After complaining for years that the World War 2 setting was tired and overdone (it was), shooter fans have stepped back, regrouped and are now welcoming Call of Duty‘s return to the war that started it all for Infinity Ward. The official first trailer drops on April 26th, but leaked images have already found their way to the prying eyes of the internet and there’s a lot to take from the limited look we have at the game.
The image that gives the most away is this one, seemingly of the main character:
The red “1” on his shoulder signifies that he’s part of the US Army 1st Infantry or The Big Red One. The division began its long campaign in 1942, participating in the invasion of North Africa, specifically Algeria as part of Operation Torch, then would be part of the amphibious invasion force at Normandy, and finally would push east through France and into Germany as the war wrapped in 1945.
We’ve been here before.
In 2005, Call of Duty: Big Red One covered this exact campaign. We played it on PS2, Gamecube and Xbox as one of the final split-screen games that would be enjoyed before Xbox Live and PSN became the norm. The game sold well enough, mostly because it was a solid shooter in an era when most were crap, but that doesn’t change the fact that we’ve been here before. Chalk it up to the difficulties of going back to a setting with a finite amount of places to go and people to see. Will this affect how people think of the game? Probably not, but it definitely could turn off some.
As you can see in this screenshot, we’re still following around what looks to be the same outfit. The setting looks like it’s western Europe in its limited view (it could be anything but this circumstantial evidence makes sense in the grand scheme of things). This could be after the North African campaign as the 1st Infantry heads into France.
And as expected of any new console generation, we’re visiting Normandy beach again. We did it in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault on PC/PS2, Call of Duty 2 on the 360/PS3 and now we’ll do it again in Call of Duty: World War 2. This makes sense, and unlike those games, we’ll probably be landing on the beach good three-quarters of the way through the game if we’re following the path of the 1st Infantry. This lines up correctly to the 1st Infantry’s timeline.
Here’s what it looked like in Big Red One, with a History Channel intro narrated by Mark Hamill:
This invite to the beta shows off a “journey across Europe” in a single player and co-op campaign that lends more evidence to the campaign.
With all that said, the Call of Duty games have been known to jump from the eyes of a US grunt to someone on the Eastern Front in a Russian uniform to behind the gun of a German, so this could only be part of a greater whole, or this is the definitive look at the 1st Infantry as they go on their epic journey through WW2?
There are plenty of reasons to be wary of another CoD, another WW2 game, and a retread of a finite war and a campaign that we’ve already experienced, but if a gamer is simply looking for the most up-to-date WW2 shooter possible with a couple friends, well, this will be the only one, and it’ll probably be fun. Who doesn’t like shooting an M1A1 at Nazis?