Battalion: 1944 Game Developers Speculate That Call of Duty Could Return To WW2

Call of Duty, World at War (2008) . Photo Credit

Calling all gamers: With May approaching speculation is increasing concerning Call of Duty games that are traditionally announced in that month.  One question is begging an answer: in what direction will Activision’s epic shooter go after a sojourn exploring the sci-fi depths of space in Infinite Warfare? According to a team of British developers, the answer is World War 2. So is Call of Duty about to make a full circle?

Bulkhead Interactive developers are engaged in the making of Battalion 1944; a game influenced by the initial days of Infinity Ward’s first series, and so has kept an eagle eye on their competitors.  By following the movements of Call of Duty’s creators they have discovered some tangible clues.

In the middle of 2014, a Call of Duty designer was in Berlin taking many photos of various notable Second World War buildings, explained Joe Brammer, Bulkhead’s executive producer. Mid-2014 would align perfectly into a timeline for reference gathering.  So why not tour Berlin for an overwhelming Russian mission in the single–player operation?  Brammer points out, Call of Duty has often utilized real-world locations, be it the Reichstag in the World at War, or regions of San Francisco in Advanced Warfare.

Bulkhead put forth other arguments – the photos could be of assistance in recreating the Germany of the 1940’s. Within one to two months of traveling to Berlin, the same level designer was tweeting that he had been playing a substantial amount of COD1 (Not Modern Warfare), Brammer said. This was of substantial interest to Bulkhead because it begged the question: are they doing a Halo: Master Chief Collection-style remaster?

Whether it is a new World War 2-set game or a Call of Duty remaster, Bulkhead believes that Activision is preparing the groundwork for participants to accept the 1940’s setting.  The Call of Duty Warchest, composed of the first two games and the United Offensive extension, has been selling almost every month since September of last year; possible evidence that Activision is attempting to rekindle interest in Second World War games, and Call of Duty 2 was made backward compatible last August on Xbox One

Activision also seems to be making hints suggesting a revisit to World War.  During the fourth quarter 2016 results conference call, the publisher’s chief operating officer, Thomas Tippl said it is obvious that for a section of their audience, the space setting didn’t really hold ground anymore, later adding that traditional combat will return to center stage. In the performance slides for the conference, there’s a message saying the 2017 title will return Call of Duty to its beginnings. That is a convincing suggestion that 2017’s Call of Duty will be armed with MG42’s and Thompsons.

Of benefit to Activision, Electronic Arts started grabbing people’s interest in period warfare. Set during World War One, Battlefield was a great success. Brammer is of the opinion this is an indication that the industry is a circle, and it is on the second lap.  He thinks that for the first time the industry is repeating itself in much the same way fashion does.

Shooters started with futuristic space vibes with DOOM, System Shock and Duke Nukem. Then they continued with Enemy Territory and Call of Duty. This was then followed by zombies and modern day conflicts, and indie games taking them back to the beginning with platformers, Brammer explained.  He thinks they are just inside the initial loop of the video game business that has taken three decades to occur.

The advantage of the cycle is that when they return to the games of yesteryear, improvements are inevitable thanks to learning previous lessons. Resurgence in WWII games could be a vast improvement over those from 2005. Brammer believes the cinematic experience [Call of Duty] has been able to make with motion capture, well–known actors, and good storylines that are more than shooting lines of enemies.

The emotional tales brought out of a WWII setting joined with cinematic experiences from recent titles, could be impressive, he said.

If Call of Duty is returning to the Second World War, do not anticipate it to feel like COD 2. The series has changed substantially since then despite the setting and is probably designed to cater to modern audiences. That is good news for Bulkhead whose plans differ from Call of Duty by being influenced by old school design.

Their prime goal throughout Battalion 1944’s design procedure has been to re-create an old-school shooter, Brammer explained.  Players looking for World War Two specifically will receive their fix. For a game that has the feel of those old school variety, Battalion is the one.

By old school, Brammer means more than control over aim and one–to–one motion.  Mix that feel of the game with the WW2 theme and bolt-action rifles, and you have a skill–based and penetrating first–person shooter, PCGamesN reported.

He said their plan for Battalion is to have it become the successor that fans of the original Call of Duty series deserve.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE