Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is a first-person shooter video game published by Activision. Sledgehammer Games developed the Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game, while High Moon Studios developed the versions released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and Raven Software developed the game's multiplayer and the Exo-Zombies mode.
|Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare|
|Series||Call of Duty|
|Release||November 4, 2014[c]|
Advanced Warfare is Sledgehammer's first Call of Duty title where they are the primary developer, following the supporting work they did on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 alongside Infinity Ward in 2011. The game was released on November 4, 2014, but a special edition titled the Day Zero Edition, which came with bonus in-game content, was released on November 3 for people who pre-ordered the game. The game was not released on the Wii U, making it the first title in the series since Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 to not be released on either the Wii or Wii U.
Before the development of Advanced Warfare, Sledgehammer were originally working on an action-adventure game titled Call of Duty: Fog of War, which was going to be set during the events of the Vietnam War. Development for Advanced Warfare began in late 2011, shortly before the release of Modern Warfare 3. The game became the first entry in the Call of Duty series since Call of Duty 2 to feature a game engine that has had its majority re-written and built from scratch. For the game's single-player campaign mode, Sledgehammer employed veteran actors Troy Baker and Kevin Spacey in lead roles. The game's story, featuring a futuristic setting which is set between 2054 and 2061, follows Jack Mitchell of the United States Marine Corps and his interactions with Atlas, a private military corporation that sells its services to the highest bidder.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare was released to a positive critical reception and was declared an improvement over its predecessor, Call of Duty: Ghosts. Many critics praised the visuals, the single-player campaign, the fast, dynamic, and exciting gameplay, and the content-rich multiplayer. The game won several awards and was considered a commercial success.
Advanced Warfare, like the other Call of Duty titles, is presented in a first-person shooter perspective. The game features several significant changes; unlike other installments, Advanced Warfare does not use a traditional heads-up display (HUD); instead, all information is relayed to the player via holographic projections from the weapon equipped. The general gunplay remains unchanged, apart from new mechanics, such as 'Exo' movements. These Exo movements are performed from the Exoskeleton, which can boost, dash, and sky jump. The game is the first in the Call of Duty series that allows the player to choose differing types of conventional weaponry; for example, the game features regular conventional firearms, but the player can choose to use laser or directed energy weaponry, both of which have differing attributes. In addition to Exo movements, the game features different Exo abilities, such as Exo Cloak, which allows players to turn transparent for stealth for a period of time.
The single-player campaign features one playable character, Jack Mitchell, as opposed to multiple characters in previous Call of Duty games. It uses pre-rendered cinematic cut scenes, similar to Call of Duty: Black Ops II, to assist in the story aspect of the campaign. After each mission, the player is given a certain amount of upgrade points that can be used to upgrade the Exo suit or weapons. The player can upgrade detection, armor, resistance, tactical, lethal grenade, sprint, recoil, flinch, reload, quick aim, and battery. Totally, 22 points are needed to upgrade all of the Exo upgrade system. The amount of points that are given is determined by the players performance in the missions. The player may earn additional points by completing specific side objectives, one of which is collecting the game's collectable 'Intel'. The player can switch between different grenades, all of which possess distinctly different abilities.
Apart from the Exo movement, Advanced Warfare's multiplayer retains certain similarities to previous Call of Duty titles. The Pick 10 system in Black Ops II returns as Pick 13, allowing players to pick weapons, attachments, perks and score-streaks within a total of 13 allocation points. Score-streaks are also upgradable with different modules, allowing for additional abilities/effects, at an extra score cost. Advanced Warfare introduces weapon variants, which contain various different stats compared to the base weapons. This allows the game to contain over 350 weapons, both variants and base versions. Supply drops allow players to earn new gears through playing the game. The content of each supply drop is randomized, and can range from weapon variants to player customization items, as well as bonus experience points (XPs) time. Players can complete daily challenges to earn supply drops.
Exo Survival was first introduced as Advanced Warfare's cooperative game mode. Considered to be a new version of the Survival Mode from Modern Warfare 3, Exo Survival allows up to four players to engage in a wave-based match against A.I.-controlled enemies. Players can choose from four different classes of Exo, which grant different abilities and score-streaks. Weapons and score-streaks can be upgraded throughout each match. After a certain number of rounds, players are given objectives to perform, such as defending a location, or collecting intel from fallen enemies. Completing the objectives grant players bonus upgrade points; not completing them result in the players being punished, such as having their Exo suits temporarily disabled or activating hostile security turrets. Exo Survival is played on the game's multiplayer maps, with a total of 13 maps divived into four tiers. Each tier can be unlocked by playing the previous tier and survive a specific number of rounds.
Exo Zombies was first teased at the end of the Exo Survival map "Riot", and was officially announced with the Havoc downloadable content (DLC) pack. The game features zombies that utilize exo suits, giving them more maneuverability. The game mode stars five brand new characters.
Exo Zombies plays similarly to the original Zombies game mode that has been featured in Treyarch's Call of Duty games since Call of Duty: World at War: up to four players have to survive against endless waves of undead enemies, with an optional story quest, or easter egg, that can be done at any time during a match. Players earn points by injuring and/or killing zombies, and use those points to open doors/clear obstacles, or buy new weapons and perks to strengthen their chance of survival. Players can also acquire exo suits in the game mode, allowing them to utilize new movements. Different types of zombies are present in the game, including Charger zombies that have increased movement speed, and Electro-magnetic zombies (EMZs) that can disable the players' Exo suit in close proximity.
The first Exo Zombies map, "Outbreak", was released as part of the Havoc DLC map pack. The second map, "Infection", was released as part of the Ascendance DLC pack. The third map, "Carrier", was released as part of the Supremacy DLC pack. The final map, "Descent", was released as part of the Reckoning DLC pack.
In 2054, United States Marine Corps best friends Private First Class Jack Mitchell (Troy Baker) and Private Will Irons (Paul Telfer) take part in a massive drop shock raid to repel an invasion against the North Koreans in Seoul, under the command of Sergeant Cormack (Russell Richardson). During the firefight, Will is killed in action after protecting Mitchell, who had his left arm severed and discharged from military service. After attending Will's funeral, Mitchell is offered a position in Atlas Corporation, the world's most powerful private military contractor, by CEO Jonathan Irons (Kevin Spacey), Will's father, and is also given an advanced prosthetic arm to replace his lost one.
Meanwhile, a terrorist group named the KVA, led by a technophobic man named Joseph "Hades" Chkheidze (Sharif Ibrahim), begins staging numerous terrorist attacks, with the world turning to Atlas to stop them. Mitchell, along with Gideon (Gideon Emery), Joker (Jeremy Kent Jackson) and other Atlas soldiers rescue the Nigerian prime minister and capture a KVA technologist in Lagos, Nigeria during a technology summit. However, by 2055, the KVA's attacks have become more sophisticated and Mitchell and his team fail to prevent the KVA from forcing a nuclear reactor meltdown on Bainbridge Island, Washington. The KVA launch simultaneous attacks against nuclear power plants worldwide, irradiating numerous cities, killing thousands of people and putting national governments and militaries in turmoil. Atlas emerges as the dominant military force in the world by aiding civilians affected by the attacks and holding back the KVA's rampage.
Four years later in 2059, Mitchell and Gideon are dispatched to an irradiated downtown Detroit, Michigan to find Dr. Pierre Danois (Erik Passoja), the KVA's second-in-command. During the mission, Mitchell and Gideon are ambushed, but saved by a mysterious group of soldiers in optical camouflage. Ilona (Angela Gots), an ex-Spetsnaz Atlas operative, interrogates the doctor, and the team tracks Hades to Santorini, Greece, where KVA leaders are holding a conference. Mitchell corners Hades and fatally stabs him, but before dying, Hades utters "Irons knows," and gives Mitchell a data chip.
Ilona analyzes the chip, which shows Irons killing the technologist they captured in Nigeria after learning of the KVA global attack, proving that he deliberately allowed the attacks to occur to improve Atlas' reputation and power. Irons attempts to have Mitchell and Ilona arrested, but they escape Atlas' headquarters in the rebuilt New Baghdad, guided by a mysterious soldier, while Gideon stays by Irons' side for further investigation. The mysterious soldier reveals himself to be Mitchell's former squad leader, Cormack, who is now a member of the Sentinel Task Force, an multi-national task force initially created to investigate the KVA power plant attacks, but now repurposed to prevent Atlas' rise to power.
In 2060, Mitchell, now a Sentinel, joins Cormack, Ilona, and Knox (Khary Payton) to infiltrate Irons' private residence in Bangkok. The team discovers that Dr. Danois (now working under the alias Bellamy) is collaborating with Irons on creating "Manticore", a bio-weapon. They set up a tracker on a plane carrying the bio-weapon bound for Argentina. Sentinel later intercepts the plane, which crashes in Antarctica, where Gideon appears and helps the Sentinels defeat the Atlas soldiers. The team successfully retrieves the WMD and a sample. After analyzing it, they discover that Manticore is a bio-weapon designed to attack the specific DNA of any individuals and kill them. The only exceptions are any members of Atlas. The Sentinels, now joined by Gideon, infiltrate and destroy an Atlas bio-weapons laboratory in Bulgaria, eliminating many of the Manticore samples.
With his plot revealed, Irons releases his ultimatum to remove all politicians, whom he thinks are the problem of the world, at the United Nations General Assembly and declares war on the world. The Sentinels discover that Irons is planning a preemptive strike on the United States and try to stop an Atlas attack on the country in San Francisco, California. Atlas destroys the Golden Gate Bridge, trapping the U.S. 3rd fleet in the Bay Area, and attempts to destroy the fleet in a single strike. The Sentinels use a railgun aboard an aircraft carrier to destroy the attacking Atlas ships. With the ultimatum and the attack on U.S. soil, the United States, along with the rest of the world, declares war on Atlas, forcing Irons to retreat to his headquarters in New Baghdad.
Seven months later in 2061, the Sentinels and the United States Army attack New Baghdad to bring Irons to justice. However, Atlas releases Manticore, killing Knox and most of the troops. Mitchell, Ilona, and Gideon, whose DNA are recognized by Manticore as former Atlas soldiers, are spared, as well as Cormack, who was outside the blast radius. Cormack, Ilona, Mitchell and Gideon are captured and brought to an Atlas prison camp, which also runs Manticore experiments on its inmates. The Sentinels escape, but Irons shoots Cormack's stomach leaving him to bleed to death and severely damages Mitchell's prosthetic arm. As they escape the facility, they discover that Irons already has enough Manticore to attack every military base in the world and will be launching an ICBM loaded with the bio-weapon shortly.
Mitchell and Gideon launch a lone assault on the Atlas HQ while using heavily armored battlesuits and manage to destroy the ICBM. They find Irons as the other Sentinels prepare to bombard the building, but Irons disables their exoskeletons. Mitchell, forced to release the exoskeleton to chase Irons, tackles Irons at the edge of the building. Irons hangs onto Mitchell's prosthetic arm, but Mitchell severs his prosthetic, sending Irons falling to his death. As Gideon arrives to carry him out of the building, Mitchell notes that Irons' death was only the beginning and the war against Atlas is far from over.
Following a failed attempt to contain a riot at a prison in New Baghdad, the Atlas Corporation releases the Manticore bioweapon in order to end the battle. However, instead of killing the rioters, the Manticore bomb reanimates them as zombies. Three platoons are sent in to cage the undead forces, but only one survives, and the others are brought back to an Atlas research facility for further studies. The research is carried out in secret, without the knowledge of the employees of said facility, in a hidden area known as Sublevel 6. One night, the captured zombies break out of their containment and overrun the facility, infecting Atlas personnel in the process. Amidst the chaos, four Atlas employees - the janitor Oz (John Malkovich), the IT specialist Lilith (Rose McGowan), the security guard Decker (Jon Bernthal), and the executive Kahn (Bill Paxton) - attempt to evacuate, but both of their rescue helicopters are destroyed. The four survivors mount a last stand against the zombie horde, but are eventually defeated. However, they are rescued by Atlas forces, who then take them to an urban facility, for medical treatment. When the four survivors recover, they are thrown into another battle against the infected, ensuring the survival of not only themselves but also innocent citizens trapped in the vicinity.
Eventually, the group is rescued by Sentinel Task Force operatives, but their leader, Captain Lennox (Bruce Campbell), claims that Oz is the source of the zombie infection. Lennox then executes Oz, then has Lilith, Decker and Kahn injected with anesthetic. However, Atlas forces ambush them and reclaim the ex-Atlas employees. Sentinel tracks them down, leading them to an Atlas aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean. Oz, however, begins to reanimate while being transported on one of the Sentinel's transports. Upon arrival within the carrier, Lennox locates the three Atlas survivors and leads them in battle against the combined forces of zombies and Atlas soldiers. Lennox reveals to the other three that Oz was once part of Sentinel, and that he was present at the prison when Atlas released the Manticore bomb, making him one of the very first victims of the infection. He also claims that Oz was planted in Kahn's facility by Atlas in order to start the zombie outbreak. The group decides to sink the Atlas carrier to the bottom of the ocean, in order to prevent the infection from spreading. They set the ship to self-destruct, but before they can extract in an emergency pod, they briefly encounter Oz, now fully zombified while retaining his intelligence.
The group escapes and decides that Oz must be eliminated, and head to a nearby Atlas underwater survival facility, the Trident Retreat. Oz, however, has already arrived at the facility and murdered all Atlas employees within the base. The group bands together for one final battle against the undead horde, including Oz himself. After undertaking various challenges set by Oz, they are teleported into a digital representation of Oz's memory, where Kahn, Lilith and Decker learn the truth: while they are immune to the Manticore virus' effect, they can be used as a cure for the infection, unlike Oz. Having finished all of Oz's challenges, the group finally confronts him, who has mutated into a monstrous figure. After a long fight, Oz is finally killed, and the group proceeds to burn his mutated corpse, vowing vengeance against Atlas. In the aftermath of the incident, Lennox is promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and he helps Decker enlist in Sentinel as a full-fledged soldier; Kahn files a lawsuit against Atlas, with the help of Lilith, who now works as a hacktivist. Unbeknownst to the group, the Atlas Corporation has already created clones of Oz, all kept hidden under the Trident facility. As one of the clones opens its eyes, Oz, narrating in the background, reaffirms his hatred of the Atlas corporation.
Before being switched to become the co-developers of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Sledgehammer Games was already working on a Call of Duty game called Call of Duty: Fog of War. Fog of War was announced before Modern Warfare 3 and after Black Ops. It was to be set during the events of the Vietnam War and was said to be an action-adventure third-person shooter video game. A Call of Duty massively multiplayer online game was also rumored to be in development. Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg later stated that Modern Warfare 3 was not the same title as Sledgehammer Games' action-adventure Call of Duty game. When asked if the action-adventure game was also in development, Hirshberg then stated that the Sledgehammer team was fully focused on Modern Warfare 3 and that their own title had been put on hold.
A new game in the Call of Duty series was announced to be released in November 2014.
Director Michael Condrey said that the majority of the engine has been built from scratch. He stated that although there are lines of the old code left, there are new rendering, animation, physics and audio systems. With the improved engine, the audio has been built from the ground up. According to Don Veca, who worked on Advanced Warfare, the audio in the game is very advanced which gives the game a genuine and great feel. Saying that audio doesn't come last as it did in previous titles, Glen Schofield says "We make sure that audio is just as important as anything else and Don's in there from the start with us."
Another objective that Sledgehammer accomplished with Advanced Warfare were the animations. The facial animating system and set is the same as James Cameron's upcoming Avatar 2, a first for Call of Duty. According to Activision, the new three-year Call of Duty development cycle meant that Advanced Warfare developer Sledgehammer Games was able to create a 'near photorealistic' world unlike any Call of Duty before. Michael Condrey confirmed in a tweet that Advanced Warfare would be featuring female soldiers in multiplayer, as well.
On June 6, 2014, in an issue of MCVOnline Magazine, it was confirmed that High Moon Studios, the team behind the Deadpool video game and Transformers games, was working on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of Advanced Warfare, while Sledgehammer Games is focusing on the Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the title. Activision has confirmed that there wouldn't be a release on the Wii U, making Advanced Warfare the first main Call of Duty game to not see a release on a Nintendo platform since Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 in 2009.
Marketing and release
Advanced Warfare was released one day earlier to customers who purchased the Day Zero Edition. This version featured double XP for the first day and two exclusive guns, as well as access to exclusive weapons and an Exo Skeleton suit.
In May 2014, the official Call of Duty website was updated with a scrambled image that was due to be revealed on May 4, 2014, but the trailer was leaked ahead of schedule on May 1 and then officially released soon after. The trailer revealed actor Kevin Spacey as portraying a character in the game who resents democracy. The trailer contained a variety of futuristic technologies, including cloaking aircraft, twin-rotor drones, hover bikes, "spider" tanks, specialized weapons, powered exoskeletons, threat-detection grenades and gloves that allow their wearer to climb up walls.
On June 9, 2014, E3 was opened with a new gameplay trailer for Advanced Warfare that showcased features such as swarms of drones resembling birds and infrared enemy identifiers. During the presentation, Xbox head Phil Spencer said that downloadable content for Advanced Warfare will be released first on Xbox Live in the same fashion as the previous games in the series.
On July 29, 2014, Sledgehammer Games released a trailer showing a more in depth look into the main back story of the campaign side of the game. Within the last five seconds of the trailer a brief view of the multiplayer was shown, the first time multiplayer had been shown. Within it "score streaks" were visible which are returning from Black Ops II. Also shown was the new HUD which usually changes from each title. The trailer also stated that there would be a worldwide full multiplayer reveal on August 11, 2014 during Gamescom 2014.
On October 30, Taylor Kitsch and Emily Ratajkowski co-starred in the live action trailer in advance of the game's November 4 release directed by Peter Berg who previously worked with Kitsch in the films Battleship and Lone Survivor.
A pre-order bonus was announced entitled 'Advanced Arsenal' which consists of a Custom Exoskeleton along with an EM1 Quantum & AK-12G weapon usable in multiplayer. An advertisement revealed that the collector's editions will include a bonus multiplayer map, "Atlas Gorge", which is a remake of the map "Pipeline" from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare; an Atlas Digital Content Pack, which includes two bonus weapons, a custom character helmet, a player card, five in-game "supply drops" and a single-player upgrade token. Also included is a season pass, granting players access to four post-release map packs. Additionally, all pre-orders would be upgraded to the "Day Zero Edition", which includes 24 hours early access to the game with double XP, additional weapons and in-game items.
On November 3, 2014, Activision revealed 4 DLCs for Advanced Warfare, namely Havoc, Ascendance, Supremacy, and Reckoning. A new co-op mode, Exo Zombies, was announced on November 27, 2014, and was released alongside the Havoc DLC in January 27, 2015 for the Xbox consoles, February 26, 2015 for the PlayStation consoles, and March 3, 2015 for Microsoft Windows. The Ascendance DLC was released on March 31, 2015 for the Xbox consoles and April 30, 2015 for Microsoft Windows and the PlayStation consoles. The DLC includes 4 new maps, the second Exo Zombies map and a new grappling hook feature playlist. The third DLC of the game, Supremacy, was released on June 2, 2015 for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The DLC includes four new maps and act as a continuation to the Exo Zombies campaign. It was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 on July 2, 2015. The last DLC, Reckoning, was released for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One on August 4, 2015. It was released for the remaining platforms on September 3, 2015. The release of Reckoning on these platforms marked the end of the exclusivity deal between Activision and Microsoft.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare received positive reviews from critics upon release. Josh Harmon from Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the game a 9/10. He praised the engaging combat mechanics, coherent story (which he described as "a welcome shift for Call of Duty"), new mobility options, as well as in-depth specialisation and the multiplayer, which he described as "The deepest, most enjoyable and the most skill-based Call of Duty multiplayer to date". He also praised the futuristic gadgetry which he described as "a feature that breathes new life into the franchise". However, he criticised the single-mission level design for being similar to the previous installments, as well as a predictable, disappointing plot twist, unimpressive co-operative mode and clumsy vehicle-involved single-player mission.
Brian Albert from IGN gave the game a 9.1/10. He praised the iteration of the game set in the mid 21st century, calling it the biggest and most successful departure from what's expected in the Call of Duty series since the Modern Warfare trilogy brought the series into the 21st century. Albert gave praise to the campaign, singling out the performances of Troy Baker and Kevin Spacey in their roles as Mitchell and Jonathan Irons respectively, but criticised the campaign's hindrance of its characters' relationships and the exposition dialogue. He praised the creativity of the campaign levels, singling out certain missions that allow freedom to complete objectives. Albert gave praise to the Exo suit, while despite not having full use during the campaign, was a welcome addition for multiplayer which made it more intuitive and fun. He also mentions that the Exo suit allows him to have advantages in multiplayer that weren't possible in earlier Call of Duty titles, and mentioning that certain modes like Capture the Flag felt more intense than expected. He also praised the accelerated pace of rewards given to players who level up during multiplayer, citing supply drops of cosmetic items, new weapons and temporary perks like double experience points as examples. Albert also praised the Pick 13 System, an expansion of the Pick 10 System introduced in Call of Duty: Black Ops II, which allowed him more options and flexibility on which weapons, attachments, and score-streaks he wanted in his loadout. He also praised the addition of a firing range in the multiplayer lobby, which allowed him to test the strengths and weaknesses of his loadout.
Daniel Tack from Game Informer gave the game a 9/10, praising the unprecedented amount of fast movement, extensive multiplayer weapon customization, excellent visuals, well-executed single-player, varied multiplayer modes and distinct and interesting single-player levels, but criticizing the predictable plot conclusion and non-impactful weapon upgrades. He summarized the game as "a own special surge forward while maintaining the gunplay that makes the series fantastic."
PlayStation Lifestyle handed the game a 9/10 stating "Sledgehammer Games has given players a greater feeling of customization that goes beyond the cosmetic of an emblem and given way to random unlocks and a great number of modifications."
Ludwig Kietzmann from Joystiq gave the game a 4/5. He praised the strong selection of dense, vertically challenging multiplayer maps, three-dimensional and liberating movement, coherent and fast-paced campaign, smart storytelling, exciting and dynamic gameplay, lifelike characters and movie-like presentation, but criticised the game for being a bit similar to the previous instalments as he stated that "Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare just doesn't have the power to break through the expectations of the brand".
Miguel Concepcion from GameSpot gave the game an 8/10, praising its content-rich multiplayer, futuristic combat system, entertaining Uplink mode (a new mode introduced in Advanced Warfare), but criticising the inconsistent narrative, which he stated that "has prevented the campaign from being fully engaging", as well as shallow difficulty curve, making the co-operative mode "tedious".
The game garnered mixed reception from USgamer, awarding it with a 3.5/5 and stating "Advanced Warfare executes the formula competently while adding a handful of bells and whistles like mechs, laser cannons, and double jumps; but Sledgehammer Games seems reluctant to really cut loose and push the setting to its fullest potential, making Advanced Warfare a solid but ultimately unexciting entry in the series."
It was reported in November 2014 that US retail sales of Advanced Warfare were 27% down on 2013's Call of Duty: Ghosts. Despite the decline, Advanced Warfare was still the top selling game at US retail for 2014.
The game won the award for "Best Graphics - Technology", in IGN's Best of 2014 awards. At the 2014 NAVGTR Awards the game won two awards: Performance in a Drama, Lead (Kevin Spacey as Jonathan Irons) and Original Dramatic Score, Franchise, and received eight nominations: Writing in a Drama (Mark Boal), Use of Sound(Franchise), Graphics(Technical), Game(Franchise Action) (Glen Schofield, Michael Condrey), Direction in a Game Cinema, Character Design, Art Direction(Contemporary) and Animation, Technical. It also won the award for "Outstanding Realtime Visuals in a videogame at the 2015 Visual Effects Society Awards. It received nominations at The Game Awards, the 2015 British Academy Games Awards, 2015 DICE Awards, and the 2015 Golden Joystick Awards. It was nominated for the eSports Game of the Year Award at The Game Awards 2015.
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