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Sledgehammer Games

I know how to save Call of Duty in a post-Advanced Warfare world

Jan 16 // Nic Rowen
[embed]286278:56923:0[/embed] Timecop it out Ok, so you're Infinity Ward. You've spent the last two years eating shit over how much of a letdown Ghosts was. You need to rally, you need to get back to the core of what people love about CoD. You're thinking of going back to the well, maybe another Vietnam game, or something set in the '80s. People love that '80s shit. Or God forbid, some focus-test fiasco told you THIS was the time to head back to WWII, “the audience is totally ready for it!” You need to pull a Timecop. Timecop is a forgettable relic of mid-'90s cinema. The last desperate throws of the '80s tough-guy flick starring a leading man who barely rates as a punchline these days. A film you would have rented with the express intent of getting boozed up with your friends and unloading your own slurred, half-clever, MST3K commentary on. But the opening scene of Timecop is brilliant. A brief flash of what could have been a much more interesting movie before Van Damme takes the wheel and swerves the bus into a drainage ditch. A group of Confederate soldiers carrying gold bars for General Lee (who presumably intends to melt them down and stamp them into musket-balls or something) are held up by a lone cowboy-looking dude. Despite featuring the accent and dentistry of the era, the cowboy whips out two futuristic sub-machine guns and ventilates the lot of them in less than a second. It's a great scene because it sets up the entire premise so succinctly. Criminals have time travel, they can plan and commit crimes based on specific historic knowledge, and they have the tools and equipment to utterly dunk on the pathetic lawmen and soldiers of the day. So take your three-quarters built WWII game and flip the premise on its head. You're a soldier sent back in time to deliver an exo-skeletal beat-down to the third Reich before it can ever inspire the rise of a fourth in whatever crazy future you're from. Just take the game as it is, give the player character a jet-pack and a laser gun, and let them loose on the Battle of the Bulge. Videogames are power fantasies after all, and that sounds like a pretty fun power fantasy to me. I want to grapple-hook to the very top floor of the Reichstag, smash through one of those red-bannered windows, and cave in Hermann Goering's jowls with a mechanized right hook. I'd love to clown all over the Vietcong by flying over their bamboo spike traps with rocket boosters, flushing them out of their sniper roosts by burning down the jungle with a wrist-mounted microwave emitter. Make the multiplayer kill-streaks a race to rip open time portals to replace your Tommy guns and potato-masher grenades with plasma-casters and fission-powered smart-mines. I mean, I'm sure that the idea of a futuristic soldier fighting an entire army of outdated historical soldiers has never been done before. Right? Thine liege Lord sounds the horn of battle, whilst thou answer the Call of Duty? Ok, you're Treyarch, Black Ops 3 is well underway but you've still got time to pivot, still have time to grab the rudder and steer the ship to a bold new course. Screw trying to imitate what Sledgehammer has done. You're leaders, not followers. If anything, they just bit off the future-tech craze you started in Black Ops 2. It's time to flip the table over, to do the wild and unexpected, to prove you're the CoD development house with the biggest balls and the most nerve. It's time to go medieval on their asses. If people thought jetpacks were cool, wait till they ride into battle on a motherfucking horse. Steal whatever “thunder” Chivalry has and craft the finest first-person melee combat simulator the world has ever seen. Create a silky smooth, 60 FPS, beheading experience where you charge into battle with swords, spears, and cudgels. Screw all that “360 no-scope” rubbish, it's time to make the struggle real again. No more camping out in a power position, it's time to beat your berserker warrior chest, get right up in someone's face, and mash on the STAB button until something dies. You're going to hear a lot of shit. That the gameplay is a chaotic mess, that 16-person multiplayer simply doesn't work when everyone just charges across a field wildly swinging the fastest weapon they can. That your pre-planned “Classic Map Pack” DLC doesn't make much sense anymore and it looks weird to have men-at-arms marching down the streets of Nuketown. That the “catapult barrage” kill-streak is completely unbalanced. Don't worry about it, just block them all out and know you're doing the best thing you can for the franchise. Game of Thrones is the hot thing these days right? The kids are all about knights, and dragons, and incest, and you don't want to be left behind. It's time to bring the war maul of the CoD franchise down on everyone and show them what Historical Warfare is all about. (Well, except maybe the incest thing, marketing is having a shit over it and Australia is already saying they'll refuse to rate the game. You'd think we were talking about cleaning out an airport worth of innocent civilians or something.) Fuck it, just make them all dogs “We worked for years on Ghosts and all people liked about the game was the fucking dog. I missed my kid's birthday, on consecutive years. I haven't seen a movie since... Wow, I haven't seen a movie since The Dark Knight was playing in theaters. The other day a co-worker asked me something, and instead of trying to turn my head to respond, I moved my mouse to the right and was surprised when my view didn't change. Seriously, I sat there waggling my wrist wondering why my mouse was broken for a few seconds before I realized what the hell I was doing. I've given my life to this series and. All. They. Liked. Was. The. Fucking. Dog. Give the babies what they want then. Call it Collar of Duty, Call of Doggy, Advanced Tail-wag, or whatever cheeky name the internet came up with. I just want to see my family again. Maybe we can get some co-marketing synergy going. A DLC pack to play as the Valiant Hearts dog, or maybe Kojima will let us use Snake's new wolf-puppy if we trade him for the phone numbers of all the Hollywood guest stars that have been in our ads. Does anyone remember Balto? We could get him, Bolt, Lassie, and Beethoven to appear in the zombie mode if everyone signs off on it... Whatever. Pass me the bottle, I'm so sick of making these games...”
Call of Duty photo
A victim of its own success
“I don't think I can ever go back to the old style of Call of Duty.” I've heard some variation of that sentence at least once per week since the launch of Advanced Warfare, and if I were Treyarch or Infinity Ward...

Advanced Warfare DLC photo
Advanced Warfare DLC

Xbox gets Call of Duty's star-studded Exo Zombies DLC first on January 27


Comfort food
Jan 13
// Jordan Devore
Zombies again. It's what people know, I guess. Comforting, familiar zombies. With Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's first DLC pack, Havoc ($15 standalone, or included in the $50 season pass), the undead will don exoskeletons ...
Advanced Warfare photo
Advanced Warfare

Call of Duty's first DLC unleashes a 'freak show like no one's ever seen'


Exo Zombies
Dec 19
// Brett Makedonski
As way of a bit of backstory for the zombies add-on to Advanced Warfare, Activision's released a teaser to semi-explain why hordes of undead have made their way to the military shooter. Seems a bomb was dropped to finish one...
Special CoD armor photo
Special CoD armor

If you see this armor in Call of Duty, you're gonna die


Only the top 100 players have it
Dec 01
// Brett Makedonski
Sledgehammer's making sure that the top Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare players stick out like a sore thumb. That way, you'll be slightly consoled when you have the worst game of your life. Or, you won't feel guilty when ...
Advanced Warfare photo
Advanced Warfare

Of course: Call of Duty puts Exo suits on zombies for DLC


Havoc's early next year
Nov 26
// Brett Makedonski
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare saw a shift in the franchise toward faster and more vertical gameplay. This was a change that was mostly praised. But, how can Sledgehammer include the fan-favorite zombies in the game? Th...
No Share Play photo
No Share Play

Activision's not playing nice: Call of Duty blocked from PS4 Share Play


One big blocked scene
Nov 06
// Brett Makedonski
Activision's taking one of the most basic social skills that everyone learned in kindergarten and totally disregarding it. The publisher's using its biggest title of the year to be the first, and most prevalant, example of a ...
CoD community misogyny photo
CoD community misogyny

Call of Duty dev says community is not misogynistic


Yeah, okay.
Nov 04
// Kyle MacGregor
Sledgehammer Games co-founder Michael Condrey has spoke out against the notion that the gaming community is corrosive, telling BBC Newsbeat he and his team has a "pretty low tolerance for toxic behavior" while downplaying its...
Conan photo
Conan

Conan O'Brien is better at Call of Duty than Frogger


Trying his hand, then losing that hand
Nov 04
// Brett Makedonski
Conan O'Brien, the self-professed "Clueless Gamer," is back for another round with one of the year's biggest videogames. This time, it's Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Ever the sharp mind, Conan immediately jumps all over the emotional try-hard "pay respects" scene near the beginning.  Then, he dies a lot. Not from bullets, however -- from ruthless morning commuters.
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare channels its inner GoldenEye 007


Has anyone made a 'House of CoDs' joke yet?
Nov 03
// Brett Makedonski
Everyone knows that the best part about GoldenEye was the immense satisfaction of rolling up behind your friends with an RC-P90 and painting the back of their heads with rainbow-colored death. Paintball mode was the bes...

Review: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Nov 03 // Chris Carter
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Sledgehammer Games (Current-gen) / High Moon Studios (Last-gen)Publisher: ActivisionReleased: November 3, 2014MSRP: $59.99 Ghosts was ultimately a half-measure. While the James Bond-esque satellite kinetic rod cannon was a cool idea, the game didn't really explore futuristic technology as much as augmented existing tech. Advanced Warfare throws any conception of modern-day limitations out the window, and it's that much better for it. The gimmick this time around is the Exo Suit, changing the face of near-future war into that of a super soldier. The suit allows you to jump higher, dash faster, and slam into things with greater strength than ever before. Right off the bat the game feels fresh -- like a faster-paced Call of Duty -- like something the series should have experimented with before this point. Heck, you can even air dash and double-jump -- in a Call of Duty game! Items like the Threat Grenade, which shows a heat-reading of all of the enemies within your field of view really drive the point home that this is not your typical fare, and I love that it feels so different in just about every game mode. You can also do things like flip-up a makeshift riot shield instantly from your suit, cloak, and shoot grenades out of your arm. Frickin' laser beams are also in and are a joy to see in multiplayer. [embed]283217:56181:0[/embed] We've finally come to the point where the franchise can be considered "current-gen" by any standard. While Ghosts was developed primarily for last-generation hardware, the PC, Xbox One, and PS4 versions have the top honors here, and it shows. The faster gameplay really lends itself well to a farther draw-distance and a smoother framerate, and load times are drastically improved. For many, the big draw is the new story, featuring the lovable Kevin Spacey as Jonathan Irons. Over the course of 15 missions you'll embark upon a journey with Spacey as your PMC boss, earning new gear and augmentations for your suit as his character starts to become more and more power hungry. Spacey does not phone it in -- he gives a great, animated performance that's worthy of his top billing, and the campaign is worth playing just for him alone. Of course, the missions themselves are still practically on-rails, which will probably lead many people out there to skip the campaign again in favor of jumping right into multiplayer. With games like the recent Wolfenstein bringing back the glory of open-ended maps, I would have hoped that Advanced Warfare would marry the signature action style with a less linear map layout. If you know what you're getting into, though, it's better than the last three Infinity Ward campaigns. The additional "Exo Survival" mode alongside of the campaign is kind of a throwaway however, hearkening back to the Survival Mode of Modern Warfare 3. It basically pits you and a partner against an increasingly deadly set of wave-based enemies, which is just as dull as it sounds. With no real story or gimmick such as aliens or zombies, there's a very limited amount of enjoyment to be had here. Zombies are said to arrive with the upcoming DLC, but for now you're out of luck. Abbreviated load times are particularly welcome for one new feature for the series -- the pre-game firing range. Gone are the days where you're scared to try guns out of fear of ruining your kill to death ratio. Now you can almost instantly fire up a virtual range to test out your gear in before the vote and countdown ends to give you a better feel of your chosen loadout. Multiplayer once again is the main event, and some interesting changes have been made give Advanced Warfare quite a long shelf-life. In addition to the tried and true Prestige system, "Supply drops" (read: loot) are also in this time around. Now instead of using the same few guns over and over, playing more and completing challenges will earn you unique drops, with new statlines to play with. When coupled with the new training ground between matches, you're actually encouraged to change up your style constantly -- a fresh concept for hardcore fans. I also didn't notice any real balance issues with any of the newer weapons or variants, which is also good news for casual players who still want to remain competitive. My favorite addition is probably the "Uplink" gametype, which is basically futuristic basketball. A round object is thrown onto the battlefield, and two teams have to kill each other for it. Upon grabbing said object you can either throw it or pass it to a teammate, and the ultimate aim is to get it into the floating enemy uplink "goal." Yep, it's a blood sport, and it's a ton of fun. All of the classic modes like Ground War and team deathmatch return as well. The full-on customization "slot" system returns, which lets you change your loadout to your heart's content outside of your basic primary and secondary weapons, and all of those wonderful toys will give you a lot of options. Killstreaks are now customizable this time around, which lets you change the parameters of the same boring old UAV you've played with for years. It's another small mechanic that brings online play forward and makes it ultimately more interesting. Multiplayer takes place across 13 maps, which isn't a lot, but thankfully the futuristic touch changes them up considerably. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare plays it a little too safe with the campaign, but it feels like a real core entry in the series, and will please fans who are jaded after last year's release. While Treyarch is still the king of Call of Duty in my eyes, Sledgehammer Games has shown itself to be more than capable of taking over with its debut entry. Infinity Ward is now the odd man out.
Call of Duty review photo
Exo Squad
After the disappointing Call of Duty: Ghosts, Activision needed fresh ideas, and Sledgehammer was just the developer for the job. Even before it delivered its first game, a weight has been lifted off of Infinity Ward and...

Advanced Warfare photo
Advanced Warfare

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare PC requirements haven't advanced much from last year


As always though, this'll take up some space
Oct 20
// Brett Makedonski
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's required PC specs have been released on the game's Steam page, and it turns out that all that power doesn't necessarily change everything -- especially if you use last year's iteration as a b...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Not a lot looks changed in Call of Duty's 'Power Changes Everything' trailer


Maybe it's meant ironically?
Sep 24
// Brett Makedonski
For a trailer that boldly suggests that "power changes everything," Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare sure looks pretty similar to past installments in the franchise. I guess the guys jump higher before using their mega-de...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's multiplayer has butt slams and more


Seven minute breakdown
Sep 03
// Steven Hansen
If our made up Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare preview didn't sate your desire for gung ho gunplay, here's a seven minute look at Titanfall's I MEAN THE NEW CALL OF DUTY'S multiplayer.  The butt slams are cool, alon...
Call of Duty skips Wii U photo
Call of Duty skips Wii U

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare won't come to Wii U


Sorry, Nintendo fans
Aug 20
// Kyle MacGregor
Call of Duty will not be coming to Wii U this year, Sledgehammer Games co-founder Michael Condrey revealed today via Twitter. The decision was Activision's, according to Condrey, leaving Sledgehammer to focus its attenti...
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Watch the Golden Gate Bridge get destroyed in Advanced Warfare


Okay, those grenades are hecka cool
Aug 12
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Ghosts was a giant disappointment but man Advanced Warfare is looking really good. I'm mostly interested in the multiplayer at this point, but the single-player looks like it will be worth it this time around too.  The latest video for the new Call of Duty focuses on San Francisco, showing off a chase and the eventual destruction of the famous Golden Gate Bridge. 
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Play Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare a day early with the Day Zero Edition


Pre-order for weapons and early access
Aug 11
// Jordan Devore
This week, Activision is making its next major promotional push for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. (Perhaps you read our "preview" or saw the multiplayer trailer.) That can only mean one thing: it's time to talk about pre-or...
Call of Duty multiplayer photo
Here's the debut trailer
Activision is offering an in-depth look at multiplayer in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare today during a live event but if you're content with seeing just the basics, this trailer will suffice. With the new exoskeletons, game...

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Fight the powers that be!
A campaign trailer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare came out which goes over some of the plot points. I also speculate on some rather obvious, yet still uncertain, plot developments to come. The trailer also announced a multiplayer reveal coming August 11, which I theorize could come with a beta announcement.

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Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare multiplayer teased, collector's edition detailed


The $120 version includes a season pass
Jul 29
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
A brand new trailer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has dropped today, detailing how the conflict leads the way for the Atlas PMC to come into power. It's your typical Call of Duty trailer, with tons of cool looking set p...
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Confirmed: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will have audio


*shrug*
Jul 08
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
A new behind-the-scenes video for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has confirmed that the game will indeed have audio. Guns will have the pew pew noises, dudes will go "oh no you shot me how did you know bullets were my weakness!?. Oh, and there will be lots of explosions. 
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Look, I know what a laser is. You're not fooling me.
In a lovingly overproduced developer diary, a couple of Sledgehammer bros ran down the exciting new gear in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, including this year's "game-changer," the exo-skeleton, and hyped some of their other groundbreaking innovations such as... as laser. If nothing else, there was an opening for a Mountain Dew joke.

Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Advanced Warfare's exoskeleton to redefine how you play Call of Duty


Maybe it will, maybe it won't
Jun 24
// Brett Makedonski
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's tagline is "power changes everything," and Sledgehammer's doing its best to explain what that means. There are lots of futuristic enhancements being made, but it's not likely that any are mor...
Advanced Warfare photo
Advanced Warfare

New Call of Duty focuses on being realistic forty years in the future


Military advisors and futurists help
Jun 17
// Brett Makedonski
For the most part, Call of Duty has dealt with past or present scenarios up until now. But, Advanced Warfare is going to move the story ahead forty years. How can Sledgehammer Games craft a realistic future when it...

Do you love setpieces? You'll probably like Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Jun 16 // Brett Makedonski
There were two levels shown during the presentation, both adept at communicating the new(ish) style that Advanced Warfare brings to the table, but also assuaged any fears (or dashed any hopes?) that this year's Call of Duty will be a departure from its bread and butter. The first of the two slices was nothing more than an extended gameplay video. Set up by a violent car chase along the San Francisco freeway gone awry, the majority of the level took place fighting across the Golden Gate bridge. This is where we got to see enemy soldiers jetpacking on top of semis, as the character we were watching mirrored those movements with his own boosts onto abandoned vehicles. I couldn't help but feel as if it seemed like a slower Titanfall. Although the shooting was a lot of what we've come to expect, the setting provided a wonderful playground for the action. Terrified civilians running away and cars littering the road made for a good start. But, it went into overdrive when a pack of drones were accidentally released from the enemies' truck and started cutting the cable to the bridge. As one might suspect, suspension cables are critical to suspending a suspension bridge. Who would've thought? With several of the cables no longer intact, the bridge started to slowly come down as vehicles and people alike careened off the edge and into the bay below. At one point, a policeman was about to escape harm's way until a bus plowed into him, followed by someone jetpacking to the protagonist like nothing ever happened. His demeanor eerily mirrored what players might feel; when you've become accustomed to this level of action over the course of a decade, what will it take to truly drop jaws again? The second level, which was actually played by a presenter (supposedly), took a more methodical approach to things. Set in and around a Biolab in a Bulgarian forest, stealth was paramount to infiltrating the facility. However, just because cloaking devices and quiet knife kills were in play doesn't mean that the setpieces slowed down. Almost immediately, a helicopter spotted the two principal characters and began a mad dash through a river to get to cover before it could snipe them. After leaping off a cliff and hustling into the forest, it was finally safe. Well, sort of. Making good use of the cloaking technology, the two slinked through the forest, knifing some unfortunate enemies in the throat, while opting to spare the lucky ones. After a bit, a tank rolled through blasting some sort of light that exposed cloaked individuals -- a subtle reminder that not all setpieces need to be grand. The inside of the facility held a lot of corridor-based shooting galleries that sometimes define the first-person shooter genre, but once outside, the commandeering of a tank made things interesting again. Rumbling along, nothing was spared from the path of destruction, as helicopters, vehicles, and individual troops fell in gratuitous numbers. Upon arriving at a getaway plane, the protagonists blew up the tank just for good measure. Given thirty minutes to watch Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, there are certainly mechanical changes being made to the way the game plays. However, its reliance on setpieces and scripted action makes sure that nothing strays too far from the Call of Duty formula. Maybe Advanced Warfare isn't really as advanced as everyone claims. But, maybe that sort of service to the fans keep millions of them loyal year after year. And, hey -- maybe that isn't a bad thing at all.
Call of Duty preview! photo
The action you expect
The last decade has brought us ten new Call of Duty games. With that steady drip of titles, the series' developers have figured out how to craft increasingly elaborate action scenarios. Despite being at it for a while, t...

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Cancelled Sledgehammer shooter was set during Vietnam War


Game had Dead Space type moments
May 05
// Dale North
The latest Game Informer has Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare as its cover story, but it also revealed a bit about developer Sledgehammer's earlier, cancelled project. Their first Activision project was a third-person shooter t...
Advanced Warface photo
Advanced Warface

First details on Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare multiplayer


Different Instagram filters on the box art, Xbone gets DLC first
May 02
// Steven Hansen
Kevin Spacey vehicle Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, which we brought to you guys last night, has some more details trickling out. Notably, the deliciously Titanfall-like exoskeletons in the Advanced Warfare extend "across al...
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Next Call of Duty has a major focus on private military contractors


Metal Gear?!
May 01
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
The next Call of Duty game from developers Sledgehammer Games is to be revealed this Sunday. We've been given a brief teaser image, and now Activision has clued us in on what the theme of the game will be through this VICE p...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Oh, look! It's Sledgehammer's new Call of Duty


What's he looking at?
May 01
// Jordan Devore
Technically, this isn't the first image of the new Call of Duty in development at Sledgehammer Games -- that distinction was wasted on this close-up shot. Let's forget about that one. Here, via Game Informer ahead of its cove...
Call of Duty 2014 photo
Call of Duty 2014

The first image of the new Call of Duty is solemn, kind of pointless


These posts are never important
Apr 23
// Brett Makedonski
It's that time of year again. With the NBA playoffs heating up, so are the annual rumors surrounding the imminent reveal of the new Call of Duty. This time, it's Sledgehammer at the helm of the S.S. COD, and the developer aim...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

This year's Call of Duty to prioritize PC, PS4, Xbox One


Activision calls it 'a next-gen-first production'
Feb 10
// Jordan Devore
Now that there are three separate studios heading up new installments of Call of Duty, we'll be looking to Sledgehammer Games for its take on the franchise this year after Infinity Ward dropped the ball with Call of Duty: Gho...

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