There’s not much in the way of information for this year’s Call of Duty release. What we do know is that it’s the first major release in the franchise not developed by Infinity Ward or Treyarch.
2014 marks the first entry for Sledgehammer Games, and the beginning of a new three-studio, three-year development cycle. That means annual Call of Duty releases will rotate between the three developers, and each game will have an extra year in its development process.
So far the only glimpse into the latest shooter is an image, recently published by IGN, taken from Sledgehammer’s presentation at this year’s GDC. It’s a pretty impressive facial model of two soldiers that certainly looks more “next-gen” than last year’s Call of Duty: Ghosts.
Likely enough, what we’re seeing here—if it is “in-game” footage—is the PC version. Similar to the incredibly detailed models previewed for a game like Battlefield 4 (or Project CARS) what we see in previews and early images is often taken on a high-end gaming rig, and not necessarily representative of what we’ll get on consoles (including Xbox One and PS4) or less high-powered PCs.
Still, not a bad-looking screenshot by any means. Activision is calling this as-yet unnamed Call of Duty a “next-gen first” release.
“Sledgehammer is approaching this as a next-gen-first development,” Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg told IGN. “Obviously in the console-transition year, anyone who developed a cross-generational game last year had to deal with the fact that the technology of the next-gen platforms was still coming into focus and changing quite a bit during the development process…. Now that we have the next-gen hardware out in the marketplace and solid, that is our primary development.”
Frankly, better graphics are one thing, but what I’d really like to see from the series is a more interesting campaign.
I doubt the formula will change too much, of course, but it would be nice to see something…different this time around. Maybe some branching levels, open-ended approaches to mission objectives, that sort of thing. Less over-the-top machismo and more interesting characters.