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different with last year’s Call of Duty: Ghosts, just as Treyarch felt it had moved the series in a new direction with 2012’s Black Ops II. They did offer something new. Yet with Sledgehammer at the helm, there’s a real sense that we may be about to see an even greater break from the norm. Particularly after that debut trailer,

which featured (amongst other things) hoverbikes, exo suits and an impressive CGI Kevin Spacey.

“We’ve had all that time on

the creative, and to push high production values, art, content creation and so on,” says Schofield “And we’ve had the opportunity to build a new Call of Duty engine. These are luxurious that only come by having that third year. “We’ve also had time to go

through and make sure every word is right in the story.”

For the fi rst time since the series began Call of Duty has a dramatically diff erent

play experience. Michael Condrey, Sledgehammer

Explains Schofield. “Activision said: ‘We’re giving you Call of Duty for a reason. We want your game and your studio’s style.’ It was a really proud moment for us. We jumped in and we changed wherever we could in the game.” Condrey adds: “[After MW3] it

was clear that we needed to spend the next three years to really drive innovation. That’s been one of the core pillars for our game. We’ve had three years to prototype ideas. And for the first time since Call of Duty began we have a dramatically different play experience.” That’s right, Advanced Warfare is

the first Call of Duty to have been in the works for longer than two years.

STORY TIME That story is one of the more intriguing aspects of Advanced Warfare. Call of Duty is known for its epic, bombastic plots. Yet by using their Dead Space experience, Sledgehammer hopes to bring some emotion to the narrative. “We’ve always said that this is the next medium to tell a great story, and this is an area we hope to deliver on,” says Schofield. Condrey adds: “We’ve also been making heavy use of the new tech, particularly the facial capture. We want to be able to show pain or anger or happiness just from expressions, without the characters saying: ‘Wow, that’s great.’ Or ‘I’m hurt.’” Judging by the trailer, the

Advanced Warfare engine appears to be a huge step-up over last year’s Call of Duty: Ghosts. The reason, according to Sledgehammer, is because it’s not worrying about making the Xbox 360 or PS3 versions. Those have been handed to developer High Moon. “In development you often

constrain ideas – whether it’s design ideas or technology solutions – to the lowest common denominator,” explains Condrey.

ONE of the much-discussed moments in the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare trailer was the appearance of a digital Kevin Spacey. Spacey plays Jonathan Irons, the CEO of Atlas, which in the game is the largest private military company in the world. “He is an amazing and talented

actor,” says Sledgehammer CEO and co-founder Glen Schofield. “The way he delivers dialogue

elevates the narrative. “When we started writing the

Sledgehammer has focused entirely on the PS4 and Xbox One versions

story two and half years ago, Kevin Spacey was the person that we had in mind when we were writing it. When you are writing a story you imagine a couple of people who would be the main characters, it is just easier to write that way. House of Cards and his other stuff wasn’t even around then. “We shot a couple of scenes the other day, and you have this scene that is written down on paper, and when he delivers it it’s just over the top better. I was so excited by some of


Kevin Spacey plays Atlas CEO Jonathan Irons

the scenes because he really brought it, and man I am so psyched to see it in the game. “But he’s always been the

guy man, and Activision just stepped up and said: ‘Alright, if he’s the guy, let’s go get him.’” It’s quite a coup for Activision.

Spacey is a Hollywood icon, riding high on the success of his starring role in Netflix drama House of Cards. “It says a lot about the

franchise and its place in entertainment beyond just interactive entertainment,” says Sledgehammer’s COO and co-founder Michael Condrey. “Kevin is really enjoying his

most successful time in his career right now at least in pop culture, and he wants to be part of Call of Duty because he sees it as an opportunity to reach new fans and expand into a new type of entertainment. “It’s a really nice moment

when you see Hollywood get as excited about this space as we get about having them involved in it.”


June 6th 2014

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