Activision has released four new trailers as part of the ongoing marketing campaign for Call of Duty: WW2.
This new instalment in the long running Call of Duty franchise takes the series back to their Second World War roots. 2008’s Call of Duty: World at War was the last time a Call of Duty game was set in this period, and generally World War 2 shooters have dropped of the mainstream games market as of late.
These trailers each give a short introduction to one of the major characters in the player’s NPC squad. The first is Private Red Daniels, a Texas farm boy who has only recently arrived in the squad and will presumably lose his innocence as he sees the horrors of war. Next is Lieutenant Turner, a well educated officer trained in West Point and who is like an inspirational father to his men. There is Private Zussman, a slightly sketchy, jerk with a heart of gold soldier. Finally, we have the trailer introducing Sgt Pierson, a tough as nails, by the book sergeant who will no doubt die heroically at some point in the game.
If any of this seems familiar to you, no doubt you have seen any war film ever made. Indeed, some of these characters are pretty much recycled from prior instalments in the Call of Duty franchise, with us having countless examples of grizzled sergeants and naive newcomers. It is strange that Activision are focusing their marketing campaign so heavily on the game’s characters, as they all appear to be paper thin war film stereotypes.
That may be the plan, however. Perhaps they want to entice players in with promises that the game will let them live out all their favourite war movie action scenes in the confine of their own homes. Possibly, but the problem with that is that it has been done to death by every other World War 2 shooter out there. We all remember the first time we stormed the beaches of Normandy in Medal of Honour: Frontline, imagining that Tom Hanks might be in the boat next to ours, but that was a long time ago and video games have come a long way since then.
Even the theatre they have chosen is one we have seen many times before. American infantry fighting their way through Normandy is as common an occurrence in Call of Duty games as hilarious German accents, with it being featured in the first, second, third games, as well as the many console spin offs on the PS2. Additionally, nearly every other Second World War shooter has featured this same front, as well as most American war films.
One aspect of the original Call of Duty games that made them stand out to me was the variety of warzones shown; you might be a British commando sneaking your way through a bombed out North African village one moment, and a Soviet soldier charging frozen German gun nests in Stalingrad the next. Call of Duty: WWII seems to be solely about the American experiences during the war, and while there is nothing inherently wrong in that, they seem to be limiting themselves creatively.
Of course, the campaign is only one aspect of the award winning triumvirate of gameplay each Call of Duty game have. There is also the competitive multiplayer which has been fine tuned to an art-form at this point, and there is also the Zombies mode, which grows in ridiculousness with each new instalment. All of these will be in Call of Duty: WWII and it seems that developer Sledgehammer Games have put in a lot of work to each gameplay mode.
However it goes, it will be interesting to see how well Call of Duty does in its return to the Second World War. Call of Duty: WWII is set for release on 2 November.