There is no question that this particular Call Of Duty throws up an unusually long list of things to talk about. First, there are its origins at Sledgehammer Games, a studio that contains many of the people who created the first – and best – Dead Space at Visceral Games, and who are convinced that one of the things they can deliver this time around is a coherent, meaningful storyline. Then there’s the game’s new facial animation system, powered by technology and techniques that will also be used in the production of James Cameron’s Avatar 2. There is Advanced Warfare’s audio design, whose aim is to replicate not only the sound of letting loose with heavy firearms, but the torso-invading feel of it too. And there is Sledgehammer’s broad goal for the game’s visual appearance – photorealism – something it achieves in places thanks to a combination of its new rendering technology, an abundance of data sourced from the real world, and the application of its artists’ expert hands.
Throw in a helping of Kevin Spacey and a boatload of warmongering hardware to fit the 2054 setting, and you have a Call Of Duty that feels like the next genuine step change for the ideas first mapped out in 2003. We dig into all of these topics, and more, in our cover story.
Elsewhere in our new issue, we head inside Amazon Game Studios to find out more about its secretive all-star lineup, we look at the unearthing of ET and other Atari 2600 relics and discover how the Internet helped Stoic battle King’s trademark dispute. We profile the artist who installs arcade machines on the beach and catch up with Example, who recalls a youth spent playing Nintendo and Sega in My Favourite Game.
Columnists Steven Poole, Ian Bogost and Nathan Brown admire the craftsmanship of Hitman Go, wonder why we relish Nintendo’s crises so much and prepare for E3, and in his latest Postcard From The Clipping Plane, James Leach considers the cyclical nature of development. In Hype this month, we offer our first impressions of The Evil Within, Eve Valkyrie, Drive Club, Hack ‘N’ Slash, Rise Of Incarnates and Habitat, among others.
There’s plenty more besides our cover story in the features section; the subject of this month’s ‘Audience With…’ feature is PlayStation boss Andrew House, who discusses PS4’s flying start and the new life given to PS Vita. We also tell the story of Hollywood’s fake videogames, from Tron’s Space Paranoids to Wrestle Jam ’88, and we look at The Making Of Tearaway, Media Molecule’s PS Vita papercraft adventure. We also profile Japan’s Grasshopper Interactive, home of Lollipop Chainsaw, Killer7 and Suda51, and this month’s Time Extend reappraises Nintendo’s motion-controlled platformer Donkey Kong Jungle Beat. There’s also our annual Get Into Games special, which features plentiful advice on getting a job in the game industry from the lecturers and developers defining its future.