Posted Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 03:40 PM PDT by Brian Hoss
Full mocap a necessity.
Throughout E3, Activision pushed to stay on message, Sledgehammer Games 'Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare' is taking the 'Call of Duty' franchise in a new direction. How is that new direction achieved? Well obviously, the game's futuretech weapons are a big part.
Watching the 'Induction' demo, and it's obvious right off how things like the live display floor and exoskeleton suits flavor the game's look and each bit of gameplay. Whether it's jumping or climbing, or shooting the new weapons, there are touches of this new tech. The one-way shield and guided hand rockets are some of the more obvious. Plus, there's an endless supply of drones of all shapes, sizes and numbers. (scripted and unscripted) And that's before you get to the new vehicles.
Still, each soldier, enemy or friend, is still very exposed, and it's obvious that losing an arm or being shot in the head or body is of lethal concern. In the other demo I saw at E3, 'Collapse,' you can take on a driving section with an AI teammate, who looks and sounds exactly like Jason Statham.
In this demo, I saw how the tech equipped enemies were able to bring down the player's Pit-Bull vehicle, which set up an escalating serious of combative exchanges on the Golden Gate bridge. Interestingly enough, there were allied police officers there, but they were without exoskeletons and other fancy stuff and had to defer to the player's team. From there, toys like thermal pulse grenades and a bullet time ability helped to turn the tide. (Bullets are still quite effective.) Suddenly a single nondescript enemy van remained on the bridge, and in true 'Call of Duty' fashion, the remaining enemy was just as dangerous as those already dispatched, if not more so.
One common thread in the two demos is that, even when just watching events unfold, the characters are much more compelling at a glance than what we've come to expect from most games, let alone 'CoD' titles. And as Bret Robbins, the Creative Director at Sledgehammer Games, explains below, there is a reason for that. You see, they've taken a page straight out of Naughty Dog's playbook. Not only is 'Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare' the first 'CoD' game to feature a saturation of motion captured animation, but it's gone to a Naughty Dog level where one actor does the mocap and voice of their character.
Of course, going the actor mocap route isn't alone enough to make the characters compelling, but it's clearly part of an new overall storytelling focus that allows for 'Call of Duty' to quickly generate some character attachment for the NPCs. Meanwhile, it seems that we shouldn't expect to play as multiple characters who die at the end of each mission, which is something that has been played out in recent 'Call of Duty' games.
Ultimately, both the new in-game tech and the new focus on character engagement are being worked into what has traditionally worked well, and there's little doubt that veteran players will find that familiar feel that they expect underneath the new features. Still, that balancing act of introducing new things while keeping the familiar is being tackled systematically, and it's from that approach the 'Advanced' part of the game's name derives.
You can find the latest info on 'Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare' linked from our Video Game Release Schedule.
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