The wait is finally over. We now have a ton of information about 2021’s Call of Duty game – Vanguard. Developed by Sledgehammer Games, the game is set during World War II, just like the developer’s previous outing with the franchise. As we’ve come to expect from the annual franchise, players will be able to enjoy a single-player campaign and some multiplayer goodness as well.
Call of Duty: Vanguard – Single player campaign
As we’ve said above, the game will take place during World War II. According to the developer, players will “Experience pivotal WWII battles through the untold stories of multinational heroes that formed Task Force One, changing the face of history and setting the stage for Special Forces as we know it.” The single-player narrative features a group of four soldiers “from diverse backgrounds, who rise together in combat to turn the tides of war”.
We got to see the campaign in action and calling the action intense would be an understatement. I was personally reminded of the rush I felt when I played Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare back on my Xbox 360 and that can only be a good sign. Speaking of Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Vanguard uses the next generation Call of Duty engine, which we saw in action on 2019’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. This means we can expect some stunning visuals for the game on PS5 (review), Xbox Series X (review) and PC.
Call of Duty: Vanguard – Multiplayer
While the single-player story in a Call of Duty game is fun, the glue that keeps you hooked to the game is multiplayer. At launch, players will be able to delve deep into 20 multiplayer maps. One of the new multiplayer modes gamers will be able to experience is the fast and frenetic Champion Hill mode. Stay tuned for more details on this new take on online multiplayer FPS action. Zombie mode will be back in COD: Vanguard as well.
After checking out Call of Duty: Vanguard in action, we had some questions about the game and we got answers from David Swenson, Campaign Creative Director, Sledgehammer Games, Aaron Halon, Studio Head, Sledgehammer Games and Josh Bridge, Game Director, Sledgehammer Games.
Will Call of Duty Vanguard run at 60fps on the current-gen consoles (PS5 and Xbox Series X) and what about the old consoles?
Josh: Yes. We feel that 60fps is the baseline for the expectations for the core feel of the game and want to make sure that’s experienced on any platform.
Will Vanguard support next-gen features like adaptive trigger and haptic feedback on DuelSense controllers?
Josh: Yes, we will be drafting off what Black Ops Cold War did. We really love the DualSense and the sense of immersion that it gives you. It just feels like a great extension of feeling like you’re actually feeling the game more.
The demo footage had some nice smoke and fog particles. Are they just for the campaign? Or does multiplayer have them as well?
Josh: We talked a lot about the sense of immersion and it being a filmic blockbuster, that’s really the DNA of the game. The whole team – doesn’t matter which mode – just wanted to just go for this overall because it just feels so much more visceral and exciting. It pays off; the feeling of the power of the weapon, just feels more real and like you’re there. So this means that for multiplayer, all of the particles and the VFX are there. We even have a technology system that we call the combat fog that is sensing you shooting in a room and thus the room becomes foggier. Yes, it actually challenges visibility, but that ends up being part of the game. When you’re lighting up a room, that’s actually how it would feel. So you feel more connected and you feel more there.
During the demo, we could see that the character was leaning. Can we perform lean only from the edge of the wall or anywhere?
Josh: We invest a lot in the moment-to-moment feel of gunplay, and what we want to do is have more tactical options. When you’re playing the game, you obviously want to avoid being shot, and take cover, so we have evolved this to something we call moving mounts – where you can mount onto horizontal surfaces and slide around and shoot, as well as mount on vertical surfaces, so you can peek and shoot around. We like it a lot and find that it adds that other layer of choice in the moment-to-moment for players, whether in the campaign or in multiplayer.
What is the reason for choosing WWII to be featured in Vanguard?
Josh: Any game that we make comes with absolute passion, and the team always wants to go after something that we want to build a game experience out of. For us, we’re huge fans of the era. We also found that, based on the experiences that we’ve seen and found before, we felt like we were onto something new here that just hasn’t been delivered before. It’s a different take of WWII which still honours and respects the era and the battles, but this notion of the beginning and the birth of Special Forces is exciting. We also felt like this was exciting as a baton toss to the Call of Duty franchise – this was the origins of it all type of feeling. Like, what were the origins of Task Force 141, for example.
How did the team do research on this game’s theme?
David: We’re really fortunate to be a team full of passionate developers. So many members of the team are huge WWII enthusiasts. You go into various individuals’ offices and you can see that – one of the sound guys just has books and books and books about WWII all lining the walls, so there are a lot of passionate developers on the team. We’re also fortunate to have partnered with lots of amazing consultants, and it’s really important to have these partners because we wanted to be accurate. We wanted to be authentic. We didn’t want to just jump on the Internet and find quick answers that may or may not be right; we wanted to make sure we were right. So we have Marty Morgan as one of our historical advisors, and he is just a walking encyclopedia of WWII. He helped to run the WWII museum in New Orleans, and he just knows the areas, he’s been to all these locations, and he was able to show us photographs, tell us stories about the individuals and what the locations looked like. In addition to just understanding the history for each of the characters, we want to make sure we’re being authentic to the voice of each character. We have Tochi Onyebuchi, our writer for Arthur Kingsley, and he’s fantastic. His amazing brain brought so many insights to Arthur that we wouldn’t otherwise have. And we do that for each of our characters; we have some amazing women on our creative team who write for Polina Petrova and help to bring that perspective and that voice to it. So, a lot of opportunities that we’ve pulled from amazing talent and amazing partners have helped us create a world that’s authentic. Again, it’s a fictional story, but for that to be believable, to be immersive, we had to strive for it to be authentic and true to what people would expect from a WWII experience.