Obviously, a lot of people love Call of Duty multiplayer, but there's an even larger contingent of players who refuse to go anywhere near it. It's not the most welcoming community, with ultra-aggressive players and extremely salty language being the norm. For years Activision has just shrugged its shoulders and done little-to-nothing to curb the frat house vibe, but it seems the folks at Call of Duty: WWII developer Sledgehammer Games are hoping to bring some change.
A big part of Sledgehammer's plan for a happier, friendlier multiplayer environment is Headquarters mode, the new hub where players can chat, share achievements, and compete in friendly minigames that don't require anybody to die. Sledgehammer's Michael Condrey hopes this more relaxed space will cut down on the nastiness by allowing people to engage with fellow players like actual human beings.
"Headquarters is the biggest innovation in CoD this year and I think it transforms how we come together as a community. It began when we first started Advanced Warfare – we had the idea that we wanted you to be emotionally attached to your character. Prior to that you had no avatar, you had no way to invest.
Now you have a space where you and 48 other players can come together off the front lines to be social. It's a living world, like the cities in World of Warcraft. We wanted to incentivize behaviors that weren't just about your competitive prowess, your KDR and your rank. We wanted to try and instill good social practices."
Interestingly, part of the inspiration for Headquarters came from a game that's pretty much the polar opposite of Call of Duty – the chill, introspective indie game, Journey. That game allows players to anonymously drop into other people's games and cooperate to surpass puzzles and obstacles. The game doesn't have voice or text chat, forcing people to forge sometimes deep non-verbal connections. Generally, player interactions in Journey are polite and fulfilling -- troublemakers are rare.
"I loved Journey, I loved the concept. We have a great community, but the social side is so competitive – we let players come together to show off about KDR and who got the last killcam, but we never had an avenue to really share and reward the types of behaviors that Journey rewarded; we thought that would be really refreshing."
Previously, Call of Duty: WWII's developers indicated they've been influenced by other low-key indie hits like Gone Home and Firewatch. Make no mistake, this is still going to be Call of Duty game, but it's nice to hear Sledgehammer is looking outside the hardcore FPS niche for inspiration. I doubt Call of Duty multiplayer will ever be friendly, but hopefully it becomes slightly less hair-raising.
Call of Duty: WWII storms on the PC, Xbox One, and PS4 on November 3. You can check out all WWG's latest Call of Duty coverage here.
[via The Guardian]