After gradually time hopping into the space-faring future, Call of Duty is catapulting itself back to the 1940s for COD: WWII. Returning to the conflict that started it all, you can be sure to expect the familiar chatter of MG42s and ka-ching of M1 Garands this winter. But what makes up the multi-layered package that is a Call of Duty game this year? Find out what’s being shipped out to the PC frontlines in this handy guide to everything we know.
Liberate the globe from tyranny in the best WWII games on PC.
Call of Duty: WWII release date
Unsurprisingly, this year’s COD will launch November 3. The 11th month is the spot for Call of Duty and that’s certainly not changing for 2017.
Call of Duty: WWII campaign
The campaign will focus on the latter end of the war and the Western Front, with events like the Normandy landings and the Battle of the Bulge being featured. While you’ll occasionally play as characters from other nations (including a female French resistance member named Rousseau, a British officer, and African-American soldier), the bulk of the game will be seen through the eyes of Ronald “Red” Daniels and Robert Zussman of the US Army’s 1st Infantry. The idea is to spend time looking at the bonds that are forged between the members of Daniels’s squad, lending a more Band of Brothers-like tone to the game.
Several members of the 11-man squad will be able to offer you help. For example, when close to the ammo man, he can throw you fresh magazines when you’re running low on bullets. Regenerating health is being scrapped, and so field medics will be able to help you out with health packs.
Call of Duty: WWII multiplayer
Stripping Call of Duty of its sci-fi setting also means robbing it of wall-running, jetpack dodging, and fancy killstreak gadgets. But Sledgehammer have a few ideas sure to refresh and shake-up ageing COD traditions.
Create-a-Class is getting the boot and will be replaced with Divisions. The new system will see you choose a group to fight for with each one providing a specific “training” bonus for your multiplayer character. Airborne focuses on speed and stealth, Mountain deals with sharpshooters, Infantry are good all-rounders, Armoured are outfitted with the heaviest gear, and Expeditionary bring incendiaries to battle. Each division dictates your weapons, attachments, and perks. While it sounds different, it does effectively work almost entirely like classic class systems. Multiplayer avatars will represent not only different Divisions, but also a broad and diverse ensemble of the nations involved in the Second World War.
The big new addition, aside from Divisions, is War Mode. Akin to Battlefield 1’s Operations, this is a narrative-led 6v6 multiplayer mode based on attack and defend objectives, developed in partnership with Raven Software. Objective examples include capturing bridges to escort armour divisions across them, or seizing enemy artillery and using it to destroy them. It sounds a grander, more involved mode in comparison to the arcade-like deathmatch staples COD traditionally falls back on, and could well be the most exciting thing about this entry.
If that’s too much of a departure for you, then rest assured that Team Deathmatch and Domination will be returning.
The most unusual change comes in the form of Headquarters; a shared social space for up to 48 players that seems akin to Destiny’s Tower. Here you can compete at a shooting range, practice your score streaks, battle it out in a 1v1 arena, open loot boxes, or simply hang out with other players while queuing for matches. You can check in with officers to obtain quests, with objectives based on either multiplayer performance or social interactions. You'll also prestiege at the Headquarters, in a ceremony overlooking the Normandy beach. Very pomp.
There will also be Headquarters events; during specific seasons, the HQ may be bombed from above. In these situations you'll need to run for gun emplacement and shoot down enemy planes.
As for progression, the highest rank shown so far is 55, so it would seem that this is the target you need to hit before Prestige kicks in and you start over again.
Multiplayer will feature both the Allies and Axis powers, but don’t expect them to be historically accurate. While the campaign is looking to adhere to the history books, Sledgehammer think of the multiplayer as a WW2-themed PvP arena. As such, there won’t be any swastikas on show in multiplayer, and you’ll be able to use female and non-white character avatars in armies that wouldn’t have recruited them. For Sledgehammer, the reality of 1940s racial and gender tensions are not something they want to factor into multiplayer. Instead, it’s about letting players be themselves in a WW2-themed environment.
Call of Duty: WWII zombies
Call of Duty’s zombie co-op mode returns for WWII, and takes it back to the original Nazi zombies concept as introduced in World at War. Sledgehammer promise an “all-new take” on the formula, and also note that the studio’s roots at Dead Space developer Visceral will help inform the game. Hopefully this will mean a truly terrifying take on the undead, and the above trailer certainly seems to suggest that.
The co-op campaign sees players head to a snowy Bavarian village in search of artwork stolen by the Axis powers. During their mission they discover that the village is home to a shadowy secret; the Nazis have been building an undead army.
Akin to previous zombies modes, this year’s Call of Duty zombies mode will feature celebrity talent. Heading up the cast this time is David Tennant as Drostan Hynd, and he’s joined by Elodie Yung (who played Elektra in Netflix’s Daredevil). What kind of role their characters will fulfil is yet to be seen.
Call of Duty: WWII beta
The Call of Duty: WW2 beta will start on August 25, provided you’ve got a PS4. The Xbox One version starts on September 1, with the PC beta yet to be dated.
The beta will run for four days, and feature all the game’s multiplayer Divisions, with the skills and training levelled up to rank three. Included game types will be Team Deathmatch, Domination, Hardpoint, and the new War Mode, on maps including Pointe Du Hoc, Ardennes, and Gibraltar.
Call of Duty: WWII season pass and DLC
As ever, this year’s COD will feature an optional season pass, confirming a DLC plan. The Pro Edition of the game comes with the season pass and a steelbook, but so far nothing has been revealed in regards to what the pass will unlock. It seems sensible to expect the usual collection of DLC multiplayer maps and added zombie chapters, though.
That’s all the intel our allies have been able to smuggle out of the Berlin bunker, but we’re expecting further details to be decoded during E3 and the next few months. Be sure to check back here for all the most vital wartime developments.