Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Introduction

Call of Duty: Ghosts proved to be a success when it was released in 2013. However, particularly bad word-of-mouth ensured it was met with a poor fan response. Independent critics disliked it for the campaign’s litany of unfortunate implications whereas fans were unimpressed with its multiplayer capabilities – or lack thereof. Despite selling over nineteen-million copies, Call of Duty: Ghosts was considered by its creators to be a failure, thwarting any immediate attempts at creating a sequel. In order for the series to win back its wary fans, the creators realized they needed to shift gears.

Sledgehammer Games had co-developed the third and final entry in the Modern Warfare trilogy with Infinity Ward after much of the latter company’s key personnel was fired for what Activision CEO Bobby Kotick considered acts of insubordination. However, even before then, Sledgehammer had been working on an installment of their own entitled Call of Duty: Fog of War. Announced before the release of Modern Warfare 3, this game was to be set during the events of the Vietnam War. It would defy the series’ conventions by being an action-adventure game presented from a third-person perspective. The plans for this game were put on hold when Sledgehammer dedicated all of their efforts to seeing Modern Warfare 3 to completion.

Fog of War was then silently canceled when Sledgehammer began working on an entirely different project upon completing Modern Warfare 3. According to its director, Michael Condrey, the game’s engine had been built from scratch. On top of that, the game was to boast an advanced facial animation system using the same technology James Cameron sought to employ in his then-upcoming film Avatar 2. Even with a technological advancement other developers could only dream of possessing, Sledgehammer wasn’t done. In an attempt to capture the Hollywood sensibilities the AAA industry had been pursuing for some time, they recruited actor Kevin Spacey to portray a central character. With these enhancements, it seemed only natural that they would entitle the game Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. All of the steps Activision and Sledgehammer took in order to get people talking about their game paid off when it received fairly positive reviews upon its 2014 release. Many critics called it the breath of fresh air the series desperately needed after the annual releases rendered it stale. With no shortage of hype surrounding this installment, was Advanced Warfare able to maintain the Call of Duty franchise’s relevance going into the eighth console generation?

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Call of Duty - Modern Warfare 3

Introduction

Infinity Ward’s 2009 effort, Modern Warfare 2, sold around twenty-three million units, overtaking the original by nearly ten million. Shortly after the new decade began, two key figures from the company, co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella, were fired by the CEO of Activision, Bobby Kotick, for “breaches of contract and insubordination.” It is widely speculated that this was done so Kotick could avoid having to pay West and Zampella bonuses for their successful campaign. This development in turn caused a significant chunk of Infinity Ward’s staff to leave the studio and file a lawsuit against Activision in order to regain their losses.

During this turmoil, Activision, not wishing to let a golden opportunity to cash in on a popular franchise go by, requested that members of the recently-formed Sledgehammer Games collaborate with Infinity Ward to create a sequel to Modern Warfare 2. This new company was founded by veterans Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey who were responsible for developing the widely praised horror-themed shooter, Dead Space. The burden fell on them and the remnants of Infinity Ward to complete the trilogy, tying up all the remaining loose ends in the process.

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