Activision and Treyarch were showing off part of the first mission from the newly announced Call of Duty: World at War at Microsoft's Games for Windows event in San Francisco yesterday.
The game uses the Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare engine and it shows.Treyarch has done a great job utilizing the new engine with some amazing looking art. Not having to build an engine has given them the time they needed to make sure the models, textures, and effects look great in the CoD4 engine.
Call of Duty: World at War Reveal Trailer
In the first level, the player finds himself captured by Japanese soldiers on an island facing an imminent execution at the hands of the enemy. The player is free to look around with the mouse while their squadmate’s throat is slit in a brutally great scene.
Just before you are executed, you are saved by the rest of your squad, cut free, handed a gun, and set on a mission of clearing out the Japanese soldiers from a fishing village.
The demo that Treyarch showed was short, but sweet. They definitely learned something from Infinity Ward and the scenes painted in the demo were full of great scripted moments that helped differentiate the particularly brutal combat seen in the Pacific Campaign of World War II from the Nazi's seen in most WWII games.
One particular moment saw two American soldiers arguing about what to do with a captured Japanese soldier. The argument lasts about 10 seconds before one of the soldiers just shoots the prisoner.
In this early level, the combat moved quickly and the focus seemed to be on set pieces. This is much closer to Call of Duty 4 than Call of Duty 3, Treyarch’s last effort. I cannot speak for the rest of the game, but what they showed felt like CoD4 set in WWII.
One set piece saw the use of flares to illuminate and ambush a group of enemy soldiers. The flare bursts and the screen is coated in a bright white light that sharply contrasts the dark jungle. The enemies are caught by surprise and taken down easily. One even tried to throw a grenade back, but was too late and ended up with a face full of frag.
While, they were not showing off multiplayer or co-op I was able to squeeze a good amount of details out of them.
Multiplayer & Co-Op Details
First, rest assured that Call of Duty: World at War will utilize Call of Duty 4’s perk system complete with unlocks and prestige levels. They are also building upon the system. Remember, the game is still in development and these new features are not final.
Treyarch talked about “squad perks”, which will allow players to give bonuses to their teammates as long as they remain close. However, there will not be a squad system like in the Battlefield franchise. They confirmed vehicles in multiplayer and “vehicle perks” to go with them. At this game, there are land and sea vehicles in the game.
They are also going to include maps made specifically for multiplayer, which don’t include pieces from the singleplayer game. If you recall, most of Call of Duty 4’s multiplayer maps come directly from the singleplayer campaign. Player limits are the same as Call of Duty 4.
As for co-op play, the game will support 2 players on a console and up to 4 players total using the internet. Players will also gain experience toward unlocks in co-op, but they are doing their best to make sure the system cannot be abused.
It sounds like the extra time Treyarch got to make Call of Duty: World of War is paying off. They have a big act to follow, but they seem up to the challenge. They also tell me they’ve been playing a lot of Call of Duty 4 multiplayer as “research”.
Call of Duty: World at War releases on the PC, PlayStation 3 PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, Wii, and Nintedo DS this fall. Expect to see more on the game at E3 2008.