Finally, after a generation of being in the driver’s seat of the video game industry, the Call of Duty franchise is in trouble. Doesn’t matter which metaphor you use, really: playing from behind, couched in the defensive position, you name it: the released video announcing Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is a signal that the next gen success story Titanfall has the competition shook.
Advanced Warfare, set to release this November, takes the existing Call of Duty franchise, and moves it into the next generation of gaming by adding in futuristic elements. While we are seeing unmanned drones enter into the modern geo-political conversation, the new title introduces goes into near-, and far-from-near-future concepts. With in-game tech including hoverbikes, weaponized mechanical armor, and exoskeletons, the franchise is trying to adapt, but will its audience be happy?
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These changes takes the Duty series, known for its attempts at cinematic ultra-realism, straight into the science-fiction direction. A direction that Titanfall, the it-game of the moment, is lauded for excellence. Titanfall is the big, headline grabbing, robo-mech-parkour-simulating, and essentially Online-Multiplayer-only X-Box exclusive title that is credited for moving many of Microsoft’s next-gen console’s units. It was even made by one of the co-creators of Call of Duty, so it’s fair to say that Activition, Duty’s publisher, had plenty of advance notice of their future competiion. Further, it should be noted that they should have little shame to copy. Their franchise spawned a litany of copycats that made the last generation of video games more of less known for an army of Military Simulations.
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The trailer for Advanced Warfare, oddly enough, borrows from another medium altogether: TV. Specifically, with a narrator and possible villain based on a digitized Kevin Spacey, who talks directly at the camera and extremely frankly about hostile takeovers, House of Cards’ screenwriters might feel as if their work is being lifted. The most interesting aspect of the trailer, when it comes to storytelling at least, is that while Spacey is behaving notably villainous, there is no suggestion of gamers being put in a position to stop him. This kind of amorality could do as much to raise Advanced Warfare’s profile as its future tech will.
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