Call of Duty: WWII Story Is Mostly Told In-Game, Not in Cutscenes; Walking Simulators Inspired Devs

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Apr 28, 2017
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Call of Duty: WWII got a positive early reception to the debut trailer earlier this week. That’s in part due to the single player mode, where some old-school gameplay elements like no health regeneration were reintroduced.

But the story is also different from your usual Call of Duty campaign experience. Speaking with Glixel, Senior Creative Director Bret Robbins revealed that the plot will be very much character-focused; he also said that walking simulators like Firewatch, Gone Home and Virginia inspired him.

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Our story is much more character-focused. The big moments fall flat if you don’t care about the guys you’re with. The climax of our story lives or dies on how invested you are in the characters. That’s a huge risk and it’s something that video games sometimes struggle with.

Firewatch is one of my favorite games. Gone Home was great. Games are growing up and the audience is sophisticated. More and more, they expect a good story. Not just from blockbusters but from indies [as well], and the whole genre is being pushed forward. Virginia is another good example. I definitely looked to them for inspiration and for techniques. We’re not shy about taking our time with the story. We want something meaningful and a bit deeper. You need that kind of quiet to balance the crazy. You need both or one will go flat without the other. We’ve learned from those other games and tried to infuse that into ours.

Sledgehammer’s Co-Founder and General Manager Glen Schofield then added that most of the story in Call of Duty: WWII will be told in-game rather than with cutscenes.

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In anything like this, you need time to breathe. We’re being strategic with our breathing points, though. We have excitement, stealth, and then we take a breath, but we tell more story in the game, rather than cut scenes. That way we can really bring out the personality throughout the whole story.

Call of Duty: WWII’s campaign will put you in the shoes of Private Ronald “Red” Daniels for the most part, although there will be other playable characters for brief segments. The game is coming out on November 3rd for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

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