Grant Collier relaxes prior to COD4's autumn release.
If ever there was a game franchise that seemed to be settling into a comfortable middle age of pipe, slippers and increasing obscurity, it was Activision’s Call of Duty
. After the first one redefined what we expect from WWII shooters, and the second saved Microsoft’s bacon when the Xbox 360 launched (how distant that seems now), the third instalment seemed to mark the beginning of a terminal decline. Developed by Treyarch, rather than originator Infinity Ward, it smacked of me-tooism.
But Call of Duty 4
demonstrates that you shouldn’t take anything for granted. For starters, the wonderful Infinity Ward is back at the helm. But, more startlingly, it isn’t even going to be a World War II game – confirming what we’ve long believed, that WWII has been milked by the games industry for every last drop of what it’s worth, and probably more besides.
Activision held a press event recently at a London hotel to introduce the game to us Brits, with Infinity Ward’s head honcho Grant Collier, an engaging and honest sort of chap, describing how different it was to make a game for hardware which actually exists (Call of Duty 2
first Xbox 360 game), and how storyline becomes important when you’re fighting an enemy that isn’t obviously evil to everybody. Earlier, Collier’s demo confirmed that Call of Duty 4
will more than replicate the fiercely intense gameplay of Call of Duty 1
– although we didn’t see enough of the storyline to gauge whether it will also engage you emotionally. This is what Collier had to say.
Call of Duty 4
So now that Call of Duty
is no longer a WWII game, how will it differentiate itself from the other modern combat games out there?
I have to say that I think that Call of Duty
-style games have never really been replicated. We’ve been around for about six years now, and I’ve never seen a single game, in a single setting that gives you that same type of cinematic, intense combat, where you’re surrounded by a really life-like squad, and there’s a real push for immersion, to have the player believe.
When you’re surrounded by a squad, but you’re not having to tell them what to do, you mean?
Like stopping time, and ordering them around. I’m not necessarily putting those sorts of games down – they are very, very good games and we are fans of them, but the experience you get from Call of Duty
is very unique and, I think, different from them. We’re not necessarily going to take consumers away from those games; we’re just going to be adding another element to the modern genre.