TIME Video Games

18 Things the Call of Duty Advanced Warfare Trailer Tells Us About the Game

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare is just another way of saying "future tech military bonanza mashup."

Activision wasn’t supposed to unveil Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare until this Sunday. But the announcement trailer, starring the inestimable Kevin Spacey as the (apparent) bad guy, leaked early, and so we now have two minutes and 46 seconds of footage to mull over while we wait for May 2 to come and go and for further info to drop. I wouldn’t dangle from a tenterhook waiting for an info-avalanche, though. After all, that’s what E3’s for.

But there is a fair lot to observe and think about here. Let’s step through most of it, and you can make fun of me in the comments below for all the stuff I get wrong.

“The following was captured on Xbox One.”

This plays over black at the trailer’s start and signifies nothing more than full disclosure. People naturally want to know what they’re looking at, though it can’t matter until we’ve also seen the PC and PS4 versions (until then, I’ll leave the debate over resolutions and frame rates to my psychic readers).

Activision / YouTube

This fellow’s wearing an exoskeletal suit that gives you superhuman powers.

I first came across the powered exoskeleton concept doing research for a Computer Gaming World feature on Crysis in 2006. The military’s been working on bionic exo-suits for a long time, so it’s not really science fiction, though what happens a bit later in the trailer to some of the folks driving these things — where they’re timing crazy-big jumps between moving vehicles perfectly — is pure fantasy.

Activision / YouTube

“Restricted Area. Authorized Personnel Only.” Hi there, future-Guantanamo Bay!

Who did the whole round-em-up-in-a-pen thing first in gaming-dom? Half-Life 2? I can’t remember, I just know I keep seeing it pop up in copycat dystopias — the whole martial-law-for-our-own-good thing. But is this America (the sign’s in English)? Somewhere else? Destructoid, which broke the leaked video, says the game’s about a guy (Spacey) running a private military company that goes rogue, so perhaps said PMC’s taken over part or all of an American city, and that’s what we’re looking at here.

Activision / YouTube

I was wrong: Those aren’t drones. They’re twin-turbine helicopter-looking things.

But they look kind of like drones, too, though on closer inspection you can see windshields and side doors, and there’s that intercut shot of soldiers tooling around in an airborne one (the vest the soldier’s wearing sports a logo, “Atlas” — perhaps the name of the PMC, perhaps in turn a reference to Atlas Shrugged, the libertarian/conservative pseudo-philosophical fantasy novel by Ayn Rand). Someone with far superior military know-how than me will doubtless tell us what present-day flying vehicle(s) these are modeled after, or extrapolated from (I’d guess quadcopter, but what do I know).

Activision / YouTube

We’ve already seen Kevin Spacey play a zealot, but he’s also Kevin-freaking-Spacey.

You’ve probably heard the adage “So-and-so could read the phone book and I’d listen” employed to celebrate exalted elocutionists. Kevin Spacey could play Snidely Whiplash for all I care, or have to muddle through a sophomoric script — I’ll still watch. (I’m less impressed with the engine’s stilted facial rendering tech, however.)

Activision / YouTube

The sign on the wall behind the soldier reads “Sector 02: BioLab Data Terminal.”

Will threats of biological warfare — viral maladies with the potential to decimate huge swathes of the population — play a role in what you’ll be grappling with in the campaign?

Activision / YouTube

“Keep Lagos Clean.”

That’s what the scrolling sign on the side of the overpass reads. Lagos is a port city in Nigeria. So either I’m totally wrong about the America thing, or the game takes place in multiple locations. I’d presume the latter, possibly as part of the preamble that sets the stage for Kevin Spacey’s character’s ideological meltdown. (Also, check the flag protruding from right: the Nigerian national flag is green-white-green.)

Activision / YouTube

Nomad and Prophet (Crysis) have nothing on this guy.

That’s a big honkin’ jump. And wait just one second…is that the Golden Gate Bridge? (See the sequence from 1:16, too.)

Activision / YouTube

Hold on — jet-boots? Jetpacks?

Are these soldiers just super-jumping, or taking off, up-up-and-away-like? (After watching the sequence at 2:14, I’d probably stick with jet boots.)

Activision / YouTube

No, that’s not a misplaced screen from Halo.

Thought the way that gun’s sides appear to slope, and with the design lines on that futuristic drop-ship…squint just a little, and it almost could be.

Activision / YouTube

Hello, bat-cycle.

That’s the clearer head-on shot (in the video, you first see a soldier climbing onboard). Vehicles look to factor big and multifariously in this game. Is this the same thing as the hovering cycle we see later in the trailer, at 1:44 and 2:10? Looks like it.

Activision / YouTube

Soldiers (and vehicles) will have cloaking powers.

Another hat-tip to Crysis: these super-suits, assuming they’re of a piece, will give you Predator-style powers to vanish at will. We saw this earlier in the trailer (at 0:24) with vehicles, too.

Activision / YouTube

I have no idea what’s going on here.

LSD mode? Or how about just “peek through walls mode” — the followup shot shows the soldier identifying presumed targets through a solid wall, Batman Arkham-style.

Activision / YouTube

“I’ll have the powered exoskeletal suit, sized Venti, please.”

Taking a page from Marvel’s Iron Man films, these suits clap on with automatic servos, apparently, then turn your arms into gatling guns.

Activision / YouTube

Oh hi there, Black Ops II nano gloves.

Remember those things? They glowed green or orange to indicate whether they’d adhered to something (or not). I gather these are the new and improved (and faster climbing?) model.

Activision / YouTube

Weaponized military drones apparently weigh very little.

Is this the future of high-tech military drone launches? You just throw them out the side of something? (Okay, maybe it’s not weaponized, but that kind of looks like a gatling cannon on the nose.)

Activision / YouTube

Coolest thing in the trailer yet: roll-your-own cover.

Imagine unfurling something like a vertical projector screen, only sideways, then hunching behind it, only the screen’s effectively bulletproof. That’s what I’m gleaning from the little squibs going off in the video, anyway.

Activision / YouTube

This tank has legs like an insect and wheels like a car.

And with everything else we’ve seen, Call of Duty Kitchen Sink is what I’m thinking.

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