Every year, like clockwork, Activision announces a new Call of Duty game to the collective groan of the entire gaming community. Still, it’s remarkable that they’ve been able to keep this annual release schedule thing going for so long. That said that this series has been in a quantity-over-quality slump for many years. It’s no doubt that these games are built on an intuitive, fun FPS engine, but so little changes from installment to installment that it’s hard to get excited.
This year’s title, the lazily titled Call of Duty: WWII seems like Activision trying to capitalize on the back-to-roots success of Battlefield 1, but while that Battlefield game was a creative take on a real-life event that isn’t touched upon very often, it’s hard to forget that World War II shooters are a very played-out thing. At the same time, it hearkens to a time when Call of Duty was actually good. Call of Duty 2 and Call of Duty: World at War are still some of the best FPS games ever made, and I am very interested to see what Activision pulls off here.
It will no doubt be refreshing to see a back-to-basics Call of Duty after the gradual progression into more futuristic entries, such as Black Ops III and Infinite Warfare. But after all this time, I’ve learned to expect the worst from this series–this seems to me like it’s a little bit of a nostalgia grab. However, if you look at the details, there is a glimmer of hope that this game will be good.
While details are scant, Activision has announced a new game mode called “War Mode,” which will feature objective-based maps with differing objectives for each team. That kind of reminds me of some other fantastic shooters, like Return to Castle Wolfenstein, or a more recent example, Overwatch. Call of Duty‘s gameplay has become rather vapid over the course of the years, so any attempt to make it more interesting is really appreciated.
In addition to this, they have announced changes to the existing class system, which are now called Divisions. While there aren’t many details, it will work similarly, except players will now be specializing in a specific field, such as Infantry or “Armored.” This sounds like a cross between the series’ staple loadouts and the class-based mechanics of, say, Battlefield.
Last, but not least, there will be an online “hub world” of sorts, called Headquarters. In Headquarters, you will be able to run around an online lobby where you can see other players, not unlike Destiny‘s Tower. Destiny benefited from this because it made the game feel more like an actual world you were traversing, as opposed to a series of menus. However, Destiny also had quests, shops and other activities that made it worth visiting. If Call of Duty doesn’t fill this lobby with things to do, it’s just going to be a useless distraction, so here’s hoping they do this well.
At this point, I have no clue what to expect from Call of Duty: WWII. It could end up being a fresh take on the series, or a been-there-done-that snooze-fest. From what we have just learned, there is enough to have a little hope that it will be the former. At the very least, it’s piqued my interest, which was much, much lower for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, which I ultimately decided to skip.
Call of Duty: WWII releases this November on the PS4, XBox One and PC. Unfortunately, it looks like they will be skipping Nintendo’s new console. This a bit of a bummer, since I particularly enjoyed the Wii (Black Ops) and Wii U (Black Ops II) Call of Duty efforts for their motion controls. Hopefully they will return to Nintendo at some point, since having a portable Call of Duty would be a huge advantage!