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  • Daniel James

Call of Duty: WWII Looks to be an Explosive Return to Form

Call of Duty: WWII looks to be a tremendous return to form for the franchise. As Destiny’s older sibling, its wellbeing concerns us all—and after Infinite Warfare, it’s a concern that many share. This morning, Activision livestreamed their announcement event with the reveal trailer:

First point of order: Nostalgia. The first Call of Duty games operated extensively in this period, making this a return to a time period that many older fans associate with their most formative experiences with the franchise, even gaming itself. Call of Duty exists in the same world as “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens,” live-action Disney Princess films and every Kickstarted gaming project in recent history, so shifting likewise into this comfortable sleeping bag of a market is both natural and welcome.

Moreover, the trailer stands on its own in terms of artistic design and gameplay.

Let’s begin with the artistic design. Of the three “futuristic” Call of Duty titles, Advanced Warfare may not be the greatest, but it brought a gritty, near-futurist artistic vision that the others lacked. Black Ops III, while a superior game in most regards, was designed like a paintball map set in an IKEA showroom. Sledgehammer games’ art design shines in the new WWII setting. While Call of Duty jettisoned us into outer space, Battlefield threw its players into WWI—a promising setting, in a magical time. And while a fantastic game in most regards, its story was forgettable and its persisting orange color scheme and lens flare wreaked havoc on the game’s art design.

Battlefield 1 excelled at being an immersive life-to-game simulation, while Call of Duty has always been a arcade shooter dressed in realism. In the first mission of Modern Warfare 2, the streets of Arab cities were compelling, selling us on the gritty fantasy of war in the Middle East. Players were convincingly teleported into the boots of the characters. Sledghammer’s work on Advanced Warfare makes them ideal for the job on paper, and our first look at COD: WWII delivers.

The color schemes, the facial animations, the landscape before the characters are all realistic. They feel lived in, made of real materials and within a world that the characters—and in turn, the player—can inhabit. Whatever story Sledgehammer plans to tell in this world, I have faith in it. Activision should receive, and likely will receive, appropriate praise for allowing Sledgehammer to delve into this territory with their artistic vision. The elements of the best war films are present within the trailer, from the cinematic shots to the realistic character designs.

Also, Nazi zombies.

Beyond that, the new additions are all welcome. COD: WWII has a social space, like The Tower from Destiny that players can take reprieve in, between matches. Additionally, co-op will be featured in a separate game mode—possibly in the campaign as well. Actual Nazi Zombies poke their faces in a Twitter image shared by Sledghammer.

For now, you can wait for Dstreet’s E3 coverage of Call of Duty: WWII and for the upcoming multiplayer beta, to be announced this fall. Or check out the images below:

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