If one thing is clear, is that Activision’s announcement that this year’s Call of Duty game would be “going back to its roots” was one of the most exciting bits of video game news gamers got to hear this year.
This makes sense taking into account that last year’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare game left many with a bitter taste in their mouth. This was despite Infinite Warfare’s solid campaign and multiplayer, with Activision itself admitting that the game “didn’t resonate” with Call of Duty fans.
Also, Activision couldn’t have failed to notice Battlefield 1’s massive success last year, with DICE’s WWI shooter getting plenty of rave reviews, and shooting to the top of the sales charts in 2016. And it’s clear that players loved Battlefield 1’s early 20th century setting and combat, while Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s sci-fi, Halo-like setting was reviled by many actually.
So taking Call of Duty back to the 20th century surely was a no-brainer for Activision this year, then. And studio Sledgehammer Games will be the one to take Call of Duty back to its roots in 2017. This was the outfit behind 2014’s spectacular Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, and has now revealed that it’s currently developing Call of Duty: WWII.
Details are scarce about this new Call of Duty game right now, but as its title suggests, will be set during the Second World War. And we will get to know more details on April 26, as a worldwide reveal is scheduled for that date. Also, several leaked images have made it online recently, giving us a first glimpse at this upcoming WWII game.
Of course, interest in this new game will be sky-high, taking into account that this will be the first Call of Duty game since 2008’s World at War to take place during WWII. That game featured missions set in the Pacific theatre and Eastern Europe, and no doubt is one of the most solid Call of Duty games released to date.
But when developing this new Call of Duty, Sledgehammer should resist the temptation to just remake the original game, which is still one of the best World War II-era shooters ever made. This was due to its attention to detail and extraordinary missions which were played from the perspective of soldiers from the different sides in the conflict (American, British and Russian). The original Call of Duty also had superb missions like the Volga River crossing in the Russian campaign, and caused such an impact back in 2003 that it’s considered by many to be one of the best video games ever made.
So the original game’s shadow will be looming over the upcoming Call of Duty: WWII, with Sledgehammer under pressure to deliver a game that turns out to be just as memorable as the first Call of Duty. This could lead to the team at Sledgehammer basing the new Call of Duty game on the 2003 original, and it would be a pity if this turned out to be a remake of the old classic instead of its own thing when it’s released later this year.
And it’s clear that a lot will be riding on this Call of Duty game for Activision. After all, last year’s instalment Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare did not really set the world alight. Actually, sales were down considerably from 2015’s Black Ops 3, even if Infinite Warfare did end up being the top-selling video game in the US in 2016. But clearly fans did not appreciate the new sci-fi setting much, and the popularity of the Call of Duty franchise took a hit as a result of this.
It’s clear then, that Call of Duty’s return to World War II this year needs to be a triumphant one, or people might end up getting tired of what has unarguably been the premier shooter series in the world up to this point. And fans might end up gravitating to other high-profile shooters coming out this year, such as EA’s promising Star Wars Battlefront 2.
But Sledgehammer should not make the mistake of just remaking the best scenarios from the original Call of Duty and its sequels and call it day. No, it needs to come up with a truly compelling and original war game like Battlefield 1 was last year, one that draws jaded Call of Duty players right back into the franchise and makes them fall in love with it again.
So here’s hoping that Call of Duty: WWII’s gameplay, characters and story are unique and different from the World War II Call of Duty games we have seen to date, and that Sledgehammer’s upcoming game takes the series back to its roots in style when it hits shelves in late 2017.