Call Of Duty WWII Is Going To Destroy Battlefield 1
The war started with a single shot, fired without thinking, when DICE's Roland Smedberg tweeted last year about "quaint 2010 graphics and grade school editing." From that point on, there's been a knock-down, drag-out fight between Battlefield 1 and all things Call Of Duty.
The grounded, more realistic style of Battlfield 1's setting has consistently been praised over Infinite Warfare's space opera with an evil separatist Jon Snow. However, that pendulum of praise is about to take a hard swing in the other direction.
After lots of speculation, it's now confirmed that the yearly FPS franchise everyone loves to hate will be pivoting far, far away from space and returning to its historical roots. Of course, this makes something again something old again -- and that is one area where I'll simply never understand the fandom and its many complaints: they want something different, but they also want something exactly the same.
The rallying cry used to be that all Call Of Duty games were exactly the same. With the announcement of Infinite Warfare, the rallying cry then became "boots on the ground" in a plea to return to historical war without any futuristic elements. You can't win. So all a developer can do is put out a solid game and hope for the best.
Despite the optics there, its interesting to note that while the rabid Reddit and YouTube masses will scream their dissent from the rooftops, to anyone who will listen. But this game's existence has nothing to do with backlash or fan request. Due to Call Of Duty's triple developer cycle, the simply titled WWII was already in the works years before Battlefield 1 was even announced -- and well ahead of the Infinite Warfare outcry.
Different Franchises, Similar Tones
Looking back on the dueling FPS titans from 2016, Battlefield 1 unquestionably edged out Infinite Warfare on the online multiplayer front (although co-op Zombies In Spaceland is a different story altogether).
Despite a gritty atmosphere and authentic-feeling weapons, it trailed a bit on the single player front, and I suspect it will completely pale in comparison to the single player Call Of Duty WWII experience coming in November.
There are a decent number of similarities between the two games when one looks at their launch trailers -- a rock being used to smash a head, a tower falling, and a flamethrower put to devastating use -- but what's more telling is the differences between the two.
After those all-consuming weapon volleys and explosions faded away, I got chills as a soldier looked at the camera and said, "Welcome to the Bloody First, you're a long way from Texas, farm boy."
It strongly brings to mind the best of the early Call Of Duty games, where a recruit is thrust into an elite squad, gearing up for a bloody adventure filled with camaraderie and betrayal. Are we about to get a new Soap, someone being taught to plant some claymores by the door?
Only time will tell.
But the big question mark is how realistic Sledgehammer can be expected to go, and whether it will feel like re-skinned CoDs of past, with the same weapons that don't have a lot of heft to them. That's one area where BF1 excelled, in making its early World War I weapons feel bulky, clunky, and actually realistic in your digital hands. Call Of Duty has an uphill battle in that department, but based on the trailer and COD's usual ability to differentiate weapon types, I'm expecting a big improvement in this area.
Battlefield 1 also offered an expansive overview of WWI, which was a thrilling experience as you switched between infantry in one theater of war and hopped over to airplane dog fights and rumbling tank battles in other theaters. But it all felt disconnected somehow -- not a cohesive whole.
Here, it looks like COD is going to narrow the focus to one particular segment of the war, which may have some drawbacks, but overall, it should offer a better single player experience than Battlefield 1.
That world-spanning overview came at the expense of a cohesive story, which Call Of Duty is almost certainly going to provide. If previous entries are any indication, any hopping and skipping around the world to other theaters of war will still be connected.
Consider playing as British SAS and American Marines in the Modern Warfare series -- there may have been two different characters frequently fighting in different countries, but they were working toward the same goal and fighting the same enemy, so it still felt like pieces of a whole. If there will be a second storyline, which has not yet been revealed, it seems a good bet it will focus on the Russian side of the war, with the Red Army pushing from the opposite end of Europe.
From the trailer and first revealed details, we already know there will be a segment focusing on the D-Day invasion in Normandy (likely opening the game), so get ready to feel all Saving Private Ryan from the first-person perspective. A visceral opening segment is all but guaranteed here, and it'll be one that will rival Battlefield 1's intro segment, which displayed the date of death for multiple soldiers.
Developer Sledgehammer (previously responsible for Modern Warfare 3 and Advanced Warfare) hasn't revealed everything that's going to be offered yet, with more trailers and live streams yet to come. But one has to wonder if we might see a set of missions in Africa for the single player campaign or perhaps just a sandy multiplayer map.
That may be one area where Battlefield 1 will continue to dominate, in its varied landscapes and map types. While Europe obviously is the main focus of many WWII stories, people forget just how expansive that war really was and how far it pushed into other continents.
Overall, it seems at this point that COD WWII will tell a much more intimate story, following one particular squad through its trials and tribulations. With any luck, this will be the best Call Of Duty story yet as we see common men thrust into an impossible situation to stem the tide of tyranny.
What To Expect From Multiplayer
While I still get a chuckle over all the whining, I have to admit I am looking forward to a multiplayer experience free of panic jumping with jet packs. Although the game has been in development for years, Activision is clearly cognizant of fan derision on this front, with all mentions of multiplayer so far accompanied by phrases like "grounded, fast paced combat" or "boots on the ground matches."
Although it's not yet clear if this is referring to the new Headquarters mode or to actual map size, according to details found on the Xbox store, multiplayer in WWII will now have up to 48 players at a time, greatly expanding the typical Team Deathmatch options.
This could be a game changer, as typically Call Of Duty features tighter maps that are easier to learn, whereas Battlefield 1 has huge, expansive multiplayer maps where it's easy to get lost and never even see the enemy before dying. CoD map design meshed with bigger battles could be a thing of beauty to behold if implemented properly.
We also know there will be a Zombies Mode, which is now becoming a series staple rather than a mode relegated to Black Ops entries. There's a lot of buzz over what direction these standalone co-op missions will take, because Zombie Mode has only been getting better and better over time. From the pulp noir and Cthulhu mythos themed entry in Black Ops III to the neon VHS 80's take in Infinite Warfare, zombie mode has been a Call Of Duty highlight for several years running.
Back to Its FPS Roots
The entire Call Of Duty franchise is heavily rooted in WWII, and anticipation is high to see it return to the era in current-gen glory, nearly a decade after last visiting the war in 2008's World At War.
COD WWII arrives November 3. Are you looking forward to returning to war-torn Europe to battle the Nazis one more time, and do you think this entry will dethrone Battlefield 1's historical shooter dominance?
Let us know your take in the comments blow, and be sure to also take a look at other franchises we want to see return to their WWII roots!