycles all of its rubbish over and over again!

MassDeparture1
MassDeparture1

The three big questions really are : 


1. Why are you still making COD ?
2. When are you going to stop making these games ?

3. Why dont you people try a new franchise other than this to disguise your trash ?

WolfgarTheQuiet
WolfgarTheQuiet

@taylortgal  Will never even come close to Half Life. Half Life was a true PC only shooter in its purest form in all aspects, comparing CoD to Half Life is a disgrace.

WolfgarTheQuiet
WolfgarTheQuiet

@ima_troller___  Running around killing and getting killed every few seconds became old for me long time ago. But each to his own i guess.

ima_troller___
ima_troller___

@Martyr77 (answers)

1. Because millions of people buy there games.

2. Because millions of people buy their dlc.

3.Because millions of people buy there product.

Martyr77
Martyr77

@omar_q That's funny, I feel sorry for those people who play games for multiplayer. What is the point? There is no story. No beginning to end. There is no real change throughout. The worst? In ten years no one will care about the multiplayer.

dazevanz
dazevanz

@FELOFLOW  The worst thing i have tried to read today was your pathetic attempt at english

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

@MassDeparture1  And all three questions have the same answer; because people are still buying Call of Duty, whether you like it or not.

Romayo83
Romayo83

@MassDeparture1 because it makes buttloads of money and people keep buying those games year after year unfortunately.

spartanx169x
spartanx169x

@MassDeparture1 Why can't you accept the fact that some people are just fans of the series like many other series out there. Much like Fans of Mass Effect, Halo, Killzone, Resistance, GOW. Battlefield. Borderlands. etc....

omar_q
omar_q

@Martyr77 @omar_q  So you actually play CoD for the campaign? You actually enjoy linear shooters with over dramatic cutscenes and shitty unmemorable stories? Man I pity you.

And are you kidding me? No one will care about multiplayer? Son you need to wake the fuck up, the biggest franchises in gaming are multiplayer; CoD, LoL, WoW, Dota, TF2 to name a few.

Rakou
Rakou

 @FELOFLOW  

Well, you bash someone for their English skills, yet you failed at the basic use of capital letters and forgot to use a full stop.

Don't hate on someone when you're making the same mistakes.

grenadehh
grenadehh

@GinsuVictim @FELOFLOW  Most people who play Ghosts say otherwise. He's wrong regardless. The only good games in the franchise were CoD 1, CoD 2, and CoD 4 and including CoD 4 in that list is an extreme stretch.

MassDeparture1
MassDeparture1

Out of that list you mentioned halo is the only game of quality. down to its multiplayer and of course campaign. So don't even start with me. cod isn't a even a good game to compare to today's standards. rock star is the only company that puts a good effort in the production of their games. if you enjoy playing the same bull because you're a kid and cannot comprehend what a quality game is because the script has to much big words for you to understand and you need a dictionary nearby to help you. I suggest you stay in school and finish your education instead of XxX420mlgnoscopebullshit you enjoy ....wasting away your life

Darion350
Darion350

@omar_q  You two idiots really need to get over yourselves.  Get off your high horses and play the game however you want like everyone else.

ima_troller___
ima_troller___

@omar_q but then you also have games like: assassins creed and fallout and skyrim. all of which i enjoy

bluesunmerc
bluesunmerc

@drakoulis7 @grenadehh  They did change the gamplay from 1 to 2 to 3. Obviously this was to run in line with more recent 3 rd person shooters or action games. I loved each mass effect and did not hate any of them. Even with the awful and I mean awful cover system in 1 I still played the living hell out of it. Mass effect wasnt about the gamplay it was the story.


As for people hating the ending of mass effect 3. It should have went in depth a bit more, but for me it wasn't the last ten minutes of the game it was the ride to get there. By the time you've beat ME3 you should know or at the very least expect it to not end up with you and garrus sitting on a beach drinking alcohol and living off the royalties of the vids.

drakoulis7
drakoulis7

@grenadehh No dude I did not play Mass Efffect 2 and 3......I only nailed the shit out of them.To me they were just different than the first but not worse by any means.I did not get why so many fellow gamers were whinning about the original ending of Mass Effect 3.This should be the reason why its average user rating (that is usually more reliable to me than gamespot's reviews) rating was 8.4 (I have seen user reviews of 4 or even lower just because of the ending)  which is not bad at all either.Apart from that though what was wrong with Mass Effect 2? 

       Is it a given that if I have played the Mass Effect series I should dislike Mass Effect 2 and 3 because you think that "They fundamentally changed the style of the game for the worse." and end up disliking the whole series (or else I have not played Mass Effect 2 and 3) maybe? If you think that is the way it works maybe I should be the one rolling!

drakoulis7
drakoulis7

@djfuzzy Exactly man! I finished watching Lost (2004 series) just yesterday and everyone was complaining about the ending....well I liked the whole series including the ending (exactly the same happened with Mass Effect).It is obvious that these things are all about taste.If you need a subject that has everything to do with education you should talk about racism or other social problems.

  I personally love Game of Thrones and I am a metalhead!

djfuzzy
djfuzzy

@drakoulis7 It's all common sense man, live and let live. Games or otherwise. 

I'm an RnB junkie whos closest friend is a metalhead, I hate Game of Thones as the rest of the world adores it. Once again it's got nothing to do with education and the way I see it if it's bought into a discussion about personal taste then who's the real idiot right?

drakoulis7
drakoulis7

@djfuzzy  Wow brother my last comment couldn't agree more with yours and I had not evens seen yours because I was reading comments and it had not appeared on the page until I finished writing mine.

 I am really glad that we both thought the same way about that!

drakoulis7
drakoulis7

@MassDeparture1 Yeah, because Mass Effect is not a game of quality.What the fuck dude Mass Effect is one of the best series I have ever played and I am sure that many other gamers think of it that way but it does not matter if you do not like it (because this has to do with your own personal predferences which I respect) and that does not mean that it is not a quality game.

    I also cannot understand why users in most online communities think that the word "kid" is one of the most offensive characterizations there is especially if you say that to someone who just supported his opinion with a good argument like spartanx169x did.What I want to say is that you used the word kid just to make him look bad because you have no argument against his own and this does not make HIM look stupid it just makes YOU look stupid.

    So in case you have finished school then you might have to consider attending classes again because you missed the basic!

djfuzzy
djfuzzy

@MassDeparture1 Someone's being a bit of a bitch. I love the fact you've somehow found a correlation between CoD players and education levels when there's absolutely nothing relatable about the two. For fucks sake the same could, and has, been said of your beloved Halo and its community.


Each to their own, that's the basic premise behind preferences. Your post reeks of immaturity I failed to see in anything that spartanx has posted. If I was going to take a guess at who's uneducated the finger would be pointed right at you.