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Imagine you’re trying to shoot a bunch of bad guys, but everybody is sliding around back and forth on a ship in stormy seas. On top of that, there are shipping containers on the deck of the cargo ship, and they’re sliding around too and maybe crushing you.
That’s what you’ll get with one of the water-logged levels of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, which debuts on October 28. Activision’s Infinity Ward studio showed the level off today at the Summer Game Fest. It’s called Operation Dark Water.
Here’s what Infinity Ward says: “An oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico is carrying cargo that could spark a global conflict: a weapon poised to strike. Task Force 141 found intel that shows missiles hidden on board an offshore platform. Shipped out to sea, a team of Soap, Ghost, and Mexican Special Forces Operator Alejandro, a new ally and seasoned veteran, battle heavy weather conditions long before they face their enemy.”
This demo started off with some stealth on board an oil rig. They took out a bunch of folks, then hopped aboard a boat and crashed it into a ship. Then the strike team boarded the ship where the high seas are taking over.
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One of the other innovations in the game is moving cover in the form of freight containers aboard a big ship. The ship is on rocky seas, and the containers roll across the surface of a big ship and an oil rig in the ocean. You have to try to move and shoot and outmaneuver enemies all while the iron containers are trying to crush you. You can go with the flow or hop up on top of the containers to get a vertical advantage on nearby enemies, but someone at a distance can take you down.
While Infinity Ward tried not to fix what wasn’t broken with the original 2019 Modern Warfare game, it did show off small innovations like this that could make the gameplay better. Water was one of the features that the studio and its eight supporting studios invested in heavily, said game director Jack O’Hara.
“We’ve always kind of shied away from water because it’s tough to do good,” he said.
Johanna Faries, head of Call of Duty, showed off the scene at the show. They introduced a new character, Mexico special forces colonel Alejandro Vargas. She talked about how Call of Duty teams are using a common game engine now.
“We’re so excited for October 28,” Faries said. “It’s a transformational moment for the franchise.”
She said Warzone 2 will be an extension of the Modern Warfare universe.
But they compiled a bunch of reasons to invest in water animations, like making use of high-end graphics, offering gameplay improvements like looking for treasure underwater, combat underwater, swimming in rivers where there are currents, and dealing with waves. They wanted to make it semi-transparent, with a snell effect where images looking through water are blurry thanks to reflections.
In the mission, TaskForce 141 operators Colonel Alejandro Vargas and John “Soap” McTavish have to board the ship, take out the enemies, locate a remote control for a weapon and destroy it. As soon as they get on the surface of the ship, they go weapons hot pretty quickly. It’s a pretty chaotic battle, with enemies moving among the containers or getting on top of them.
“We’ve never done a mission like this before,” said O’Hara. “It’s just super fun. You’re on a moving ship with moving cover.”
Infinity Ward showed the level at a press event and debuted it again at today’s show.
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