As a franchise, Call of Duty has been losing steam since the release of Modern Warfare 2. Each game seemed to be following a formula, a formula that was quickly becoming stale. Many would argue that the last innovative game to come out of the franchise was Call of Duty 4. I myself haven’t felt the need to buy a Call of Duty game since Black Ops. So when the new trailer for the next installment in the franchise was going to drop on May 4th, there wasn’t nearly as much buzz as there was for previous games in the series.
Then the trailer leaked early, and we all got a look at what Sledgehammer Games has in store for Call of Duty. Upon viewing said trailer, my heart was filled with new hope. It’s always a bold decision to have the first trailer for a game contain mostly gameplay, rather than be pre-rendered or a teaser. But with Advanced Warfare, it was clearly the right call. The game looks absolutely incredible. Powered exo-suits, Mission Impossible-style magnetic gloves, radar grenades, Kevin Spacey, this game looks to have it all. Black Ops 2 took us to the near-future, but it looks like Sledgehammer will be taking the setting two steps further. I know that it’s just a trailer, but even then, the game feels different. Call of Duty has been mired in the past, rehashing the same old formula and putting it out on shelves because Activision knew that it would sell. But Advanced Warfare looks like a breath of fresh air. It doesn’t give off that all too familiar Call of Duty vibe.
Sledgehammer Games is a new arrival on the scene. The studio co-developed Modern Warfare 3 in the wake of the staff exodus from Infinity Ward, and was founded by Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey, the pair responsible for the creation of the Dead Space franchise. It is hoped that a talented studio like Sledgehammer, that hasn’t spend years with the franchise like Infinity Ward and Treyarch have, will be able to revive the franchise to its status as a pioneer in first person shooting.
I have seen a lot of praise for the trailer among the Youtube comments (and it’s always odd to see positivity in Youtube comments). People are saying that they are finally going to get back into COD. But there are also those who are criticizing the trailer, saying that it looks like COD + Titanfall, or that the studio is just trying to be like Halo. I would have to disagree. Anyone who has played Titanfall will tell you that there is a lot more to it that being able to jump far and parkour around a map. And the mechanics in Halo are and probably forever will be fundamentally different from those in Call of Duty. The fact is, if there is any franchise that has shown it can push shooters into the next era, it’s Call of Duty.
I’ll be honest, I always get really excited when I see a good trailer. But I can honestly say that this is the first time I’ve been excited for a Call of Duty game in years. New setting, new story, new studio, and hopefully a new beginning for the franchise. As always, take everything you see with a grain of salt. But all signs point towards Advanced Warfare taking the franchise in a fresh new direction. I’m excited. And you should be too.