Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Might Be Good

Ahhh, don’t hurt me, okay? Hear me out. Up until now the twenty-three-game Call of Duty franchise has been running its yearly main sequels (which make up ‘just’ eleven of those) through a two-year development cycle. Releases have alternated between original developers Infinity Ward, who were basically decapitated after the release of Modern Warfare 2, and Treyarch.

But this year’s offering isn’t from either of those studios, rather relative nu-kidz Sledgehammer Games. They helped finish Modern Warfare 3 while Activision wrestled legally with Infinity Ward. Plus, studio main-men Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey were co-directors of the original Dead Space and have brought some of the staff from Visceral with them. What they’ve shown off so far, in Activision’s usual blitz of trailers, actually has me excited. Come see.

Let’s start at the top: if the very thought “Call of Duty” brings you to fury, I’m not going to be able to convince you. But, if you’ve got this far rather than being reduced to frothing madness by merely the headline, it’s unlikely that’s the case. As a reward, here’s the E3 gameplay demo:

I actually think there’s a bunch of cool stuff in there, though it’s severely lacking in the Spacey department. It’s obviously taking one or two of Titanfall‘s hints that jetpacks and big stompy robots are awesome. The love triangle sitcom-style awkwardness between the two franchises aside, that’s a good thing: Titanfall’s double jumping and wall running was arguably the best part about it. We’ve been criminally lacking in the stompy robot suits department for many moons, so I’ll be happy to see more of them.

Advanced Warfare also departs pretty significantly from the Call of Duty norm. The series’ near-future setting has been mostly near, less future. Sure, the odd civil war or economic collapse we’re still looking forward to has featured, but not laser beams and hovercraft. That’s spoken about a little in Sledgehammer’s latest offering:

The chat Glen’s handing out here about new ways to play and changing the face of Call of Duty may seem like marketing speak (and it is) but if you stop and think about it, he and his PR people probably have a point. The leap to future-tech grenades for seeing through walls and homing onto enemies, exoskeletons for leaping on cars and climbing walls really hasn’t been in CoD before. A lot of that stuff departs pretty far from the pseudo-realisitic mainstay of FPS that many complain about, and enters the territory of the Wolfensteins and Bulletstorms. Less believable, more ridiculous and, ultimately, more enjoyable.

There are hints in there that it gets a bit more extreme too, in this behind-the-scenes story trailer:

Which brings us rather neatly to the Spacey. Basically stealing his character from House of Cards is exactly what I want in my dumb, bombastic shooters. It’s a shame Sledgehammer still seem to want to tug on my heart strings with the death of characters I met not six minutes before, because everything else is pointing towards the sort of ridiculous explosion-fest that I really enjoy.

Oh, there was one other new trailer, but I’ve pulled out the only relevant bit of it.

64 Comments

  1. Evil Pancakes says:

    I read the title and actually laughed. Really laughed. Thank you for the nice start of the day lads.
    Take a real good look at that E3 demo. There is absolutely no reason to expect anything more than the usual CoD, with a new layer of paint. At best, those cool nifty looking gadgets will be some one off item you are allowed to use in the campaign at some point or maybe a killstreak reward, that’s about it.

    • Shadow says:

      Yeah. For me, pretty much every CoD since MW2 has been a 5-hour railroaded bombastic campaign which leaves you hanging at the end for a sequel’s sake. I stopped playing a few instances ago. I could care less about the multiplayer, beyond the fact each incarnation of it is a reskin of the last.

      As a sidenote, the science fiction of Advanced Warfare seems rather conservative for 2054. I know it’s notoriously difficult to predict technological progress, but it’s accelerating, and the gadgets shown are little more than a linear extrapolation. Stuff that could be realized in 20 years, not 40. Reminds me of the Bill Gates quote, “Nobody will ever need more than 64 KB of RAM.” I suppose it’s even harder to estimate a not-so-near future scenario, compared to near future and far future.

      • jonahcutter says:

        Yes, but that’s the science of computer technology. Hard science for safely moving our fragile meatbags around generally lags far behind what science fiction predicts.

        Where are the things commonly predicted for our new millennium by past science fiction? Flying cars? Transporters? Moon cities? Floating/underwater cities? Robotic limbs and suits?

        Sure humans could probably build the computers and write the code for the game’s robot suits right now. Or within a few years. But the real-world engineering and materials to make it safe for a human body to be strapped into such a machine doesn’t exist in any sort of commonplace manner. If at all.

      • DanMan says:

        The Internet Myth Police would like you to know that Bill Gates never actually said that. You may now proceed with the program as usual.

        • Darth Gangrel says:

          The DRAGS (Don’t Ruin A Good Story) department would like you to know that such a good story should be preserved. If Bill Gates didn’t say that phrase, then who did? Someone needs to have said it or that story might risk getting cast into oblivion and that would be a terrible fate. Bill Gates is already known for allegedly having said it, so he’s the optimal candidate to be associated with that quote.

    • Baines says:

      I laughed when Sledgehammer Games involvement with Modern Warfare 3 was treated as a positive, considering Modern Warfare 3 was a broken mess. Yes, some of that blame falls on the skeleton of Infinity Ward, which was allegedly still in charge of the project, but its never really been clear where all the copious amounts of blame really fall. (Other than Infinity Ward quickly throwing Beachhead under a bus to distance itself from that particular mess.)

  2. Ansob says:

    CoD going sci-fi is great, because this hopefully means sci-fi is going to replace modern military stuff as the next 8-10 year AAA obsession, and this is something I am 100% okay with.

    Also, I do agree that some of the PR stuff for Advanced Warfare is sounding pretty good. Now we just need to hope that: a) the port isn’t shitty; b) the multiplayer is any kind of remotely balanced; and c) it has dedicated servers. Oh, and d) they design it in a way that the core gameplay doesn’t immediately break down the moment you give players a mouse a keyboard because those let them sprint and jump! :(

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Not that everyone looks for such things, but those graphics also had a hint of “this is what we thought the PS4/XB1 would be capable of when we started making it” about them, so I am also anticipating a slight downgrade from the quality of the visuals we see here (which are great IMHO). If not, I hope to have my new rig by then so this could be a nice test of its abilities. The admittedly-PS4-exclusive Killzone Shadow Fall single player managed 1080p and to look beautiful, albeit at 30fps as opposed to the aimed-for 60, so we shall see.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        Aye, gone are the days in which this incredible deal about GDDR5 everywhere would mean that the new consoles would be superior to a tri-sli of Titan Blacks on a yet to be released Haswell-E 8 cores liquid-nitrogen-cooled @8 Ghz, only because of data transfer latency.

        The marketing machine is really having a lot of difficulties as time passes to hide the fact that most demos are still running on PC, and that they will never see release at that quality unless people are ok with running the PS4 at 480p.

        All hail the Next Gen, spearheaded by two companies that friendly agreed to both build a low budget toy and still sell it at a premium.

        • joa says:

          A pipeline is only as fast as its slowest component, and in computing that is memory, and has been for some time. It doesn’t matter how fast the processor is; if everything is piling up waiting for memory access then the throughput will be limited to that rate. Consoles allow advances in this area that are not possible in ordinary computers.

          The next-gen consoles strike an excellent balance between performance and cost. To build an equivalent computer would cost more. Also, consoles have exclusive, high quality games. The majority of the highest scoring releases of recent years have been console exclusive.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            In theory you’re right, but how MUCH of an hindrance is what we have now? Sure, sure, we have something piling up, but a crappy CPU/GPU creates even more pile ups.

            If your blanket statement was true in it’s own vacuum then from the previous 10 years until now i would never have noticed improvements upgrading my components.

            You don’t have to believe me, you can check almost linearly increasing PC benchmarks as long as memory bandwidth is decent, meanwhile with the next gen 1080p for ALL titles is still a pipedream, let alone 60 FPS, right when i’m comfortably playing stuff like Assetto Corsa at 4k with a single GPU.

            What about the fact that the new consoles have a weak GPU and CPU, considering that the latter is an already poor chip when it comes to instructions per clock, let alone the fact that it is clocked below 2 ghz and it’s not a “real” 8 cores either? Might that by chance be a FAR bigger issue than a little bottleneck we’re suffering? Might that be that they’re exagerating the relevance of latency efficiency, or rather it’s ability to single-handedly save a weak system?

            If you’re trying to tell me that APUs might be the future due to their more clever and more efficient architecture, i actually might agree with you, but they sure as hell are no contender NOW, not before they’re capable enough to cover the basis that for NOW only discrete components can muster.

            And don’t get fooled, this time around they didn’t spend as much as the previous generation, not even near and it isn’t a secret anyway. The 360 needed some years to be profitable, the new consoles already are. They didn’t go to AMD because they believed in what their APU is capable of doing TODAY, they did because they got offered a price so cheap that they couldn’t say no. The rest is history and the result of their hype machine that is already about to break.

            Oh and about the fact that you can’t make a PC with the same capabilities. Ok. I don’t even want to go and check some prices, i’ll pretend you’re right. You understand that this statement is valid only until next year? Even if it is 2 years, what changes? and what if i detract the budget i need to buy a console and put it into a PC that i realistically still need? It’s even more powerful now, and the next console upgrade won’t happen before 6-10 years, assuming that whole market doesn’t go bust under the heels of mobile gaming/facebook with VR on top/random today’s crap.

            “The majority of the highest scoring releases of recent years have been console exclusive.”

            What the hell are you, someone on a payroll? Your whole last paragraph is incredibly creepy.

            *logs back into Elite:Dangerous* Bye!

  3. CookPassBabtridge says:

    So… we finally get a reboot of… Robocod?

    I’m in.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      Holy crap! One of my childhood’s favourite games! IT HAS A NAME NOW!

  4. Daemoneyes says:

    I dislike the drone grenade.
    Its definitely designed for zero skill players.
    Also its stupid by concept,
    why even throw it in the first place when it has to stabilize midair?
    Would be a lot more efficient if those started them self from backpack/belt because then they would not have to hang midair.
    Rest of the stuff i can dig,
    although its surely a unbalanced/mouse-accelerated/buggy/mess when it comes to pc.

    • Chuckleluck says:

      The way you spaced those lines forces me to read it like poetry.

  5. Halk says:

    Wait a second…..if I heard correctly, he said that when you press the jump button, you jump?

    That IS pretty futuristic.

    • Chuckleluck says:

      Alert Tom Clancy!

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        But Tom Clancy’s dead! He became a ghost shortly before CoD: Ghosts launched. I doubt he’s the Soul Suspect of the Murdered genre called Military FPS that CoD killed.

    • Premium User Badge

      Sleepymatt says:

      One can only assume they watched 2001: A Space Oddysey for some ‘future ideas’ (sic), and misheard the line as “My god, it’s full of stairs!”

  6. Atrocious says:

    I can see this is totally gonna rock!
    Mitchel on rails! Everything will be alright as long as Mitchel pushes buttons when Cap tells him to!

  7. R0ll3rG says:

    Call of Crysis

  8. Smion says:

    Eh, I’m okay if this turns out to be a slightly more linear Crysis 2, or even your regular Call of Duty with a gameplay to cutscene ratio that’s not lower than MGSIV’s.

  9. TT says:

    Some and nice toys, the suits actual look/ work in a believable faction, still when it comes to play its the same corridor shooter with headless targets popping up all over. Anyway the receipt as worked so far, it does not look like they are changing it = pass

  10. The Godzilla Hunter says:

    Huh.

    As someone currently living in Seoul, that first trailer was kinda surreal. I think they modeled a few actual buildings, though the geography is really weird. They definitely copied the basic street signs.

  11. deadfolk says:

    Fool me 23 times, shame on you. Fool me 24 times, shame on me.

    • RLacey says:

      Well, the first 3 or so were quite good. But then they just decided to churn the same game out every year…

      • AedanClarke says:

        Well, I’d say that there’s been more than three good ones (and people liked the third one??). CoD, CoD 2, CoD 4, WaW, and BO2 were all plenty good IMO.

  12. Ross Angus says:

    Do you think it was in Spacey’s contract that we weren’t allowed to see him in one of those mo-cap suits? Because that’s not a good look for anyone.

  13. The First Door says:

    I was thinking that looked really rather cool, then I turned the sound on and was instantly less interested. Having said that, I haven’t bought a COD game for the story… erm… ever, so I’m much more interested in what new fun toys you’ll have in the multilayer.

  14. Howard says:

    “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Might Be Good”
    No. No it wont be. This will just be another tedious, QTE laden, spectacle heavy, barely interactive bag of over emotional shite that everything else in this series has been. I do not care who is developing it, the powers behind the games will never let it stray too far off formula.
    How the hell you see anything good in that trailer is beyond me. Another corridor shooter (that they manage to make corridors in semi-open areas still impresses me) with a few ideas stolen from other games thrown pointlessly in.

    Garbage.

    • joa says:

      That will ship hundreds of million units. Obviously you’re just so much smarter than these people

      • Asdfreak says:

        Sadly, thats probably even true, in a non sarcastic and way too real sense. The RNG and his kin mourn for our poor gamer souls lost to the cod devils.

      • gunny1993 says:

        Or maybe he just thinks that CoD games are garbage that don’t stray from what is a financially successful formula.

      • Philomelle says:

        Of course it will. It’s marketed toward the same people who are willing to spend a hundred dollars on two hours of pointless noise and a bucket of overpriced popcorn.

        I mean, if everything people spent millions of dollars on was good, The Room and Transformers movies would have been fucking masterpieces.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        Justin Bieber had the same effect.

        So it might be that, in fact, smart people are a minority, yes. Now, this CoD looks different, but it’s still material that can’t be touched without a very trusted review.

      • Howard says:

        Never even suggested it wouldn’t be another licence to print money like all its tiresome kin before it, but it does not mean it is anything but another stinking turd.
        Love how angry, self-obsessed people have to have a dig about what you DON’T say on this site now.

  15. Donjo says:

    It looks absolutely terrible. And the sound is awful! Moving to a point further into the future seems like a grasping for anything that could differentiate it from its predecessors, the logical conclusion of this trajectory is to increasingly move away from what makes the franchise so vastly popular – decent reproduction of contemporary war films in game form. COD: Advanced Arsehole is the beginning of the end I tell thee, THE END

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      And we look forward to that apocalyptic event, or don’t we?

    • felisc says:

      I don’t find the sound awful at all. Actually it sounds a bit too good, I’d risk a guess that pretty much all except gun sounds have been added in post. The foley sound too good to be true, but if it’s in engine then well done to them.

  16. Erinduck says:

    Did we watch the same gameplay trailer? That was just CoD with a scifi coat of paint thrown on top. There isn’t anything new or good here.

  17. Neutrino says:

    Facial animation looked distinctly ‘last-gen’. They all looked expressionless and I didn’t see a single character blink once.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      Me: “Hey, how come you never blink?”
      CoD soldier: “My vision is augmented”

  18. Turkey says:

    This is like the long-running horror series that runs out of ideas and the only option left is to go into space.

  19. Zulthar says:

    With everyone going “WOAH CoD is using future tech!” I feel like I’m the only one that actually played Blops 2.

  20. Silencio says:

    So the drop pod thingy survives an incredible fall in one piece only to be kicked open by Mitchell..

    Classic COD fail

  21. Shooop says:

    You must not remember Black Ops 2. Because this is a copy/paste of that game.

  22. Geebs says:

    Halo 2 demo – gameplay + postprocessing = this

  23. Trithne says:

    The way this could be good is if it turns out that, after our near-death experience and de-limbing, we become the Six Million Dollar Man and go on to basically play Wolfenstein.

  24. skyturnedred says:

    What I dislike about most FPS games set in the future, is the lack of lazer beams. This had that, so for the first time in years, I’m at least intrigued by a Call of Duty game.

  25. DrGonzo says:

    NNnnnaaaaaaah.

  26. Distec says:

    Call of Duty has been a complete farce since it left the WW2 setting, and even then I really only cared for the first one.

    Even though sci-fi future wank gets me hard, this is still going to be bombastic shit.

  27. gunny1993 says:

    Looks like CoD has finally caught up with mario and incorporated the double jump.

  28. reggiep says:

    This article was unconvincing. I still have no interest in this game. The big problems with the CoD franchise seem to remain like the near on-rails nature of single player (complete with infinitely spawning enemies… probably) and the lovely multiplayer community. There’s nothing quite like a Call of Duty game to draw in the dregs of society and leave me with a sense of despair for humanity’s future.

  29. AedanClarke says:

    The big problem I have with this story is that it worries me of the direction that RPS has been taking, especially recently. It is not the job of you journalists to hype games up, dammit, so stop trying to convince me that this CoD will be different and possibly good, and just STFU about the game until the review comes out like you’re supposed to do.

    Seriously, between hyping games up and jumping on whatever social justice issue of the month there is, RPS these last, oh, 6 months or so has me really concerned. Get back on track, plox. If we want shit stuff like this, we’ll go to IGN or Kotaku.

  30. Chuckleluck says:

    Ooh, ex-Infinity Ward people go to EA, while ex-Visceral people go to Activision. Drama!

  31. Text_Fish says:

    4 minutes in to the gameplay trailer and yet again I’m a voiceless grunt staring at the back of an NPC’s head whilst they guide me through expensive but entirely non-interactive set-pieces.

    I stopped watching and reading there I’m afraid.

  32. LennyLeonardo says:

    I read “Michel Gondry”. Would buy that game.

  33. HisDivineOrder says:

    One heavily scripted, QTE-laden shooter’s as good as another.

    Except Medal of Honor. /spit

  34. Premium User Badge

    Phasma Felis says:

    I’ve never played Call of Duty, so I’m kind of baffled by the oozing vitriol it provokes. Okay, so it’s a game you don’t like. Don’t play it, then. But it’s a lot of games you don’t like. Don’t play any of them! There are ten gazillion other fun games out there.

    You know what? I like sci-fi FPSes, and I like lasers and exosuits and hoverbikes, and I can’t say that I’m deeply offended by not getting to choose whether I want to pass through point X or point Y on my way from A to B as long as I get to zap bad guys along the way. I think I’ma check this one out.