After the less-than-glowing sales and scores for the most recent Call of Duty game, Infinite Warfare, and the massive commercial and critical success of Battlefield 1 being set in WW1, CoD publishers Activision have taken heed and decided to revamp the franchise by returning to World War Two.
Fans are in two minds about this. Some are happy for a change of scenery, having gotten stale of the incremental changes to each entry before it became full-on sci-fi, and others are annoyed it’s going back to WW2, as the time period is probably the most overused setting in all of video games.
For myself, I always liked my shooters a bit more fantastical (Timesplitters is the order of the day) but with “military” and “shooter” being synonymous last generation, I did eventually get round to playing several Call of Duty titles, many of which I enjoyed. Even last summer I bought Modern Warfare 3 so that I could properly finish the franchise. So, since Call of Duty is returning to World War Two, I thought I would put forward a couple of ideas of what I would like to see in a new Call of Duty game.
- Varied Locations
The leaked box art for the new game says, “Land in Normandy on D-Day and battle across Europe through iconic locations is history’s most monumental war.” In my opinion this is bad decision. When you play any Call of Duty game, heck any game set in World War Two, most of the missions are set in the same locations. We’ve all stormed the Normandy beaches, broken the siege of Stalingrad and raced to the top of the Reichstag. We’ve seen all of these moments, so give us something new.
World War Two was…well, a world war, so involve the rest of the world, not just Europe. North Africa would give some variety, with huge desert battles rather than another bombed-out city. Burma and Singapore would be interesting, as the Allies were on the retreating side, with the Japanese successfully occupying the countries. Southern Europe is untapped as well, with battles in Greece and Italy having very different visuals to France and Germany.
- Different Gameplay
To add onto the locations, not every battle was two large armies with guns. The North Africa campaign was mostly tank battles, Italy was taken by paratroopers and the Arctic was used by both sides as radio stations and ports. This is not to mention the different resistance fighters throughout the world, in places like Morocco or Czechoslovakia. Think of a mission in Casablanca or Prague, with saboteurs trying to disrupt the Axis powers in the region; it would require stealth rather than bombastic set-pieces. CoD has a history with great stealth missions (All Ghillied Up, which is set in Pritpyat is considered the best mission of the entire series), and something in a similar vein would be quite fun.
And since men were under suspicion of being enemy spies, a lot of undercover agents were women. That would be an interesting addition to gameplay, especially given the sometimes, ahem, “problematic” ways women are depicted in games. In conjunction with the different gameplay please bring back…
- Squad combat
More of the leaked information highlights a co-op mode, so squad combat could be seeing a return. Originally Call of Duty worked because unlike the early Medal Of Honor games, you weren’t a one-man army. You were part of a team of soldiers that you got to know. In the more recent games it became you, and only you, to be the one to stop the bad guys. I think returning to this format would be quite fun and have a Band Of Brothers feeling to it. CoD doesn’t need Rainbow Six-style squad management, but having other people around would be refreshing.
Different squad roles would also help spice up gameplay as well. I honestly enjoyed 2010’s Medal Of Honor reboot, and one of the things that was really refreshing was how you weren’t always the front-man. It would take a concept like storming an encampment, but instead of leading the charge, you were on a ridge providing covering fire to keep the enemies at bay. That mission stands out more than any recent CoD mission I’ve played, just for having a different role for the player.
- An Actual Story Mode
The leaked information says that the co-op is a standalone feature, so my hopes of a co-op story are already dashed, but I’m fine with a single player story if it’s actually good.
World War Two will keep the story fairly sane (no space nukes or battles on Wall Street in this one), due to historical accuracy. I just hope for a less overly “cinematic” version. Every CoD has taken several inspirations from film, with everything from Saving Private Ryan to The Rock being used in the story. A more sombre and reverent take on WW2 might be something to look to, rather than applauding us for the seventh headshot we get.
CoD also has a habit of having a “shocking” moment in its games, whether it be dying in a nuclear explosion or seeing an airport massacre through the eyes of an undercover terrorist. A mission in WW2 might be to have the player liberate a concentration camp. Controversy will obviously arise, but on the other hand, they’ve been featured in movies and television over and over again, why not video games? Having the player walk through a camp would be a memorable and emotional moment that wouldn’t have been done before; seeing the horror of World War Two through your character’s eyes. Just a thought.
So those are my ideas for CoD WWII. We’ll see tomorrow whether anything I’ve thought of turns up in the official announcement. If you have any ideas yourself, put them in the comments.
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