Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is a first-person shooter video game published by Activision. The eleventh major installment in the Call of Duty series, the game was developed by Sledgehammer Games for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, while High Moon Studios developed the versions released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and Raven Software developed the game’s multiplayer and the Exo-Zombies mode.
Advanced Warfare is Sledgehammer’s first Call of Duty title where they are the primary developer, following the supporting work they did on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 alongside Infinity Ward in 2011. The game was released on November 4, 2014, but a special edition titled the Day Zero Edition, which came with bonus in-game content, was released on November 3 for people who pre-ordered the game. The game was not released on the Wii U, making it the first title in the series since Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 to not be released on either the Wii or Wii U. It is the last Call of Duty title to feature a single-player campaign mode for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Before the development of Advanced Warfare, Sledgehammer were originally working on an action-adventure game titled Call of Duty: Fog of War, which was going to be set during the events of the Vietnam War. Development for Advanced Warfare began in late 2011, shortly before the release of Modern Warfare 3. The game became the first entry in the Call of Duty series since Call of Duty 2 to feature a game engine that has had its majority re-written and built from scratch. For the game’s single-player campaign mode, Sledgehammer employed veteran actors Troy Baker and Kevin Spacey in lead roles. The game’s story, featuring a futuristic setting which is set between 2054 and 2061, follows Jack Mitchell of the United States Marine Corps and his interactions with Atlas, a private military corporation that sells its services to the highest bidder.
Advanced Warfare, like the other Call of Duty titles, is presented in a first-person shooter perspective. The game features several significant changes; unlike other installments, Advanced Warfare does not use a traditional heads-up display (HUD); instead, all information is relayed to the player via holographic projections from the weapon equipped. The general gunplay remains unchanged, apart from new mechanics, such as ‘Exo’ movements. These Exo movements are performed from the Exoskeleton, which can boost, dash, and sky jump. The game is the first in the Call of Duty series that allows the player to choose differing types of conventional weaponry; for example, the game features regular conventional firearms, but the player can choose to use laser or directed energy weaponry, both of which have differing attributes. In addition to Exo movements, the game features different Exo abilities, such as Exo Cloak, which allows players to turn transparent for stealth for a period of time.
The single-player campaign features one playable character, Jack Mitchell, as opposed to multiple characters in most previous Call of Duty games. It uses pre-rendered cinematic cut scenes, similar to Call of Duty: Black Ops II, to assist in the story aspect of the campaign. After each mission, the player is given a certain amount of upgrade points that can be used to upgrade the Exo suit or weapons. The player can upgrade detection, armor, resistance, tactical, lethal grenade, sprint, recoil, flinch, reload, quick aim, and battery. In total, 22 points are needed to upgrade all of the Exo upgrade system. The amount of points that are given is determined by the players performance in the missions. The player may earn additional points by completing specific side objectives, one of which is collecting the game’s collectable ‘Intel’. The player can switch between different grenades, all of which possess distinctly different abilities.
Apart from the Exo movement, Advanced Warfare‘s multiplayer retains certain similarities to previous Call of Duty titles. The Pick 10 system in Black Ops II returns as Pick 13, allowing players to pick weapons, attachments, perks and score-streaks within a total of 13 allocation points. Score-streaks are also upgradable with different modules, allowing for additional abilities/effects, at an extra score cost. Advanced Warfare introduces weapon variants, which contain various different stats compared to the base weapons. This allows the game to contain over 350 weapons, both variants and base versions. Supply drops allow players to earn new gears through playing the game. The content of each supply drop is randomized, and can range from weapon variants to player customization items, as well as bonus experience points (XPs) time. Players can complete daily challenges to earn supply drops.
“Press F to pay respects”
One particular moment of the game that was singled out by reviewers and players alike was an early on moment of the game, where the player takes part in the funeral ceremony, and is prompted to press a button to approach the coffin; the prompt, depending on platform, reads “Press [button] to Pay Respects”. The mechanic was criticized and ridiculed for both being arbitrary and unnecessary, as well as being inappropriate to the tone of the funeral the game otherwise would like to convey. The phrase has since took a life of its own and has become a meme in its own right, sometimes used unironically: during the tribute stream for the Jacksonville Landing shooting, viewers posted a single letter “F” in the chat in reference to the button prompted for (“Press F to Pay Respects”) in the PC version of the game.
It was reported in November 2014 that US retail sales of Advanced Warfare were 27% down on 2013’s Call of Duty: Ghosts. Despite the decline, Advanced Warfare was still the top selling game at US retail for 2014.
The PlayStation 3 version sold 79,586 copies within its first week on sale in Japan, making it the bestselling game of the week in the country. In the same week, the PlayStation 4 version sold 64,060 copies, and the Xbox One version sold 3,370 copies.
The game won the award for “Best Graphics – Technology”, in IGN’s Best of 2014 awards. At the 2014 NAVGTR Awards the game won two awards: Performance in a Drama, Lead (Kevin Spacey as Jonathan Irons) and Original Dramatic Score, Franchise, and received eight nominations: Writing in a Drama (Mark Boal), Use of Sound(Franchise), Graphics(Technical), Game(Franchise Action) (Glen Schofield, Michael Condrey), Direction in a Game Cinema, Character Design, Art Direction(Contemporary) and Animation, Technical. It also won the award for “Outstanding Realtime Visuals in a videogame at the 2015 Visual Effects Society Awards. It received nominations at The Game Awards, the 2015 British Academy Games Awards, 2015 DICE Awards, and the 2015 Golden Joystick Awards. It was nominated for the eSports Game of the Year Award at The Game Awards 2015.