Call of Duty: WWII - Activision's oracle was right

“Another World War II game” is what gamers would have said a little less than a decade ago, had Sledgehammer Games announced Call of Duty: WWII back then. But in 2017 Call of Duty fans — and shooter fans in general — seem to be relieved.

Last year, when Infinity Ward, the original CoD developer (although not in this form) announced Infinite Warfare, people showed their discontent by disliking the announcement trailer on YouTube.

Usually Call of Duty trailers get a lot of love from the fans and hate from Battlefield fans, but gamers were tired of futuristic shooters and that reached its climax last year. Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision, CoD’s publisher, told Polygon he thinks Infinite Warfare was a fun and good game, but also “that it might have been the wrong game at the wrong moment in terms of getting that rhythm right with the audience and with the culture.”

Getting that rhythm right is one of the hardest things for Hirshberg and his teams at Activsion, where essentially is decided what kind of Call of Duty game gamers will play in 3 years. If they get it wrong, they get Infinite Warfare-like results. If they get it right — in this case in 2014 —   the response will be like now with WWII.

Last year, Electronic Arts got it right with Battlefield 1, which took players to Great War battles all over the world. Its singleplayer campaign existed out of multiple stories of heroes through which the epic scale and brutality of WWI was told. That war is a little less known to videogames. WWII has been done many times and by the looks of it CoD WWII is not going to avoid well known events like D-Day.

It remains to be seen how such events can be viewed from a new perspective, but perhaps that’s not even wrong. For a lot of people this game will be the first time they experience WWII. People who were babies when Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers were released.

For CoD, it can also be a new WWII starting point, with next games possibly taking place during the North African or Pacific campaigns. Hirshberg already made that decision. Hacksaw Ridge and Dunkirk will undoubtedly help him this time, but in a few years time we’ll see if his oracle was right again.
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