If you played Call of Duty Black Ops II, you may recall this chap you can see above. His name is Manuel Noriega, and - unlike so many aspects of Call of Duty - he’s actually a real person. Quite a nasty one too; he’s currently sitting in a prison cell in Panama for crimes he committed during his reign as the country’s dictator. Murder ranks among his more awful crimes.
He’s in the news today though not for committing any further atrocities from his jail cell, but because he’s attempting to sue Activision for portraying him in a negative light in Call of Duty.
Microsoft opened its E3 conference with a bang, some booms, a few jetpacks and Sledgehammer’s Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
Advanced Warfare continues the series’ tradition of impressive, large scale set pieces involving guns and lots of shouting men. Sledgehammer’s trailer has worked its way to the top of the pile though, because it’s got jetpacks and terrifying swarms of machines.
I always thought that those things were missing when I stormed the beaches of Normandy in Call of Duty 2.
Sledgehammer are the first new studio to make a Call of Duty game in nearly a decade - and during the development of Advanced Warfare, they’ve done some thinking about what makes the series tick (and once the timer’s done, explode spectacularly).
“I think Call of Duty resonates because it’s believable and relatable," said Sledgehammer co-founder Michael Condrey. “And it’s always been one of the strengths of the franchise."
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Sounds like somebody needs a more reliable word processor.
After years of trashy CoD-science, conspiracy theories and murdered protagonists courtesy of Treyarch and Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer are taking the new Call of Duty’s Troy Baker-starring, Kevin Spacey-facing single player campaign very seriously indeed.
Advanced Warfare’s future tale of PMCs and AKs took two and a half years to write - and that’s discounting the time spent waiting for replacement, non-Spacey-chewed scenery.
Call of Duty: Ghosts’ Reinforce isn’t so much a new mode as all of the existing ones stuck together - the factory-fused amalgam of sweets that turns up at the bottom of the packet.
Teams can win matches by killing all of their opponents, capturing three flags, or taking over two objective points - and then sprint for the dropship. Just joking on that last point - but it does rather feel like Infinity Ward have mishmashed their best work into a trashily compelling frag salad; much like our Call of Duty: Ghosts review suggests.
Sledgehammer Games are currently slaving away on their first solo entry in the Call of Duty series. But despite crafting the eleventh core entry in the franchise, the team decided to approach Advanced Warfare as if it were a brand new IP.
It shows how each new Call of Duty game has fewer people playing multiplayer than the last. Yes, Call of Duty: Ghosts did have 37,000 players online concurrently on release day, and that’s impressive, but the game before it, Black Ops II, had 64,000. Modern Warfare 3 before that had 86,000, and so on. Is there any wonder after you've read our Call of Duty: Ghosts review?
Activision can’t escape the fact that the popularity of their flagship series is in freefall on PC.
Infinity Ward and Neversoft worked closely during the development of Call of Duty: Ghosts. “Through that process, it became clear that the two studios have very complementary skill sets," Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg wrote in an internal memo obtained by Giant Bomb. “Between these two excellent studios, it seemed like a single 'super-studio' could emerge."
That’s what Activision have decided to do, merge the two studios, retiring the Neversoft name.
Infinity Ward has belatedly posted details on the new Chaos Mode for the alien hunting Extinction campaign in Call of Duty: Ghosts; the latest iteration which we thought was a bit rubbish in our Call of Duty: Ghosts review.
The blog post gives up the skinny on how the combo meter adds perks to soldiers, giving them an edge when fighting the ceaseless Cryptid horde.
It’s telling that even with the litany of bugs that continue to be uncovered every week in Battlefield 4, DICE won the 2013 shooter wars by default. Call of Duty: Ghosts was a shonky, shortcut-ridden shitstorm that proved you can’t build a AAA blockbuster for six platforms in two years. Not anymore.
It might have taken Infinitizzle Ward all dem months ta release Call of Duty: Ghosts DLC yo, but they hit tha ground hustlin. Some freshly smoked up customisation packs will follow tha Devastation DLC all up in tha end of April - includin tha first-ever voice packs, featurin R. Lee Ermey n' none other than Snoop Ta Tha D-O-Double-Gizzle.
The improbably named Soap, lesser known as John, MacTavish was the protagonist of the Modern Warfare series - when the protagonist wasn’t some poor blighter about to be shot in the head in first-person so we could all share a big gasp.
He was forcibly retired at the close of the trilogy - but creators Infinity Ward have hinted at his return to active doody in upcoming DLC for Call of Duty: Ghosts; which we didn't like too much in our Call of Duty: Ghosts review.
May Day gets a bad rap (and so did Ghosts in our Call of Duty: Ghosts review): once the pole-rappelling celebration of Springtime, it’s now associated with nautical distress and, here, the swarming of a research ship in the South Pacific ocean by angular aliens with saliva so nasty as to suggest glandular meltdown.
That’s thanks to Call of Duty: Ghosts’ Devastation DLC - and specifically Mayday, the second episode in their series of nest-bothering Extinction mode maps.
Call of Duty: Ghosts' latest DLC offering, Devastation is due out soon, with it appearing, lamentably, on Xbox Live first on April 3rd and on PC following that. It brings four new multiplayer maps to the table, including the reimagined Dome map from Modern Warfare 3, now called Unearthed.
Alien shenanigans also continue with the second episode of Extinction, which finds players exploring an abandoned research vessel and fighting a kraken. But that’s not the limit of Devastation’s extra terrestrial tomfoolery. Activision has made a crossover deal, bringing a Predator to Call of Duty. Cover yourself in mud, everybody.
After a week or two of Titanfall I’ve grown quite used to shimmering, semi-invisible players getting right up in my grill: that’s why I sport a shotgun. But the transparent bastard in Infinity Ward’s Devastation DLC teaser is an altogether different prospect - tropical serenity, and then BAM: cleaved-off faces.
We’d call this new stealth mode predator-like - if not for the telltale signs of a real, licensed Predator tie-in. Not sure if it will save it from our rather damming Call of Duty: Ghosts review though.
It’s taken an extraordinarily long time for this, Ghosts’ very first map pack, to come around. T’was not so far Black Ops 2, which set new series records for DLC sales.
But if Infinity Ward have failed to match Treyarch’s speed, they’ve at least matched their capacity for synonyms for the word ‘attack’ - and for developing solid-sounding new multiplayer maps. Onslaught has five, and they’re available to download today.
Given the long money tail Black Ops II grew thanks to its DLC, it’s taken Infinity Ward a surprisingly long time to wind up to a similar cycle of paid-for packs for Ghosts; which we thought was rather bad in our Call of Duty: Ghosts review. Three months on, they’re finally getting there: their Onslaught map pack is out on PC today, and will be followed by micro character DLC that’ll allow you to get under the skin of some memorably mean personalities.