(To watch the trailer, click here).
Ah, we all saw it coming, to be honest. Yesterday, the trailer for the next instalment in the ‘Call of Duty’ franchise, ‘Modern Warfare 4’, dropped on YouTube and – wait, it isn’t Modern Warfare 4? Umm, well… this is awkward. Anyway, Sledgehammer Games and Activision finally managed to surprise gamers worldwide by actually showing off a trailer to a game that no one expected or saw coming, ‘Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’… and here I am to break it down and analyse it for you (you’re welcome in advance). The trailer kicked off with a slow-motion back shot of a man in a very technological and futuristic-looking suit, known as an exoskeleton. If you’ve seen the film, ‘Elysium’ with Matt Damon, you already know how these suits work. The user (in this case, a soldier or a mercenary) puts it on and instantly becomes a kind of superhuman. The suits allow the wearers to bust open a set of heavy, metal double doors and land from relatively high altitudes without shattering their ankles, amongst other things. And Sledgehammer weren’t tight with the exoskeletons by any stretch of the imagination. The trailer alone showcases at least five different varieties of exoskeletons, including an all-body one; a giant, heavy, mech-suit one; and two of the same variety, except for different sights fitted to the head section of the suits.
The awesome-looking trailer also featured the introduction of a brand-new Call of Duty character. Meet Kevin Spacey – I mean, Jonathan Irons. That’s right; Sledgehammer bagged the ‘House of Cards’ actor to voice Irons. Irons is the founder and leader of a PMC (Private Military Corporation) known as ‘ATLAS’. PMCs have evidently become more powerful between now and the time of Advanced Warfare, giving Irons the power to take on the American government, accusing them of consistently failing to build democracies in countries around the world for the last 100 years. In addition to this, he also has the wealth and (again) power to interfere with global affairs, changing the art and rules of war in the process. How did he get all of this wealth and power, I hear you ask? Well, if you look closely during the trailer, you can see numerous Atlas logos on exoskeleton suits, uniforms, and maps, making it quite clear that Atlas is a huge supplier of arms to mercenaries and, presumably, the American armed forces. Whilst it is not entirely clear to us whether or not Spacey’s character is a villain yet, it is clear that you would not want to cross him, especially if he’s your main or only weapons supplier. This gives him a lot of freedom when it comes to his actions, as the American government would not want to fight him because it would mean that they would inevitably lose access to a large amount of advanced weaponry that other people had, making America a realistic target all of a sudden.
Irons, as I said earlier, takes on the US government and accuses them of marching “into these countries based on some fundamentalist, religious principles; drop a few bombs; topple a dictator, and start a democracy?!” From this extract of his trailer-long speech, it is clear that he is very passionate about his views. Moving on from Irons, we can look at the new technology we can see in the reveal trailer. One example of this is the new drones, which are clearly built into countries’ very society and way of life. This is made obvious in a scene taken from a mission based in Nigeria’s capital city, Lagos, in which a road sign above a busy main road can be seen, saying, “Speed Limit Enforced By Drone Aircraft”. This reveals to us that Irons is not just selling his weapons to armies and mercenaries, but also to governments; assuming that, like with most of the technology shown in the trailer, Irons is behind the drones.
Although it is great to have a Hollywood star onboard, this is not the first time Activision have employed renowned actors. You only have to look as far back as Treyarch’s ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops’ to see a cast list that consisted of Gary Oldman (Reznov), Sam Worthington (Mason), Ed Harris (Hudson), and Ice Cube (Bowman). Infinity Ward had recruited British actor (best known previously for his role in British TV cop drama, ‘The Bill’), Billy Murray, as Captain Price in 2007’s ‘Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare’. However, Spacey’s character has the most resemblance to the actor who plays him. In fact, with such detailed facial expressions and lip synching, it is very possible motion capture was used to truly bring his performance into the game. After all, most games use it now anyway. This, as well as a lot of other items that were covered in this article, will hopefully be confirmed for us by Activision and Sledgehammer Games very soon.
In the world reveal trailer Advanced Warfare, we can also spot other examples of futuristic equipment, including: a special, infrared grenade that highlights enemies behind cover; a cloaking device for both vehicles and ground troops; new sights, such as a new dual sight; holograms; a light grid, supposedly used to scan areas of terrain for mines, bombs, and booby traps; deployable and stretchable bulletproof barriers; spider-tanks; what appears to be some type of pulse cannon; and, most interestingly, gloves that allow the wearer to scale walls quickly. The latter of these instantly reminds me of the gloves that enabled whoever was wearing them to climb sheer cliff faces that made a short cameo at the start of ‘Black Ops 2’ mission, ‘Pyrrhic Victory’. Also reminiscent of Treyarch’s Black Ops 2 are the drones, which look pretty much identical to their Advanced Warfare counterparts.
Even more exciting than the technology itself is the possibilities that the player can now explore with it, especially in multiplayer. In place of the ‘Juggernaut’ killstreak reward, could we see an ‘Exoskeleton Mechsuit’ one? Will the drones make a return to the multiplayer arena? What about the cloaking systems, or the other variants of the exoskeleton, or the wall-climbing gloves? And let’s not forget about the hoverbikes, light grids, pulse cannons, infrared grenades, and stretchable bulletproof barrier. Never before have there been so many options, and I can’t wait to try them all out against my friends!
Like Black Ops 2 (and every other Call of Duty game post-Call of Duty 3), Advanced Warfare is a globe-trotting adventure that allows the player to visit exotic locations such as Lagos and San Francisco… as well as other, currently unknown locales. Of course, we are sure there are more places to add to the list very soon (maybe at the official world reveal event tomorrow?). Again, these locations will no doubt become parts of maps for the multiplayer side of things.
Unfortunately for us, PS4 Fans, Activision has confirmed that DLC priority will still be given to Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners, despite rumours that it would change after it became clear that the PlayStation 4 was a more powerful and more popular console amongst gamers. This meant that, if Activision did decide to change to PlayStation, it would have an impact on more people, which makes logical, business sense. Oh well, maybe next year, Treyarch… because you love us?
It is debateable that Sledgehammer Games and Activision decided to go down the route of a future-based Call of Duty game to directly rival Xbox and PC exclusive, ‘Titanfall’. I mean, you only have to look as far as the huge mechsuit in the trailer to see the similarities, as well as the wall-climbing gloves. On the other hand, why would they do that if they were giving DLC-priority to Xbox?
After learning about the new Call of Duty and seeing the trailer, our very own writer, Riz, said the following: “Could this be the revival that the Call of Duty franchise desperately needs? Everyone remembers the anticipation and excitement for the ‘Modern Warfare’ games… maybe a futuristic tone and someone as high calibre as Kevin Spacey is what it will take to bring back those of us who felt so disappointed by ‘Ghosts’. But of course we’re yet to see whether the mech suits and ‘advanced warfare’ gear will be available in the multiplayer, and how well it will be implemented. I for one look forward to E3 to see more of the game.”
One thing I feel compelled to say is that the name isn’t exactly mind-blowing. The Modern Warfare series was mostly set in our time frame, so what could Activision and Sledgehammer call a game series set in the future? ‘Future Warfare’? No, too obvious. ‘Advanced Warfare’? Yes, that’s it! Lunch, anyone? It just feels like they weren’t trying… at least when it comes to the name.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is set to be released into the wild on the 4th November this year (what a shock, a November release date) and can be pre-ordered online right now from Call of Duty’s official site, and from numerous other retailers. In terms of pre-order incentives, game retailers such as GameStop in the US and GAME in the UK have confirmed personalisation pack codes for Call of Duty: Ghosts and Black Ops 2, that will become available to download and use on May 13th for their respective games. However, I’m sure a free multiplayer map will also be bundled in at some point.
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