That’s Entertainment…

By Jim Rossignol on November 9th, 2008 at 3:31 pm.


VG247 posted this video of the first five minutes of Treyarch’s Call of Duty 5, which is out next week. Pat notes that the intro sequences includes actual footage of people being executed. Not game engine killing, or rendered in a cutscene, but the actual death of someone in the war. Of course we see this kind of footage all the time in documentaries about the era, or simulated and mocked up in World War II movies, so I guess it’s nothing to worry about…


, .

58 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. Dan says:

    Someone’s been influenced by The Kingdom. It’s a nifty way of educating though.

  2. Mythrilfan says:

    That looked really well done (not the execution – the video!). Do not forget to watch it in HQ in Youtube though.

  3. Roritharr says:

    That looked really well done (not the video – the execution!).

  4. Smee says:

    Ooh, lovely. I do like that sort of graphic work. Reminds me very much of War Corporatism and Big Brother State.

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=t5GcFl_oQi4

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=jJTLL1UjvfU

    Slightly better than the hard rock trailer that was just released?

  5. A-Scale says:

    The guy actually playing was total shit.

    As far as the brutality goes; that’s what the Japs actually did. I suppose if you want to piss people off enough to want to kill their computerized counterparts, showing the horrid actions they actually performed is a pretty good way to go about it.

  6. Another one says:

    It’s still just another WW2 shooter.

  7. Gundato says:

    Decent game, but it looks like the devs didn’t really agree on what kind of atmosphere they were going for. You have the historical footage (which kind of hurts immersion, but is still nice) to try to portray the horrors of war, then you have borderline “over the top” gore.

    Yeah, war is horrifying, but CoD5 feels a bit more like Soldier of Fortune 2 than Saving Private Ryan in its depiction of the horror.

    I dunno, it just seems like they go from “War is hell” to “Yay, gibs!” on a level by level basis.

  8. fulis says:

    They try to play up the seriousness of war, but then they add zombies to the game

    Way to go

    Also, the intro was really inspired by this:

  9. MeesterCat says:

    WWII, brought to you by ESPN.

    (Up to 2:10 at least).

  10. Dracko says:

    Where was the over the top gore, pray tell?

  11. Dinger says:

    Yay. Well, at least it’s more realistic than CoD4, right Mr. Producer? In CoD5, your soldier can take a dozen bullets, random grenade shrapnel and several timpanum-shredding explosions before croaking.

    Seriously, what’s with the “realism” claims? You’re providing a canned narrative. “Realistic” war sucks for those (seriously, “snuck through the jungle for 12 hours, did not make contact with the enemy” only has a _chance_ at being fun as a Coop game), so the story is as realistic as Rambo. So, if you want “realism”, you can only do it by ditching the canned narrative (those twelve hours only work because of the possibility of turning a corner and finding a huge enemy camp, and, of course, if those twelve hours are actually two). Otherwise, you’ve got a playable comic book, and there’s nothing wrong with that – but who buys comics for their realist vision?

    oh, and yeah, the cool, newsreel/propaganda style introduction suffers from the inclusion of genuine footage. Mass graves and executions? For a game where your purpose is to slaughter thousands?

  12. terry says:

    the first 40 seconds are like a fairlight demo, but i feel a little edgy about the execution thing. i’m not all that sure i’d welcome cel shaded lemonparty or sobbing vietcong execution battler 2000 for that matter.

    on the other hand, the inclusion of the word “treyarch” offends me infinitely more. the scars will never heal :(

  13. Vollgassen says:

    It’s like a big budget WWII exploitation film. Hard to know how to take it.

  14. Aaron says:

    Impressive demo.

    It struck me in a bad way though.

    The portrayal of very realistic and horrific violence “torn from history” as an emotional tie in to the story seems disingenuous when combined with the rambo like action.

  15. Nayon says:

    Was that voiced by Kiefer Sutherland? I mean the Makin Atoll Island briefing?

  16. darthpugwash says:

    The footage is somewhat in bad taste due to the context it’s in IMHO. In a documentary the aim is to educate, whereas games are supposed to be entertainment first and foremost.

    But anyway the game looks decent, but I can’t say I’m terribly interested in it. I’m more interested in hearing about Infinity Ward’s next game to be honest.

  17. Kieron Gillen says:

    Yeah, Kiefer is the narrator.

    KG

  18. Thirith says:

    It’s a shame that they seem to be using cheap shock tactics to make this a hard-hitting, gritty game. Call of Duty 4 was much cleverer in this respect, I think; it subverted the “you’re a hero doing heroic things” storyline quite effectively from the go, where your first engagement with the enemy has you shooting sleeping men in their bunks, and scenes such as the president’s execution or the post-nuke sequence where you’re shown just how little control you have over the situation. Sure, CoD4 was a big-budget on-rails shooter, but it did a couple of fairly subversive things in how it positioned the player. CoD5 seems to be going for nothing other than “They’re evil, you’re good – kill the fuckers!”

  19. Nimdok says:

    It’s a game. They’re hoping for shock value and publicity from enraged Japanese-American groups. The actual Japanese have a great sense of humor about the whole thing and a rather good concept of “it happened it the past, so why dwell on it now?”

    As it stands, I’m a little annoyed that they’ve jumped back to WWII after CoD4. I LIKED finally getting to play a shooter that didn’t involve bolt-action rifles and Thompsons. I LIKED the near-future setting, the fictional storyline. I’m starting to HATE semi-historical games that try to milk a gods-damned war for all it’s worth.

  20. qrter says:

    The footage is somewhat in bad taste due to the context it’s in IMHO. In a documentary the aim is to educate, whereas games are supposed to be entertainment first and foremost.

    I think you hit the nail on the head – there’s a huge difference, contextually.

    It’s a bit like saying “look how horrible all of this was (in a showy, flashy way).. now let’s have some fun with it!”.

  21. Funky Badger says:

    Thirith: the Death from Above level in CoD4 as well. Unsettling.

  22. A-Scale says:

    It’s a game. They’re hoping for shock value and publicity from enraged Japanese-American groups. The actual Japanese have a great sense of humor about the whole thing and a rather good concept of “it happened it the past, so why dwell on it now?”

    Har har we massacred millions!

    I’m certain it’s a lot easier for the Japanese to be light hearted about their genocide than it is for their victims. From what I’ve seen/heard the Japanese are actually quite coy about their guilt in the war, and while at pearl harbor I overheard a Japanese tourist say to his child “WE lost people here too, you know!”. Seems like a convenient way to forget their crimes.

  23. Thirith says:

    Funky Badger: Absolutely. I’m surprised how few people mention just how subversive some of CoD4 is.

  24. Sum0 says:

    I completely agree with Thirith and Funky Badger – that was one of the things I liked most about CoD4, the intelligent way it made a subtle comment without going too far over the top. It was almost – dare I say it? – approaching art. I was blown away (pun intended) by the Death from Above level when I realised “Hang on, is this level making a comment on how war is like a video game these days?”

  25. Tom says:

    This is another series that really need to be put to sleep imo.
    Got old a long time a go. Can’t stand how on-the-rails CoD’s are. Even Half Life’s complete linearity feels more open to exploration than a CoD game. Still, different strokes for different folks I guess. CoD4 was insanely popular. Can’t see why myself.

  26. Heliocentric says:

    If you are going to make a derivitive cash in game on the hope people think its a real sequel the least you can do is choose an original setting.

    Japan is better than the hedge rows of germany though.

  27. The_B says:

    Yeah, Kiefer is the narrator.

    KG

    Holy shit. I now cannot wait for the inevitable nuclear bomb Hiroshima level. NARRATED BY JACK FUCKING BAUER!

  28. Thirith says:

    Tom: The games’ linearity allows them to do things that a non-linear shooter (say, STALKER) can’t do, and vice versa. The two are distinctly different experiences.

  29. Kieron Gillen says:

    To be fair, the bits of CoD5 I have played – which isn’t much at all – does involve you executing men who’ve surrendered in the Russian missions.

    KG

  30. Thirith says:

    Hmm. It’ll be interesting to see whether they do anything interesting and worthwhile with the moral ambiguity. The first five minutes shown in the video suggest that they may not have the deft touch needed to handle such tricky material.

    Also, it’s easy enough to show that the Russians aren’t the shiny heroes. Making the Americans and Brits look decidedly less heroic? That’s an entirely different thing.

  31. Kieron Gillen says:

    If you’re dealing with Berlin specifically, it’s really hard to not show the Russians as open bastards.

    KG

  32. qrter says:

    Tom: The games’ linearity allows them to do things that a non-linear shooter (say, STALKER) can’t do, and vice versa. The two are distinctly different experiences.

    Yeah, I think Thirith is right – ‘sandbox’ and ‘linear’ seem to be buzzwords these days, as if all games should have such an experience, instead of looking what the designer wants to achieve.

    Duncan Fyfe wrote an interesting piece about this on his Hit Self-Destruct blog: Decide Now

  33. sdff says:

    this is an outrage, they shouldnt show executions they should at least replace the blood with fluffy rainbows, and pixies… after all its not as if the game is rated 3+

  34. Dracko says:

    I’m with Kieron on this one: The Russian invasion of Berlin was pretty damn fucking bleak on all fronts.

    Though I somehow doubt this game will feature rape of German citizens in the Berlin underground or the like.

  35. Funky Badger says:

    KG: you’re not really selling this to me… ;-)

  36. caramelcarrot says:

    They really need to drop that graphical style, it’s getting bloody overplayed

  37. Calabi says:

    When are developers going to stick to making a game instead of some cinematic movie bollocks.

  38. Mil says:

    Having footage of real human beings losing their lives might seem pretty bad taste…

    … but at least it’s nothing as morally reprehensible as The Witcher’s sex cards.

    (Sorry, I just couldn’t resist).

  39. changeling says:

    Actually, that execution footage is from WWI. Don’t hate me for my knowledge – did it last week in school.

    Don’t hate me for my age, either

  40. changeling says:

    oh tits. My bad, no it isn’t. I’m awfully sorry old beans

  41. Erlam says:

    “Mass graves and executions? For a game where your purpose is to slaughter thousands?”

    Not to mention, do they show the internment camps in the US? Or how about what happened to Japanese P.O.W.’s?

    Sorry, but don’t even try to push this propaganda on me.

  42. araczynski says:

    THE best Call of Duty i’ve ever played, and THE best ww2 shooter i’ve ever played.

  43. Alctel says:

    I got an extremely strong anti-war vibe from CoD4, which was one of the reasons I liked it so much, not to mention the less than favoritable light it showed the Western forces in which is extremely unusual nowadays.

  44. Dusk says:

    I played through this game on co-op on the 360 on Saturday, at the COD:WaW Launch Party in Melbourne, Aus. The game was fine, the best WWII game I have played, although I preferred the action of COD4 more. Also the graphics of split screen Xbox 360 suck when compared to the graphics that single player PC has.
    This game makes you feel dirty. You use flamethrowers to burn the flesh off the Japanese in their bunkers, and as a Russian invading berlin you watch as your allies break into a room full of surrendering German soldiers, and execute them.
    The real war footage adds to this “War is horrbile, now we want you to feel bad while you play” feeling that the game gives you.
    Without spoiling it, at one point your actions will determine whether Kiefer Sutherland lives or dies, and in the aftermath the vibe that the game gives off is incredibly anti-war, but regardless soldiers have no choice in the matter and so push onwards.

    Also included is real war news footage of the Hiroshima bombing, but there are no levels set in japan.

  45. Thirith says:

    Dusk: Thanks for that update. I’m sure there’ll be players thinking “Huh-huh, cool… Executing German soldiers! Huh-huh…,” but it’s interesting that the game obviously allows for a more ambivalent reaction.

    I find this a very interesting topic: ethics and video games. It’s a shame that most of the discussions about it boil down to “Killing people in games is evil! Gamers are evil!” or “It’s just a game and I can tell the difference between games and reality, so nyah nyah!” As far as I’m concerned, while fiction is clearly fiction it’s still not that easy – just as you can get genuinely angry at fictional characters (Nurse Ratched, I’m looking at you!) or cry about the death of a fictional character, there’s definitely the potential there to make players think about their actions. Think Shadow of the Colossus, for instance. It’s tricky to do it well, though; games are primarily supposed to be fun, so inserting some “War is hell” message can easily become hypocritical.

  46. megaman says:

    Funny that I just played and finished CoD4 yesterday. Didn’t really think this would be interesting, and I ended loving it. I don’t want to go back to WW II though. Are there any MODs/Expansions for COD4?

  47. Jim Rossignol says:

    Didn’t really think this would be interesting, and I ended loving it.

    That was exactly my experience with COD4, and I think the experience of 90% of people who played it. It was far better than it had any right to be.

  48. Thirith says:

    Far better, far more interesting and far more intelligent, I’d even say.

  49. Bobsy says:

    To be honest, I’m all for highlighting the ugly, nasty side of war. I’m just not up for more World War Twoing. I was done with that at the end of CoD1.

    Actually, that’s a lie. I’m done with soldiering in WW2. Give me a video-game equal to Downfall, or a decent French Resistance game instead.

  50. Bozzley says:

    Bobsy – try Medal of Honour Underground for the PS1 (although it’s not very good).