Following the disappointment of Call of Duty: Ghosts, a game that retreaded the shooting franchise's familiar themes, Activision knows it must deliver a genuinely fresh blockbuster with this year's Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
Its development studio Sledgehammer Games is viewed as wielding an opportunity to try something that feels original, without stepping away from the play-style that has made Call of Duty one of the most successful game series' of all time.
Sledgehammer, formed in 2009, has been given three years and ample resources to do the job. The team was founded by some of the senior creators behind sci-fi horror shooter Dead Space, and is made up of 225 people from studios as diverse as Valve, Naughty Dog and Crystal Dynamics.
According to co-founder Michael Condrey, massive resources have been brought to the project. "With three years and a new engine and a new generation of hardware and a new brand, you'll see this is not the same old Call of Duty," he told GamesBeat. "This has the scale and the scope of the equivalent of four Hollywood movies in it. It has hundreds of hours of multiplayer gameplay. It has full cooperative mode. It takes an army of industry vets to create this kind of content."
In Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, set for release on Nov. 4, players take on the role of high-tech future soldiers in the year 2054. They wear jump-jet enabled exoskeletons that give them super-strength and an array of abilities. They can climb sheer walls with magnetic gloves and a grapple line, turn invisible with cloaking, throw enemy soldiers across a field and double jump and hover in short bursts.
The game's military technology is based on research currently underway. "It's next-generation, and it's 50 years in the future," said co-founder Glen Schofield. "There is really nothing you can borrow. This game had to be done from scratch. This is really a brand new franchise within Call of Duty. It's a new intellectual property.
"We want to make sure that people realize it's not a turn of the crank. The amount of research we put into this game is insane; the books, the articles, the scientists we talk to, the trips we've taken, the people we've brought in."
Earlier today, Activision released a trailer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, detailing the game's story.