Meanwhile the other player covers him and handles the infantry, at one point using a flamethrower to set fire to a huge field of corn, scorching several ghillie-suited Japanese soldiers and grimacing at their pained screams. The blowtorch certainly has a Return to Castle Wolfenstein feel (understandable, as many of the staff from Gray Matter – RTCW’s developer – are now working at Treyarch), but now has more practical uses in its ability to set fire to trees and any hidden snipers, as well as spreading between soldiers that are touching or are too close to each other.
Moving on from the farmland, the pair hurries up a hill and faces a group of soldiers holed up in a building, using a handheld mortar to flush them out. Said building, being of a destructible ilk, is shattered, and the explosion throws two worried-looking Japanese soldiers arse-over-tit accompanied by a pile of physics-enabled rubble. Not a pleasant end. No time for a breather though as seconds later a low-flying plane screams through player two’s vision, snapping power cables and crashing in a wall of flames that engulfs a passing tank. You couldn’t imagine a scene that sings from the CoD hymn sheet with as much gusto.
These days it’s become corny to even say that WWII is a road that has been heavily-trod previously – it’s something that everyone says and everyone thinks. However, the CoD4 engine, along with the new environment, has led Treyarch to believe they are creating a genuinely exhilarating experience out of source material thought long-since bled dry. “My hope is that players reading about this will realise that you’re not going back to WWII – you haven’t been here before. That’s how we’re making this game. It’s a realistic, true-to-events game that we’re taking in a direction that no-one’s ever seen,” grins Lamia. Heller steps away from the controls and nods. “When we chose the name ‘World at War,’ we wanted to make it clear that this was WWII and that we were going to re-establish the genre much like CoD4 did. Infinity Ward set a high bar, and we’re going to set the same bar for WWII gaming.”
Another help is that they’re using the multiplayer from Call of Duty 4, right down to the matchmaking and the excellent leveling-up system that makes playing CoD4 online so engrossing. WaW also has a new attachments system, allowing guns to be realistically modified (e.g. bipods can be connected to machine guns, letting you to lean the gun on a wall to make an accurate turret). Players will also have dedicated vehicle-based games, including some in specially made vehicle-only combat zones. Treyarch are promising great things, but they’re keeping mum about them for now. Rumour is that you’ll be able to use the LVT – an amphibious transport vehicle – to sneak up on people from the water.