E3 2017: Back to Basics for Call of Duty

E3 gives us a first look at how Sledgehammer Games is making rewarding changes and taking Call of Duty back to basics.

Many players were relieved to hear that Activision would be taking their shooter franchise back to its roots after the disappointment of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Activision’s constantly trying to one-up each of its titles left many players feeling that the franchise had fallen to more flash over substance. We are still months away from the game’s release but slowing more details have become available we have more and more reason to be excited.

There is a lot to be excited about in Call of Duty: WWII. With a strong narrative focus on brotherhood, the Sledgehammer team will take players to key WWII battles. They have already confirmed that there will not be an Axis mission within the campaign but they would include female soldiers appropriate to the period. Zombies will also be back. Sledgehammer saying their focus will be on gritty and realistic carnage.

It looks great and after Battlefield’s successful return to period gameplay Call of Duty fans are primed to have their franchise revitalized by taking it back to basics. This week at E3 we got our first look at Sledgehammer’s approach to multiplayer and the changes they are making to the tradition gameplay structure that will hopefully breath new life into the franchise.

New Team Focus

Sledgehammer has added a new objective-based mode where players attack and defend key strategic objectives. This new mode dubbed “War” relies on teamwork and focuses on completing objectives rather than a single player’s KDR. The team says that this mode is “narrative-driven” and will utilize different maps based on WWII battles.

The gameplay at the show focused on securing and rebuilding a bridge in order to succeed but the objects will evolve as you progress and change based on the conflict. The media push at E3 focused on War but classic modes such as Team Death Match aren’t going anywhere.

A Reworked Create a Class

The create a class function has been reworked into 5 divisions, which will each feature “division training” to help specialize your soldier. This training replaces the previous perk system. The five divisions are Infantry, Airborne, Mountain, Armored, and Expeditionary. Each division has it’s own combat specialty with unique division training (perks), show in-game screenshots here.

The change seems largely cosmetic as the divisions still very much correspond classic Call of Duty classes. The Infantry are well-rounded riflemen, Airborne carry SMGs, Mountain troops specialize in distance weapons like sniper rifles, Armored is your heavy defense LMG class, and expeditionary wield shotguns and tactical grenades.

The team hopes this streamlined class system “gives players the ability to reinforce their individual play styles.” From what we have seen the new system particularly compliments the new War mode where players have reported that the objective-based tactics reward players who can play to their class strengths. Teams who use their classes effectively will have more success than those who focus on run and gun tactics.


The team has faithfully recreated WWII era weapons, making sound and respond as accurately as possible. This does mean that there are no more gravity grenades or laser weapons but the guns have a satisfying a pop as you play. Online weapons will not be restricted to era-appropriate factions. Whether you play on the Axis or Allied side you will have access to the same collection of firearms.

Although all classes will be able to pick and use any weapon certain abilities linked to Division training will only be available to specific divisions. The Bayonet charge, for instance, is only available to Infantry troops.

Scorestreaks are still part of the game and have undergone tuning of their own to match the WWII era. Players will substitute recon planes for UAVs and get to call in special weapons like flamethrowers when they meet the minimum point requirements.


Another big change in Call of Duty: WWII is the introduction of Headquarters. This evolution of the player lobby allows up to 48 players to exist in a neutral territory where they can “compete, earn rewards, show off their accomplishments, and connect with fans and friends.” Within Headquarters players can challenge each other to one on one matches and compete at the firing range.

This staging area will allow players to show off to one another or presumably just hang out. Sledgehammer wants Headquarters to “redefine” how players engage with the game but it remains to be seen if players will be as interested. It could be a great space for popular online personalities to hold events and interact with their fans.

When Can You Try For Yourself

Assuming you were not lucky enough to be at E3 this week you may be wondering when you can take this new Call of Duty for a spin. If you preorder a copy for PS4 you will receive a code to play the closed beta August 25-28, 2017.  If you don’t have a PS4 or just don’t believe in pre-ordering games you will have to wait… a whole week. PS4 and Xbox One players will have access to the beta the following week September 1-4, 2017.

Are Sledgehammer and Activision hitting the right marks this time around?

This article first appeared on DVSGaming.org

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