Sledgehammer Games’ Bret Robbins explains how Advanced Warfare is the definitive Call of Duty game.
Last year’s Call of Duty Ghosts was a commercial success for Activision and Infinity Ward but it wasn’t well received by fans. But given that Call of Duty Ghosts was a cross generation title which saw simultaneous release across six platforms, the developers can be forgiven for not taking series ahead in terms of innovation.
With Call of Duty Advanced Warfare, the new title is being touted as a next-gen first title. So how exactly are Sledgehammer Games planning to achieve that goal? GamingBolt got in touch with the game’s creative director Bret Robbins to talk all about the upcoming shooter. Check out his response below.
Leonid Melikhov: Call of Duty Advanced Warfare is essentially touted as a ‘next-gen first’ title. What kind of updates have you done to the engine?
Bret Robbins: There are all sorts of new technology from rendering to the way we do our characters. We have blend-shape technology that we use in the face; it really brings out a-lot more emotion. Just across the board the audio engine is a-lot more powerful. We’ve just made tons and tons of updates to the tech.
Leonid Melikov: Now that we are finally settling down with the new consoles, is it safe to assume that Advanced Warfare is the definitive Call of Duty ever?
Bret Robbins: I think we have a great Call of Duty on our hands. I think it’s going to be really thrilling for people, it’s going to look fantastic on the new consoles and on the PC. People are really excited about it. I think it’s a really fun and a beautiful game.
"I really hope the players do invest the time. I think we’re telling a really compelling story this time around. It’s obviously an original story that we haven’t really seen before."
Leonid Melikhov: Story is being touted as one of the more stronger points of Advanced Warfare. How are you making sure that players will invest their time into understanding it?
Bret Robbins: I really hope the players do invest the time. I think we’re telling a really compelling story this time around. It’s obviously an original story that we haven’t really seen before.
We have some great new characters that we’re introducing. Characters like Jonathan Iron who’s played by Kevin Spacey. We’re also doing a lot with our cinematics and the way we tell the story within the game. We’re trying to make it very immersive; we’re trying to create these really memorable characters. Yeah, I think people will really enjoy the story.
Leonid Melikhov: How long will the single player campaign last in Advanced Warfare?
Bret Robbins: We’re still tuning and tweaking the game and still working on the game’s length and everything, so it’s hard to say at this point. We’re just going to try and have a very satisfying experience.
Leonid Melikhov: What can you tell us about multiplayer, anything you can talk about?
Bret Robbins: We’re not really talking about multiplayer right now. I can say though at a high level, the themes we’re developing is based around this idea of being a advanced soldier and having certain abilities and technology like the exo-skeleton that is in campaign, multiplayer and co-op.
Leonid Melikhov: So that’s definitely going to add a couple of stuff, that hasn’t been done before in Call of Duty.
Bret Robbins: Yeah, I think actually the way you play using the controller is quite different. The exo-skeleton gives us lots of new mechanics like boost jumping, boost dodging, overdrive and all sorts of really cool features. So it’s pretty fun.
Leonid Melikhov: You’ve just mentioned co-op, I don’t think we’ve heard anything about co-op. Anything you could say about it?
Bret Robbins: We’re not talking about co-op either unfortunately, but there definitely will be a co-op mode.
"The player has more tools in his toolbox when he is in battle and so the variable grenade is one of those tools. Rather than just have your standard frag or flash bang you actually have grenades that can change different effects on the fly."
Leonid Melikhov: Treyarch has zombies, Ghosts has Extinction and I am assuming Advanced Warfare has something else in placement of that for co-op?
Bret Robbins: I think that’s a safe assumption.
Leonid Melikhov: That’s a good answer.
Bret Robbins: (laughs)
Leonid Melikov: Call of Duty: Ghosts ran at 720p on Xbox One when it came out. Is Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare going to be 1080/60 fps on the Xbox One and how is the PS4 version shaping up?
Bret Robbins: Right, well you know we always strive for complete parity across all our platforms and you know this year will be no different. [But] I am not really a technology guy, I am more of a creative guy, I focus on the story and the campaign so it’s not really for me to say.
Leonid Melikhov: The demo you guys showed was the Collision level and the Forest. I really liked the cloak/stealth implementation. Is the cloak also going to be use-able in co-op or something else? Or is that something only that single-player will have?
Bret Robbins: Again, I am not really talking about co-op or multiplayer, but a lot of the mechanics you see in the campaign will translate over to both multiplayer and co-op.
Leonid Melikhov: What’s your favorite thing about the new Call of Duty as a fan?
Bret Robbins: As a fan, my favorite thing about it honestly is the story. I think we really have a strong story. I think we’ve done a really good job of telling the story that’s both exciting but also sort of different, and I really like the new characters we’re introducing into the franchise. I think these are going to be fan favorites. I am really looking forward to people experiencing the story and enjoying it.
Leonid Melikhov: I really like the type of grenades you have now. I think that’s pretty cool.
Bret Robbins: We wanted to really push on player choice. The player has more tools in his toolbox when he is in battle and so the variable grenade is one of those tools. Rather than just have your standard frag or flash bang you actually have grenades that can change different effects on the fly. From a heat-seeking grenade to a threat detection that lights up enemies behind walls, EMPs to take out drones. Depending on the threat you can use grenade as a tool.
"Very early on we decided that we would tell a single story and that really came out of the desire to focus all of our energy on telling one very good story, and we’re really happy with the story we have created so there is no branching storyline."
Leonid Melikhov: In Call of Duty: Black Ops’ campaign we had certain points where you were able to make a choice. Is there going to be anything like that in Advanced Warfare where you get to make a choice and have a different path?
Bret Robbins: Very early on we decided that we would tell a single story and that really came out of the desire to focus all of our energy on telling one very good story, and we’re really happy with the story we have created so there is no branching storyline. Everyone that plays the game will experience the same story, which I actually like. I think it’s a great story and I want everyone to enjoy it.
Leonid Melikhov: Do you guys still have the Veteran difficulty?
Bret Robbins: Oh! yeah, all that stuff is in there.
Leonid Melikhov: What kind of trophies or achievements can we expect to see?
Bret Robbins: We’re still designing our achievement list, so can’t really talk about it yet. One thing that is new with the campaign though is we’re introducing an upgrading system. Through the exo-skeleton you can increase its power; you can earn upgrade points by completing challenges and customize your exo-skeleton. By end of the game you’re much more powerful than you started.
Leonid Melikhov: Are you able to have all of the abilities and skills by the end of the game or you can only make certain choices and that’s it?
Bret Robbins: You have to make certain choices, however; your upgrades will carry over if you decide to play again.
Leonid Melikhov: So it’s kind of like a New Game+?
Bret Robbins: It’s a New Game+.
Leonid Melikhov: And then you can upgrade more stuff as you play again?
Bret Robbins: You can max out all your upgrades.
Leonid Melikhov: So you can max everything out, but you have to play the game again.
Bret Robbins: Yeah, you are going to have to at least play it again once to get every upgrade.
Leonid Melikhov: That’s actually pretty interesting, it’s a new twist. It’s like “hey, how can I handle this mission now on veteran, when I have these new stuff or whatever it is”
Bret Robbins: It’ll really help you to complete Veteran by having all these upgrades. It should encourage people to play the campaign again. I always do it as a player, I always like playing again especially with an open upgrade system.
Leonid Melikhov: And as always in every Call of Duty there is usually Intel to collect in the single-player.
Bret Robbins: Yes, we do have that.
Leonid Melikhov: Ok, sounds good. Thank you so much for your time..
Bret Robbins: You’re welcome man.