Call of Duty has a new full-fledged developer. Sledgehammer Games is now part of a trinity of game developers that will be creating an annual Call of Duty title, freeing up more time each game maker has to create its respective sequel. Right now, Infinity Ward has the Ghosts series set in the near future; Treyarch could conceivably continue the Black Ops series (which is also set in the near future). With the CoD series spanning wars from World War II to the future, we have to ask, "What setting will Sledgehammer take for its new game?"
As far as wars involving guns go, Call of Duty has most of the major ones covered. It's hard to imagine what new trail in modern-ish warfare Sledgehammer could blaze. But I've come up with a list of possible settings Call of Duty could tackle, and all of them have the potential to be awesome. Where should Call of Duty go next? Read on.
Black Ops may have dabbled in the Vietnam War, but that was all behind-the-scenes, secret operative stuff. We still haven't experienced the conflict from the perspective of the average soldier holding his own in the jungles of 'Nam. Some of the greatest moments from the old WWII games in the CoD series came from being a participant in the massive, famous battles from history, and now I think it's time that Vietnam gets the same treatment.
What's most interesting about setting Sledgehammer's game in Vietnam is that the jungle environment and enemy Viet Kong tactics could make for some intense engagements. Enemies could use guerrilla tactics in the jungle, hitting your squad in the middle of a patrol, then disappearing into their dug-in hideouts. But there wouldn't be a lack of huge battles. The Battle of Hamburger Hill was one of the most hard-fought and tragic of the war. And while a CoD version of the battle could be one of the most epic missions ever, showcasing conflicts like these could give the developer a chance to show how much war actually, really sucks.
Look, I know that this is pushing CoD close to the Halo zone of FPSs, but going into outer space and having futuristic weaponry isn't too farfetched for the series. In previous Call of Duty games, players have already spent some time floating around in space, shooting zombies on the moon, and getting their hands on super-advanced tech. Sledgehammer could make bringing CoD to a far--but perceivably realistic--future a setting that could work.
So far, the series has taken us almost as far as the year 2030, which really isn't that far into the future. What would really be interesting would be to go into the distant future, perhaps 100 years, when the world would be almost unrecognizable. Maybe in the future, new tensions will rise between nations (anything to make it so that we won't have to fight Russians again). Advanced technology could give players more gadgets to play with, and soldiers won't be shooting bullets anymore. If Sledgehammer wants to differentiate its game from all of the others, a radically changed future would be a surefire setting to distinguish yet another CoD.
Ok, this one is a long shot--but hey, soldiers aren't the only ones who answer the call of duty. Drug-soaked streets and heavily-armed thugs can make city streets a warzone. Why not put players in the role of a Special Weapons and Tactics officer on the mean streets of cities around the world? Better yet, make the world some sort of alternate universe in which the law is outnumbered and failing, and criminals rule the cities with an iron fist. But, uh, different from Judge Dredd.
Playing a police officer could have features parallel with what other Call of Duty titles have. You could work as a team to take down a murderous drug lord and his cartel, losing your beloved squadmates to police corruption and betrayal. The police could get state-of-the-art equipment, like drones and weapons, to help in tense hostage standoffs. There certainly wouldn't be any missed opportunities to breach doors here and there. Sounds like a perfect fit to me.
Completely take over Treyarch's Zombies world
Treyarch created a monster when it introduced it's Nazi Zombies mode in World at War. The wave-based horde mode got so big that Black Ops 2's Zombies was a full open-world. But where can Zombies go from here? How about the undead shamblers get their own developer, say Sledgehammer, and get their own full blown, full-featured game with a story, multiplayer, and, of course, classic Zombies mode.
Zombies has been so successful that I wouldn't be surprised if Activision decided to put a dedicated developer behind the concept. Players could follow a ragtag group of survivors as they attempt to stay alive in the undead-infested world, raiding other survivor camps, defending their base, and moving around an even larger open-world. There could even be a multiplayer mode in which players use the outlandish Zombies mode weapons against each other. It would be a silly contrast to the other CoD's more serious wartime tales and settings. But really, I just want to vaporize an opposing team with the Wunderwaffe.
World War II
Yeah, I know. World War II has been completely done to death, but that was last, last-gen. We haven't seen a true WWII game in some time now, and in all seriousness, I think I'm ready to get back into shooting-up Nazis again. The second World War was one of the most famous wars in history, but it still can be seen from many more perspectives than have already been presented in games.
The other positive about bringing back the World War II era is that this is the chance to see war-torn Europe in all its next-gen visual glory. Imagine storming the beaches of Normandy with thousands of soldiers running by your side getting blown to mulch, or manning a sniper nest in the besieged city of Stalingrad. You've played those levels already--but imagine them with all the next-gen particles you could shake a rifle at.
What setting do you want to see?
That's my wishlist for the settings I would like to see Sledgehammer's CoD create. Do you have any settings you want to see the next Call of Duty be set in? Let me know your suggestions in the comments below.