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As you may know, the reveal trailer for Call of Duty: World War II was just released last recently along with some promotion interviews from the staff at Sledgehammer Games. As the title suggests the game will be taking the franchise back to the original historical period in which it was first set. Treyarch’s Call of Duty: World at War in 2008 (which first introduced the new iconic Zombie Mode) was the series’s last outing to do so.
The new game’s single player campaign will center around a fresh faced rookie American soldier from Texas assigned to a platoon in the US Army’s 1st Infantry Division (aka The Big Red One, aka The Fighting First, aka The Bloody First) as he and his fellow squad-mates fight from the beaches and bocage of Normandy, France to the dense winter forests of Belgium and eventually across the Siegfried Line into Nazi Germany itself. It appears as though the game will have a much greater emphasis on story and characters and (hopefully) have a bit longer of a length this time around. Like all previous entries, I’m sure the game will have multiplayer as well which will of course be the primary selling factor to it’s devoted fan base.
I confess that I have never been much of a multiplayer gamer (so that is NOT what this article is about) but was nonetheless drawn to the original Call of Duty and Medal of Honor games due to my interest in World War II history. I enjoyed the “greatest hits of WWII” aspect of the games’ single player campaigns despite their brevity and I was disappointed when Infinity Ward chose to move the franchise to modern times when there was still so many theaters of the Second World War to explore.
First off, while I appreciate Sledgehammer Games taking COD “back to it’s roots,” I think it was a mistake to set the story it in Normandy. Between Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, Call of Duty 1, 2 AND 3, the first couple Medal of Honors and the Brothers in Arms series, Normandy has been done to death. It certainly looks decent but I believe that “been there, done that” feeling is going drag the story down a little and as I stated before, there are SO many other theaters of the WWII that have yet to be explored mainstream.
Developers have stated that you’re are going to encounter an all Black US Army unit over the course of the game and honestly it would have been nice (and unique) to have played as one of them instead. Yes, I m well aware the the vast majority of US Military at the time was Caucasian but there WERE several segregated minority units that saw just as much heavy action as the Fighting First and this could have been a great opportunity to tell some of their widely overlooked stories. Hopefully the few scenes we get will do them at least some justice.
Also, I must point out that I think the developer’s choice for the game’s title is… uninspired to say the least. You don’t give your game a name as broad as Call of Duty: WWII unless you’re going to show the war itself through as many different perspectives as possible like the first few CODs did and Battlefield 1 did for the First World War. Call of Duty: The Bloody First or something along those lines would have been far more appropriate considering the campaign’s more personal focus. It should be noted that Treyarch came out the console exclusive Call of Duty 2: Big Red One back in 2005 which also focused on the 1st Infantry Div. so “Big Red One” was never an option for a title.
Despite my complaints I must confess I am still looking forward to Call of Duty: WWII. The development team really seems to care about their product and if it’s successful (and it likely will be) then there will be more games set during the Second World War. I do hope we’ll get a decent PC port though.
Note to Treyarch:
If you’re also going back to WWII next year here’s what you do for World at War 2 to make it distinct from what we’ve seen before. Have it set in the Philippines where you play as a native Filipino who witnesses the Japanese invasion first hand and joins the resistance. The whole Philippines Campaign was almost Normandy level in itself in terms of scope with the US, the British and native Filipinos all working together to drive out Imperial Japan. Wrap it up with the battle to retake the city of Manila, which was one of the bloodiest, craziest and most devastating urban battles in history. Maybe alternate this player character with one from one of the all Japanese American infantry units who served with extreme distinction in it the Italian Campaign. Wrap that up with the Battle of Anzio which is another epic and bloody battle that a lot of people have never heard of. In fact, you could maybe even have us play as a Chinese soldier fighting the Japanese as well. That would certainly appeal to the China market.
Anyway, just my opinion. Feel free to chime in with your own thoughts.
Featured image source: Call of Duty: WWII’ worldwide reveal announcement