I like to think that as a species, we enjoy romanticising the past. Especially if said past had a touch of war in it. World War Two however, still feels like a recent piece of history that doesn’t need a touch of embellishment to document properly. The greatest (and most terrible) war ever fought on our planet, this was a global conflict that very much was a tale of good vs evil. Of how so many nations marched under the Axis banner of a madman, leaving the rest of civilisation to arm up and hold the line.

It’s also the theme of Call of Duty this year, as developer Sledgehammer games has taken the franchise back to its gritty roots. The forests of Verdunn, the beaches of Normandy and the ruins of Europe. There’s a story to be told there, one that shaped human history and that we’re still uncovering to this day. “The second world war goes beyond all boundaries in every category,” historian Martin K.A Morgan said in a new mini-documentary describing the tone of Call of Duty: WW2.

COD WW2 (3)

We see more nations involved in a single conflict, we have seen casualties higher than ever before. Just a generation before, at the end of the first World War, the Great War, they didn’t call it World War One because they didn’t expect anything like this to ever happen again. And a generation later, something happens that’s even bigger and even worse in so many ways.

World War Two may have seen a technological jump forwards compared to the battles that happened decades earlier, but it was still a dirty war that had soldiers relying on something that a machine could never replace. Each other. “Every part of this game has been researched and nuanced and studied and scanned and photographed,” Sledgehammer games studio head Glen Schofield said.

COD WW2 (2)

We really really tried to get the respect and the details right. Brotherhood, camaraderie, the guy next to me. That became the theme for our game.

“For story, it weaves in and out of real historical events. We’ve gone to great pains to recreate those authentic battles,”Creative Director Bret Robbins added.

One of the biggest things we wanted to get across was a sense of camaraderie. Hopefully players will walk away from this story feeling like they really know these guys, and they care about them. By creating a very believable environment, it allows the player to slip into this world.

Visually however? Sledgehammer wanted to convey a sense of what they referred to as “emotionally dark”. “The vision for the art direction, we call dark and beautiful,” art director Joe Salud said.

It was emotionally dark, visually beautiful. More than being just cool and pretty, it’s about getting people to have deeper emotional reactions to the game.

Call of Duty: WW2 is out on November 3, just in time for me to fight my own battle of the bulge after winter hibernation ends.

Last Updated: May 4, 2017


  1. Gavin Mannion

    May 4, 2017 at 08:32

    Factoid for the day, the guys at Sledgehammer are wrong in their opening when they say that they didn’t call “The Great War” World War 1 because they expected nothing like it would happen again.

    In fact it was called World War 1 all the way back in 1914

    The term “First World War” was first used in September 1914 by the German biologist and philosopher Ernst Haeckel, who claimed that “there is no doubt that the course and character of the feared ‘European War’ … will become the first world war in the full sense of the word,

    Unfortunately even back then we knew that humanity was full of shit and it would happen again. If humans really could learn from the past then we wouldn’t have Trump as the leader of America and Zuma as the leader of SA.. Humanity is stupid and will forever repeat the sins of the past.

    ON TOP OF THAT… I despise the fact that they called World War 2 “The greatest war” in the video. Yes I know they mean the biggest and largest etc not greatest as in the best… but it riles me.. WW2 was a tragedy on a scale that we’d never seen before. There was nothing great about it.

    Old man rant over..


    • Jim of the Banana

      May 4, 2017 at 08:47

      Listen to this crusty old bastard! He’s speaking the truth!


  2. Pieter Kruger

    May 4, 2017 at 10:11

    Probably won’t get this. At it’s core it’ll probably still be a twitch shooter with wall running, quick scoping and experimental Nazi jet packs or Spear of Destiny super weapons thrown in no matter how “authentic” they say it’ll be…….


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