Okay, so that “OMG!” is in a weird position for me. It’s both sarcastic and positive at the same time. The sarcastic part is, “Oh look, there’s a trailer for yet another Call of Duty annual instalment.” The positive is, “Oh yes, Kevin Spacey is in it!” I am, at this point, completely ignoring the fact that they state the footage is from Xbox One – I really don’t care about the graphics.
Will it be self-aware?
The whole spiel Kevin Spacey’s character is giving in the trailer that’s been released, to me, quite compelling. It brings me hope that maybe, just maybe Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare might look at the issues of countries like America (and even the UK) being involved in conflicts outside of their nation and how it affects things like “democracy”, (which Spacey’s character mentions six times in the first half of the trailer). It would be good if, for once, we had a Call of Duty game that examined the imperialism and colonialism issues raised by nations entering into armed conflict within other nations.
I’m letting myself hope that it will be this level of self-awareness of the issue and that the single-player campaign goes to pains to examine it from multiple angles and doesn’t declare for either side of the argument. I’m hoping for something that takes these issues and doesn’t try to go all black and white like last year’s Splinter Cell: Black List did. The role of Kevin Spacey’s character in the game appears to be that of an antagonistic force in charge of a private security firm. I’d like to think that Spacey accepted the role after reading the script and finding that the game will be taking a balanced look at the effects of trying to “export democracy”.
Was that a female character I saw there, deploying some kind of tri-copter? Having been tempted by Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer option of playing as a female avatar, I am really hoping that Sledgehammer, who are developing this game for Activision, have taken the next step towards gender balance and included a part of the single-player campaign where you play as a female character.
But at this point I start to feel like I am hoping for too much. Gender inclusiveness and a look at US foreign policy framed with more insight than many mainstream North American entertainment products normally contain? These are aspects to the narrative that if they were explored, would convince me to sit through a single-player campaign for the first time since Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
It feels kind of crazy that I’m wishing for these kinds of aspects in a CoD title, but the series has been going for so long now and has had so many iterations that I think it’s had enough time to consider how it could be more representative of reality. A part of me wants Activision to take what would be considered a bit of a market risk and make something that’s more Spec Ops: The Line, story wise, than the series’ previous iterations.
As it looks like this game is new-gen and PC only, it’ll be another title I could possibly be adding to my list of “new stuff I’d like to play, but need to upgrade for”. But the only way I’d be convinced to fork out for a new system based on this game alone is if it has one or both of the narrative elements I’ve talked about in this post. I don’t really care about multiplayer, unless it’s local co-op, so that will never sell me on buying this game.
Only a solid, representative narrative will convince me that it’d be worth investing in new-gen AAA for this game’s sake. And even though Microsoft’s systems tend to be the preferred platform for CoD, I’d probably go Sony and PlayStation 4, because they haven’t done any serious gaffes yet where they’ve alienated my gender in their advertising. Though I’m still unhappy about the lack of acknowledgement overall to gamers who identify as female in marketing for consoles by either company.
Still there’s 4 May to find out whether my hopes will be dashed early.