World War II is ancient history for a good portion of the Call of Duty audience. If you’re in your 30s or older, chances are you may have a grandparent who fought or some other tangible connection to WWII, but those ties are quickly being lost.
Given that trend, historian Patrick Morgan, who’s working with Sledgehammer on Call of Duty: WWII, thinks the game could serve an important educational role. Here’s what Morgan had to say in the most recent issue of Edge magazine:
“The living memory of this conflict is receding very quickly. Just this past week, three veterans that I’ve interviewed have died, and that happens every week. There are going to be more and more people who, through no fault of their own, are just not familiar with the subject. Now we’re bringing the subject matter to a very large audience of people who have no living memory of the war. I’ve written two WWII books -- nobody read them. We’re living in a world where people read less. What’s going to replace it? Projects like Call of Duty: WWII, that have strong emotional themes, and also strong educational themes.
I have this looming sense that Call of Duty: WWII is going to be big. It may be the biggest thing that has ever happened for this subject. I’m not saying that because I’ve become a Sledgehammer Games zombie who just spouts off propaganda. I say it because one thing we already know is that this is going to be big. Band of Brothers was released in 2001. Saving Private Ryan was released 20 years ago. There was no social media universe back then, and now there is.”
The biggest thing that has happened for this subject? I think the biggest thing that has happened for World War II was…World War II. I also don’t think interest in WWII has receded as much as Morgan thinks. We certainly still hear a lot about certain subjects, like, say, Hitler (unfortunately). That said, I do think Call of Duty: WWII can help put all the bits and pieces floating around out there in their proper context. As such, Activision and Sledgehammer definitely have an obligation to present this material properly.