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Muslim Indo-Fijian Studies Center

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Call of Duty: WWII - How Sledgehammer Games Created an Authentic and Immersive World War II Game

The game's campaign is set in the European theatre and is centered around a squad in the 1st Infantry Division following their battles on the Western Front and set mainly in the historical events of Operation Overlord. The player controls Ronald "Red" Daniels, who has squadmates who can supply the player with extra ammunition, health, or grenades as well as a targeted grenade and target spotting; none of these are automatically replenished in the campaign. The multiplayer mode features map locations not seen in the campaign. The mode also features the new Divisions system, replacing the create-a-class system that previous games in the series used. A social hub, named Headquarters, was also implemented into the game, allowing for players to interact with each other.

call of duty ww2

WWII is the first title since the original game and Call of Duty 2: Big Red One not to feature health regeneration in the campaign. Instead, players must find health packs scattered throughout levels, or rely on their medic squadmate to provide health packs. Other members of the player's squad can provide ammunition, grenades, call in mortar strikes, or spot enemies and reveal their position in form of silhouettes.[3] In certain sections of the game, enemy soldiers in the campaign can be captured, and wounded allies can be dragged to cover. In some parts of the campaign, players are able to control vehicles.[4]

In online multiplayer matches, players are randomly assigned either to Allies or Axis side. With regards to playing as the latter, Glen Schofield, co-founder and co-studio head at Sledgehammer, said "We also make a distinction between the SS and the German regular army", clarifying "The big distinction that Germans still make today is that between the German military and the Nazis. We made sure we made that distinction in the game, that the Germans were doing their duty".[7][8] Jörg Friedrich, one of the developers of Through the Darkest of Times, criticized this choice for promulgating the "myth of the clean Wehrmacht", a false revisionist claim that regular Wehrmacht forces, unlike the Waffen-SS, were not involved in war crimes or culpable for the Holocaust.[9][10] Other critics have argued that the distinction between Wehrmacht soldiers and the Nazi party is not meaningful when the former's actions helped advance the latter's genocidal activities. They also argue that play as these factions gradually numbs the audience's reaction to and normalizes an otherwise abhorrent group.[11][12]

Zussman returns to duty in time for the American breakout Operation Cobra, where American forces reclaim the town of Marigny. The platoon is ordered by Colonel Davis (Matt Riedy) to conduct an operation with British Special Operations Executive officers Major Arthur Crowley (David Alpay) and Vivian Harris (Helen Sadler) to intercept a German armored train carrying V2-rockets. Daniels and Zussman derail the train before being escorted back to their squad by French Resistance leader Camille "Rousseau" Denis (Bella Dayne).

Days later, the crew receives intel of Straub's sighting at the islands of Heligoland, where he has been storing his undead army. They travel to the island in pursuit of Straub, as well as the next piece of Barbarossa's Sword. The crew comes into struggle with the Nazi Kriegsmarine forces protecting the island as well as Straub's latest undead creations, as he prepares for an assault on Britain. Upon solving several ancient riddles, they find a ritual chamber dedicated to the goddess Nerthus, where they acquire the Pommel of Barbarossa's Sword. The crew then calls the British Royal Air Force in for an airstrike to destroy the facility on the island; in an effort to escape, they go up against the Meistermeuchlers (literal translation: Master Assassins), zombies that are engineered to adapt to their enemies' combat style and skills. After defeating the monstrous creatures, they manage to stow away on one of Straub's zeppelins, as he and his forces return to Berlin in response to Adolf Hitler's call for rescue.

Sledgehammer Games was hesitant to reveal all the authentic settings from World War II that developers have put into the game's storyline. Activision initially refused to deny claims that Nazi extermination camps would be featured in the game.[citation needed] Adam Rosenberg of Mashable wrote that video games set during World War II tended to be "Holocaust deniers" in the sense that they avoided broaching the subject for business reasons, but that this could be the very first Call of Duty World War II based game where the Holocaust would be depicted. Senior creative director Bret Robbins said in an interview "Some very, very dark things happened during this conflict and it felt wrong for us to ignore that." He further stated "We absolutely show atrocities. It's an unfortunate part of the history, but you can't tell an authentic, truthful story without going there. So we went there." Robbins argued that audiences can now handle games with more maturity and nuance, "People are ready for it. They want it", he said.[20][21] When asked directly over Twitter as to whether or not the story campaign would allow gamers the opportunity to play as soldiers from the Axis powers such as Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, Sledgehammer Games confirmed that the campaign gameplay would be limited to Allied forces. More specifically, Sledgehammer co-founder Michael Condrey confirmed that the game will focus exclusively on the Allied powers.[citation needed]

Before the game's release, its sparse use of the Swastika symbol, as well as the diversity of playable German soldiers in the online multiplayer, drew some criticism. During E3 2017, Sledgehammer co-founder Michael Condrey explained that swastikas were removed from the multiplayer and Zombies modes as "Including Nazi symbols wouldn't bring honor, nor be appropriate, without the rich history of a WW2 story to ground their context in Multiplayer" and that the multiplayer experiences were "shared, global ones, so we needed to adhere to local laws and regulations", referring to Germany's censorship laws on the imagery of swastikas. On the other hand, swastikas would be included in the campaign, stemming from wanting to be "historically accurate and tell the story we wanted to tell ... the best way to represent history, which was very important to us."[28][self-published source] Condrey also empathized with complaints that including black and female German soldiers in the multiplayer was historically inaccurate (as in reality Nazi Germany never recruited people from such denominations), saying he wanted the game to appeal to a diverse audience and being reflected in their player avatar: "it's also about putting you - this is about you - in World War 2 ... that evolution of your character means it's important for us to allow you to choose to be you, and to have a hero that represents who you are, whomever you choose that to be."[29]

Destructoid's Chris Moyse praised the game as a "satisfying experience" and the campaign as "one of the series' best in some time", but felt that "it also makes little effort to overhaul the brand as a whole, playing it incredibly safe when the opportunity for reinvention was right there for the taking."[33] Polygon's Russ Frushtick generally praised the multiplayer, calling it "strong and enjoyable", but criticized the campaign, writing that "just about every mission feels like déjà vu, as if I'd played it before in another game" and that "Changing the time period so dramatically only helps to highlight how little has changed since the franchise's total re-imagining with Call of Duty 4."[43] Jeff Gerstmann of Giant Bomb was more critical of the game, calling the characters "lifeless and generic" and the antagonists "faceless Nazis", stating that "the game doesn't really feel like it's doing anything cool to take advantage of its setting and time period" and summarising "despite all of Activision's big talk about "boots on the ground" action and how this was going to be some big deal, the setting change didn't bring any new and exciting inspiration with it. This feels like the most wheel-spinning, by-the-numbers Call of Duty they've made thus far."[40]

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Not long after WWII was released, a fatal incident occurred in which Ohio resident Casey Viner, angered over friendly fire that ruined an online match in a tournament that cost $1.50 in betting, threatened to swat his teammate, Wichita resident Shane Gaskill. Gaskill posted his previous home address in McCormick and challenged Viner to swat him. Viner contacted Los Angeles resident Tyler Barriss, who called the Wichita Police Department (WPD) claiming to have murdered his father and taken his mother and sibling hostage. He provided them with the McCormick address used by Gaskill. WPD officers arrived at the address, now occupied by 28-year-old Andrew Finch. A single officer, Justin Rapp, shot and killed Finch, claiming he believed Finch reached for his waistband.[73]

It's ludicrous that this is something to get excited about, but so dreadful have CoD's campaigns been over the years that it definitely stands out. You're not being asked to follow the NPCs who get to do all the cool stuff - you're desperately, scrappily trying to stay alive while everyone around you is being torn to shreds. You can die! A lot! Dashing for cover is the answer, hiding while braver men are ripped apart by German fire, is what gets you to your goal. And then, rather than watching as the game incessantly snatches control from you to make you look at shit blowing up, you're asked to clear out a series of bunkers to make the beaches safer for arriving boats. And, again, it feels like it's letting you be a part of it. Not the hero, not the only man to save the day, but a soldier amongst soldiers, frantically surviving in a hideous war.

You'll never find the sorts of broad, wide play areas that bolder FPSs have offered in recent years. But what is truly exciting about CoDWW2 is just how fantastically good it is at hiding its rails. This was what most aggrieved so many about that hateful era of FPS games around 2010 to 2013. Those wretched shooters like Medal Of Honor, COD:MW3 and Homefront, that dragged you along their shoulder-wide corridor, throwing a tantrum and killing you if you ever dared wander to the left or right, had their rails shine like they'd been polished for days. Some of the best FPS games always were in a corridor, but they knew how to hide that, how to give you the impression you were choosing which way to go, because the right way always looked the most interesting or fun. And that's something I'm just so delighted to report Sledgehammer have figured out here, letting me feel like I'm picking routes through rabbit warrens, while actually skillfully directing me down the only path I could have taken.

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