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Call of Duty: Vanguard lets you destroy (and see through) walls in multiplayer

Sledgehammer calls Vanguard ‘the most tactical experience you’ve ever had in Call of Duty’

Operator Wade fires a pistol in Call of Duty: Vanguard multiplayer Image: Sledgehammer Games/Activision

This year’s Call of Duty will introduce new environmental destruction features in multiplayer, developer Sledgehammer Games said during a reveal stream on Tuesday, which will change the layout and flow of Call of Duty: Vanguard’s maps. Players also have another reason to be wary even while they’re behind cover: One of the game’s multiplayer weapon perks will let players see their opponents through walls in certain situations.

In the video reveal for Call of Duty: Vanguard’s multiplayer, Sledgehammer developers discussed the breadth of competitive modes coming in this year’s game. During one section featuring multiplayer creative director Greg Reisdorf, lead designer Zach Hodson, and associate art director Matt Abbott, the trio discuss the core components of Vanguard’s tactical gameplay: reactive environments, Create-A-Class, weapons, and movement.

The game’s reactive environments will include destructible materials, like wood, glass, and tile. Players will be able to shoot through (and sprint through) some of those materials, destroying doors and windows, and opening up new sight lines and pathways. Players will, however, have the option to take cover behind and mount weapons on indestructible objects in the environment. From there, they can blind fire — “the hip fire of mount[ed fire],” Reisdorf said — and slide back and forth behind cover.

Reisdorf said that destructible reactive environments exist throughout the game and on every map, and that players will see maps change over the course of a game. Abbott added that higher caliber weapons will cause greater destruction.

Sledgehammer plans to revive two classic World War II-era maps, both from Call of Duty: World at War, for Vanguard’s multiplayer: Castle and Dome. Both will receive changes through reactive environments, the developer said in a blog on the Call of Duty website.

Castle, in its Vanguard form, will see all its iconic shoji screens become destructible. Expect similar effects across all maps, including persistent graphical details, such as grime, dirt, wear, burn marks, and other stains giving more life to every arena of combat. Such bespoke flourishes add evocative elements to specific areas; examples include dust-filled chambers, leaking pipes, and evidence of violence, such as marks from a body being dragged across the floor. Another effect is “combat fog,” realistic dust kicked up in the air during a firefight from bullet impacts hitting different surfaces.

Hodson said that players will also have the ability to see through walls using a weapon perk called Piercing Vision, which allows players who have it equipped “to highlight people through walls that you’ve suppressed,” another new mechanic in Vanguard.

More details on Call of Duty: Vanguard multiplayer are available in Sledgehammer’s nearly 30-minute presentation. Call of Duty: Vanguard will be released on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC via, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X on Nov. 5.

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