What would Call of Duty look like if indies made it?
Independent developers offer up ideas like "Call of Duty: Peacekeeper" or a version of the game that has you playing as a civilian.
The Call of Duty franchise is one of the biggest, most well-known series in all of video games, produced by resource-laden megapublisher Activision. But how would the series take shape if the development reins were handed over to indies?
The Guardian's Keith Stuart wondered just that, and polled a handful of indie developers about what they would do if given the opportunity to craft a new entry in the series. Some of the responses are below, but be sure to read the full Guardian piece for more.
The next Call of Duty game is November's Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, in development at Sledgehammer Games. It promises to shake things up with the new EXO suit, which provides players with various super-abilities.
Dan Pinchbeck, The Chinese Room (Dear Esther):
"I'd do a first person war game from the perspective of a civilian, swept up in events, who doesn't pick up a gun. Protecting your family, avoiding forces on both sides. It'd be an interesting and under-represented perspective on a conflict."
"Call of Duty: Peacekeeper. I'd dump the campaign and focus on creating a much deeper multiplayer, with more opportunities for non-combat play. I'd introduce a third AI team of civilians to muddy the waters and make combat have a more chaotic and stressful feel. I'd also add a fourth class--journalists--who would be playable on your death and who get to document the fights with video, audio and still images…
The 'good guys' would essentially play peacekeepers, and have similar tools like sniffer dogs to find bombs, riot gear, barricades to 'contain' a panicked populace. But I'd be very keen to make sure it all depends on the player's deployment of the tools they're given.
Riffing on that, I'd encourage the "baddy" team to try to disrupt things for the civilians as well as the good guys--bombs, sabotage, etc. The idea being that the bad guys want as much media attention as possible, while the good guys are always trying to bend the rules without being caught on camera so as to cut off the terrorist threat and deny them the attention. This could all make for some amazing emergent gameplay and truly memorable scenarios."
"With the impending First World War Centenary, I'd return the series to the trenches of Northern France in WW1. The game would revolve around life between battles: making a decent cup of tea, using rats for target practice, burning lice out of blankets with candles, reinforcing the trench walls to keep out the mud, playing cards and writing letters home... all under heavy bombardment (lots of camera shake and deafening audio design).
Each level would end with you and your pals climbing the trench ladders to charge at the enemy, then everything would fade to white and the next level would start, only with some of your fellow soldiers gone."
"Call of Duty: War Photographer. Players step into the shoes of veteran conflict documentarian Angela Espinoza, entering hot zones armed only with a mechanical film camera. Adjust the F-stop on the fly and swap lenses with the analog triggers and d-pad. Develop photos after each battle, selling them to player-run galleries and news agencies."
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