Call of Duty: WWII is still fresh off its reveal, but the combination of official announcements and leaks over recent months have given us a clear picture of what Sledgehammer Games attempts to accomplish with its return to World War II. While we’ve learned a great deal about the basics, there’s still a great deal of mystery surrounding many specifics about the campaign, multiplayer, and Nazi Zombies mode. Below, you’ll find everything we’ve been able to pick from the shadows, plus what we’re hoping to learn in due time.
What we know we know
What is Call of Duty: WWII? The latest incarnation of Activision’s line of incessantly popular first-person shooters, Call of Duty: WWII returns to the series’ roots and focuses the action on the Second World War. Like other games in the series, it’ll have distinct campaign, multiplayer, and co-op modes.
When and where is Call of Duty: WWII set? The game will be set in the European theater of the war, primarily focusing on the years of 1944 and 1945. Some flashbacks in the campaign will focus on events outside this time frame, however.
What (and who) is Call of Duty: WWII‘s campaign about? Players will take on the role of a private named Ronald “Red” Daniels in the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, also known by its nicknames, the Bloody First and Big Red One. Daniels is new to combat, and we’ll follow his story from the D-Day invasion up through the end of the war in Europe.
Also in your squad are some recognizable faces. Josh Duhamel (Transfomers: The Last Knight) plays a technical sergeant named William Pierson, Jonathan Tucker (Kingdom, The Black Donnellys) portrays Red’s close friend Pfc. Robert Zussman, and Jeffrey Pierce (The Last of Us, Bosch) is 1st Lt. Joseph Turner.
A teaser site for the game recently revealed a cache of new hints about the campaign, so if you’re in the market for more details, you might want to take a look.
Will Call of Duty: WWII‘s story include other characters or countries, and will they be playable? Multiple characters have been confirmed as playable, but the only one we know by name so far is a French Resistance fighter named Rousseau. Other characters announced as part of the story but not yet confirmed as playable include a British intelligence officer named Crowley and Cormack, an African-American officer from another U.S. regiment.
Will Call of Duty: WWII let us play as female soldiers? Sledgehammer co-founder Michael Condrey confirmed as much to a fan on Twitter, specifically mentioning multiplayer. Exactly how this will work is unclear. While women fought in combat roles for Russia and in the French Resistance, they weren’t allowed in the infantry in the U.S. military, nor would they be for many decades after. There’s a chance the game will limit women fighters to historically accurate factions, but it’s perhaps more likely that the game is ditching this one aspect of historical accuracy in favor of inclusivity.
The campaign, as well, will let you play as Rousseau, the French woman mentioned above.
Are there any new modes in Call of Duty: WWII‘s multiplayer? Two new modes were confirmed during the game’s debut livestream. One, War, is a traditional competitive mode that mixes things up by using dedicated factions fighting an asymmetrical battle across multiple objectives, allowing a story of sorts to unfold over the course of the match. Think a D-Day level that follows the action from the beachheads up into bunkers, with one team attacking and another defending. (This isn’t yet a confirmed example, however.)
The other confirmed addition, Headquarters, appears to be more of a social space akin to the Tower in Destiny, where players can hang out away from frontline combat.
Will Call of Duty: WWII have a Zombies mode? Yep. During the reveal stream, Sledgehammer confirmed that Call of Duty: WWII will have a Nazi Zombies mode.
Will Call of Duty: WWII have a multiplayer beta? There will be a private beta this summer open to those who pre-order the game. It’ll hit first on PlayStation 4, though dates have not been announced.
Will Call of Duty: WWII get DLC? Yep. A season pass has already been announced, with new maps and more on the way as part of discrete DLC packs to be released after launch.
Will Call of Duty: WWII feature any timed-exclusivity deals on its DLC? Yes. DLC is timed-exclusive to the PlayStation 4, as is the game’s private beta.
The Basics (skip)
What developer is working on Call of Duty: WWII? Activision currently cycles main Call of Duty developers on a three-year rotation, and the responsibility this year falls on Sledgehammer Games. Sledgehammer previously led work on Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and assisted on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
What platforms is Call of Duty: WWII coming to? Call of Duty: WWII is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
What is Call of Duty: WWII‘s release date? Call of Duty: WWII releases worldwide November 3rd, 2017.
Where can I watch the Call of Duty: WWII trailer? The trailer, released during the game’s debut livestream, can be watched below.
What we think we know
How will Call of Duty: WWII‘s campaign manage multiple characters? While it’s clear the bulk of Call of Duty: WWII‘s story will put you in the boots of Red Daniels, the development team has already confirmed that the perspective will occasionally shift to other characters. The context around this is mysterious, however. If we had to guess, these changes will be limited to setpiece missions, with vehicle segments being an obvious contender. After all, the 1st, being an infantry division, wouldn’t be manning any tanks, and we know for a fact the campaign will put you inside of one.
Then again, ground-based fighters like Rousseau, a female resistance fighter, have been talked about as playable, so the full picture will likely be more complicated than that.
How is Call of Duty: WWII‘s campaign gameplay different? We know for sure that one major change is on the way for the campaign: Regenerating health is gone. Instead, the game will borrow an idea seen in BioShock Infinite, with NPC squadmates able to heal you when you take a few bullets too many. A similar approach will go for resupplying on ammo once you’re low, so it’s likely the days of plentiful bullets dropping from enemies you defeat are gone. Intriguingly, these squadmates can be separated from the group or incapacitated, in which case you’ll be without their help.
We’ll have to wait to hear more about the full extent of the feature, however, as well as any other significant changes that have been made to the traditional run-and-gun gameplay.
How many players will be supported in Call of Duty: WWII‘s multiplayer? A screenshot of the game’s Xbox One store page listed the maximum player count as 48, but it’s unclear whether Sledgehammer is overhauling the basic multiplayer to such a degree that that many players could be accommodated in a single match. The most likely scenario is that the new Headquarters feature will allow that many players in its social spaces, while other modes might be a similar size to what we’ve seen in the past.
One other option is that the new mode War, which mixes up the formula considerably with faction-based, objective-driven gameplay, will allow for larger engagements—though maybe still not up to 48 players at once. We’ll have to wait and see to find out for sure.
How historically accurate will Call of Duty: WWII be? The development team has spoken extensively about keeping the game historically accurate. A video showing Sledgehammer’s vision that aired during the reveal stream touted the team’s extensive research and collaboration with historian Martin Morgan, and an early teaser from studio co-founder Michael Condrey mentioned many of the same points.
Based on what we’ve heard, it sounds likely that the weapons, equipment, and environments will be quite authentic, at least visually. The reveal stream also said, though, that the game will weave in and out of real-world events, so Call of Duty: WWII may take some liberties with the actual battles and historical developments it depicts.
How will Headquarters mode work? Though concrete details are scarce, Sledgehammer has talked about being inspired by social spaces in games like World of Warcraft. Another easy touchstone would seem to be the Tower in Destiny. These examples point to a space where players can hang out, interact, and show off their gear without actually participating in the traditional shooter gameplay Call of Duty is known for.
That being said, Sledgehammer has also talked about Headquarters having some competitive element, so something like a firing range where players can test their skills against one another—or, if we’re being particularly imaginative—maybe even board or card games real soldiers would have played to pass the time—may be included.
How will Call of Duty: WWII tackle the more serious issues of World War II? Sledgehammer has said it won’t shy away from the darker moments of the war. Though the developers have provided relatively straightforward confirmation that the racism faced by black soldiers will be depicted, they’ve been cagier when asked about things like concentration camps. It’s difficult to imagine an action game like Call of Duty game handling some of these very heavy matters in a respectful fashion, so maybe the team will opt to keep them in the background. Then again, it may be courting controversy not to acknowledge them in some fashion.
What locations and battles will appear in Call of Duty: WWII? So far, just a handful of historical battles have been confirmed. First, there’s the Normandy landing on D-Day, probably the most iconic World War II setting. Also included is the Battle of Hürtgen Forest, the longest single battle the U.S. Army has ever fought. Another location that will be visited, in some form, is the Signal Hill Battery in Gibraltar, as revealed with a cryptic tweet preceding the official livestream reveal.
Beyond that, there are a few battles the game seems likely to touch on. Based on what Sledgehammer has said about the campaign so far, the Battle of the Bulge, and the crossing of the Rhine at the Battle of Remagen seem practically inevitable. The Liberation of Paris also seems like an obvious event to include, but the 1st wasn’t involved in that, so it would seemingly involve a different playable character if it appears at all.
Will the fans that hated Infinite Warfare enjoy Call of Duty: WWII? Early signs point to a lot of upset fans returning to the franchise. Activision said in a recent earnings call that almost all of the response online has been positive—a far cry from the widespread derision that greeted Infinite Warfare. Then again, we won’t know for sure until the game is in the hands of players.
What we still want to know
Will there big big changes to Call of Duty: WWII‘s multiplayer? While we’ve seen footage from the campaign and a brief tease of Nazi Zombies mode, Sledgehammer is waiting on E3 to deliver our first real details on the game’s competitive multiplayer modes. Based on what we know about the ambitious changes to the campaign gameplay, we can’t help but wonder how much multiplayer will follow suit. That includes our biggest question…
Will there still be regenerating health in Call of Duty: WWII‘s multiplayer? We know for certain that the campaign is ditching regenerating health in favor of healing provided by your squad, but it’s hard to imagine multiplayer will ditch such an essential feature as well. Will some sort of new class-based system provide for dedicated healers in the vein of Battlefield? Will there now be health packs throughout the level?
Will vehicles make a return in Call of Duty: WWII multiplayer? Previous Call of Duty titles set during World War II allowed players to drive vehicles on the battlefield, but the last game to do so was World at War in 2008. Since then, every yearly installment of the series has isolated vehicles to the roles of killstreaks. Could this be the Call of Duty game to bring them back?
How will classes work in Call of Duty: WWII‘s multiplayer? Sledgehammer talked about Divisions, a feature that sounds an awful lot like a replacement for the traditional class system. Players will be able to enlist in a specific unit of their choice and level up their created soldier with a real sense of persistence. How will that impact things like unlocks and Create-a-Class? Will there be more specialization than in previous games? It’s hard to say until we know more.
How will weapons and killstreaks in Call of Duty: WWII vary from early installments? Much of the innovation in each subsequent Call of Duty release is found in the changes and updates made to the game’s multiplayer arsenal and killstreak options. The problem here is that—with such a large handful of earlier installments set during the same time period—the opportunity to innovate seems limited. There is nothing wrong with the popular arsenal of World War II, however, and small Easter egg found in the recent Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare revealed that the game was set in the same universe as the Modern Warfare subseries. It didn’t have any appreciable effect on the game, but it will be interesting to see if Call of Duty: WWII tries something similar.
Will Call of Duty: WWII‘s Nazi Zombies mode tie into the ongoing story? While Call of Duty: WWII is indeed going back to the classic Nazi Zombies mode that started the Zombies saga, it’s unclear whether Sledgehammer’s version will tie into the broader narrative surrounding Dr. Richtofen and the other established characters. On the one hand, the return to the classic setting makes it a no-brainer. On the other hand, Black Ops III developer Treyarch has generally had ownership over that story. We’d call this one a toss-up.
Recent teaser images uncovered on the game’s site as part of an ongoing puzzle have proved inconclusive, as well, though they may offer up some insights into the Nazi Zombies story either way.
Why is the game called Call of Duty: WWII and not Call of Duty: World War II? How are we supposed to pronounce it? Call of Duty: Double-You Double-You Two? Call of Duty: Wee? Call of Duty: Wuh-Wee? We have no idea. If it’s any consolation, it seems the team at Sledgehammer is pronouncing it as Call of Duty: World War II—but that just makes the abbreviated title even more confusing.