Call of Duty 2014 wishlist: what Sledgehammer needs to win the new-gen war

By Dave Cook, Wednesday, 16 April 2014 08:05 GMT

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Call of Duty 2014 may or may not be Modern Warfare 4, but that’s not all that important. What is important is that Sledgehammer Games delivers a standalone debut worthy of the Infinity Ward glory days, and proves to the world that Activision’s franchise can happily exist in the new generation. Dave Cook gets entitled and demands some features.

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”We heard rumours that Modern Warfare 4 will be set in the near-future, and that the hero has a Black Ops-style PDA device strapped to his wrist. I kind of like that, given the space a technologically advanced setting would allow Sledgehammer to chuck in some neat gadgets and toys to keep things fresh.”

Yeah, OK, so Call of Duty: Ghosts isn’t really doing it for me, but I’m still a fan of the series. I think I’m holding on to the hope that Treyarch’s next entry which – fingers crossed is Black Ops 3 – manages to set everything right again. I prefer that studio’s games over Infinity Ward’s any day of the week, but I’m intrigued about the new contender in town, Sledgehammer Games.

I’ve long-theorised that Sledgehammer’s absence after its work on Modern Warfare 3 was due to it crafting the first properly next-gen Call of Duty, and as it happened I was right. But what is this new, mystery game? We’ve heard a few rumours that it’s the fourth entry to Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare series, but when I sit down and actually think about it, where else could that brand go?

Makarov’s kaput, Price has surely used up all of his nine lives and Soap’s now languishing in mohawk heaven. There’s every probability that Sledgehammer has devised a new Modern Warfare arc with a fresh cast and plot, but to be honest I’d be really worried if the studio announced with yet another ‘America saves the world against rogue nation X storyline’ set in the present day. That shit’s getting old, no joke.

Back in March we heard rumours that Modern Warfare 4 will be set in the near-future, a bit like the Ghost Recon series, and that the hero has a Black Ops-style PDA device strapped to his wrist. I kind of like that, given the space a technologically advanced setting would allow Sledgehammer to chuck in some neat gadgets and toys to keep things fresh. As long as there’s not another fucking rappelling section I’ll be happy.

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Right you, come on now…

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Come on mate a joke’s a joke eh…

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You’re all a bunch of dicks. Rappelling dicks.

Rumours are all well and good for stoking the speculation fire, but rather than natter on about what we think we know, I thought I’d approach this blank page therapy-style and just scribble down a list of what it would take for me – a long-time Call of Duty fan – to be won over after the wobble that was Ghosts. Sledgehammer’s Glen Schofield has said that his team’s game is the, “most ambitious, most creative game we’ve ever made,” so I’m going with that line to theorise about where that innovation might lie.

First-up, let’s talk about this Sledgehammer Games job advert that came out in March. The role descriptor makes mention of a weather systems, which lead me to believe that Call of Duty is about to go down the sandbox route.

”Don’t forget that Sledgehammer Games was initially comprised of former Visceral Games members. Those guys made Dead Space, a title that had a ‘sort-of’ open environment on board the USG Ishimura. That derelict ship had so much character and tension; a real sense of place.”

You guys like your shooters with corridors right? No, of course you don’t, so imagine just how expansive a new Call of Duty game could be if it went open world, or at least broad-scale like Battlefield: Bad Company 2. That theory is backed up the job post’s mention of vehicle destruction tech and environmental effects.

This could be a tenuous link, but I’d like to see what Sledgehammer could do with a big locations that can be traversed in a manner of destructible vehicles that need to be protected lest they get destroyed, forcing you to proceed on foot.

Picture this: you start off in a friendly base for some form of debriefing, then hop in an armoured jeep with three of your co-op buddies, before driving to a story mission or side-quest. You park up next to an enemy installation after fending off a few attacks from grunts on the road, then disembark to storm the place classic Call of Duty style. I’m sure none of this will happen in the final product but that, right there, is something I’d happily pay for. It’d be a ballsy, new direction for the series.

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