How Sledgehammer Games intends to shake things up for Call of Duty

Advanced Warfare

How Sledgehammer Games intends to shake things up for Call of Duty

For months, Advanced Warfare has been roaring loud enough that it intends to change Call of Duty, forever. Advanced Warfare’s story has elements that hasn’t been done in films, let alone a video game. Advanced Warfare’s story was inspired by The Last of Us. One of the co-founders of Sledgehammer Games went on the record to name some games that he likes, and are inspired by…

As you can tell, Michael Condrey is showing passion for making Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare a breakout hit. He wants to make sure people understand why Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is and was an ambitious title. As a matter of fact, Sledgehammer Games are touting Advanced Warfare as the “Best game of our lives.”

Glen continued…

Sledgehammer Games staff aren’t resting on their laurels any time soon. When discussing the 3 year development cycle, Aaron Halon, the Senior Development Director working on Advanced Warfare said that there’s a lot of pressure to make Advanced Warfare a great game…

There’s a lot of pressure just to make a great Call of Duty game because the franchise has been so phenomenal. So we feel that and then to also be truly next-gen to have three years to work on the game helps.

He continued, saying that while there’s pressure to make Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare the best game in the Call of Duty franchise, the 3 year development cycle takes a little bit of pressure off because it allows them more time to do what they need to do…

In a way, the three years takes off the pressure a little bit because you have a little more time to cook your ideas, proof things out, to prototype, to iterate.

Aaron also mentioned that pre-production of Call oF Duty: Advanced Warfare was a little longer than usual for a Call of Duty title…

Our pre-production was longer, which allowed us to do more concept work, a lot of prototyping, R&D, and then obviously our production is a lot longer. Bringing all of our levels and story to the full potential it could be, makes all the things I just said better.

He concluded with saying that there are times he wished he had more time to work on games, but with Advanced Warfare, he got that luxury…

I’ve been doing games for 18 years, and I’ve never done a project where I didn’t wish we had an extra six months or an extra year, and I feel like I have that with [Advanced Warfare].

In another interview, Aaron says that there’s a good kind of pressure with Advanced Warfare…

Yes there’s pressure but it’s the good kind of pressure.

Meaning, there’s a healthy kind of pressure to make Advanced Warfare the best yet.

Boohoo, it’s Call of Duty! It’s going to be the same thing!
Actually, Sledgehammer Games is trying to assert, inform, and instill confidence that this is indeed a fresh new take on Call of Duty. In an exclusive interview, Michael Condrey wanted to stress how important the three year development cycle has helped them shape an innovative Call of Duty title…

We’re really grateful because we had a chance to go after the next-generation experience and really innovate, It was time to give you a new experience.

We want to make sure that people realize it’s not a turn of the crank. The amount of research we put into this game is insane — the books, the articles, the scientists we talk to, the trips we’ve taken, the people we’ve brought in.

Next Generation is already here. Call of Duty Ghosts didn’t improve the franchise.
Well, Sledgehammer Games spent the past 3 years working on Advanced Warfare. After their work with Modern Warfare 3, they got to work on their next big title. Sledgehammer Games wanted Advanced Warfare to be a true Next Gen title. So, Sledgehammer Games designed Advanced Warfare to be a Next Gen-only title, while another studio develops the current gen (PS3, Xbox 360, etc.) versions. Sledgehammer Games uses the same technology Avatar [2] uses. As a matter of fact, Aaron Halon, the Senior Development Director working on Advanced Warfare had this to say about their focus with Advanced Warfare…

Now I don’t need a character necessarily to say something to react, you can just see it in their face and fidelity picks it up.

Sledgehammer Games is focused on pushing for more graphical fidelity in Advanced Warfare…

You’re able to have a lot more processing power, so if you can push things on screen, like more special effects and higher-res textures.

Moreover, Sledgehammer Games aims to tell a great story with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare…

I think through our ability to tell a great story, and with our history of telling really great narrative with games like Dead Space, I think we’ll really bring something great and different to the franchise that way.

Speaking of story, Sledgehammer Games is also pushing for a more immersive story

One of our goals when we worked on Dead Space was constant immersion – don’t ever have them snapped out of the world in any way. We have that in Advanced Warfare, where you’re getting rid of elements that are distracting, as much as possible.

So, how did Activision land Kevin Spacey?
In an interview, the C.E.O. of Activision explained that the way that they got Kevin Spacey on board, was by really catering to how far he can go with his involvement, his character, and his own reach. Eric explained…

We sat down with him and described the character to him, described the narrative, and first and foremost, I think he responded to that, but also when you sit down with him and say ‘this is how many people you’re going to reach, here’s the kind of engagement we get with this content,’ it’s pretty compelling.

Kevin Spacey seems to like to do films in emerging digital media technologies, such as what he did with Netflix’s House of Cards. He also likes to work with brands that has a large fanbase, with a high engagement to the media. With 100 million Call of Duty owners that play every day, Activision had a value proposition for Kevin Spacey.

This is significant even for Call of Duty. A lot of game companies aren’t able to attract high-profile actors like Mr. Spacey. In fact, Aaron Halon reflects exactly that sentiment…

Usually on games we are used to getting our B or C character, but to be able to get Kevin Spacey who has been in mind since the beginning has been an awesome experience and really helpful to the whole narrative of the game.

And that’s not all. Kevin Spacey puts his 2 cents into some scenes that Sledgehammer Games at times had to change the script or story a few times. See for yourself in a major interview with Time Magazine…

And the team at sledgehammer Games are very excited about his involvement, because not only did Spacey study the material, he pointed out plot holes in the story as he was working on the set…

I live for that! I’ve had actors point out plot holes and I’ve had to fix those because the actors mentioned them.

Where did these Exoskeletons, and all of this tech come from?
The tech you’ve seen so far on Advanced Warfare are all real, and being developed as we speak. Sledgehammer Games says that most of the tech already exists today.

It’s funny because there’s a back and forth. We’ve had both the experience of coming up with the idea and then reading about it the next week, or reading about something and saying ‘whoa, that’s got to go in the game.’

Most of the game is grounded in current reality. However, Sledgehammer Games is considering adding new concepts, new design, and whatnot into Advanced Warfare to keep it from being too real. In fact, Sledgehammer Games is considering adding in vehicles in the multiplayer portion of the game.

Moreover, Sledgehammer Games wants to give players more freedom in the single player portion of Advanced Warfare. Sledgehammer Games will allow CODAW players more customization to their operators in single player.

Activision expects Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare to be the most pre-ordered game this year. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will be released on November 3rd for folks who pre-order the game, or the Day Zero edition. For the rest of the world, Advanced Warfare will arrive to retailers worldwide on November 4th, 2014.

About Carlos Morales

Founder of CarlosX360 Co., Ltd. Owner of CODNetwork. Carlos loves video games with a boiling passion. A fan of Call of Duty since 2007.

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