Sledgehammer Games’ Call of Duty: WWII is looking to return the series to its World War II roots with a based-on-history epic single-player campaign and a slew of changes to its multiplayer modes. Oh, and also there’s Nazi Zombies. Below, you’ll find everything we know so far, 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, and multiplayer may take players to different fronts of the war, such as Africa and the Pacific Theater.
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.
While the campaign will take players through historic battles like the Normandy Invasion and the Battle of the Bulge, the crux of the story centers around the characters attempting to rescue one of their squad mates and Red’s close friend, Pfc. Robert Zussman, after Nazi soldiers capture him and ship him off to a concentration camp.
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 Zussman, and Jeffrey Pierce (The Last of Us, Bosch) is 1st Lt. Joseph Turner. Character trailers for each squad member highlights how their personalities will clash throughout the campaign.
Additionally, Pittsburgh Steelers’ running back Le’Veon Bell and offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva will be appearing in the game, though it isn’t clear what roles they will be playing.
How long will the campaign take to complete? According to Sledgehammer Games co-founder Glen Schofield, Call of Duty: WWII‘s campaign should be similar in length to Sledgehammer’s previous Call of Duty game, Advanced Warfare. That game took players, on average, between seven and fourteen hours to complete, depending on if they completed all the optional challenges or not. It looks like we can expect the same length from WWII.
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.
British Major Arthur Crowley is British Special Operations Executive. As an espionage and sabotage specialist, Crowley will play a major role in a mission involving the infiltration of German barracks disguised as Nazi soldiers.
Rousseau, meanwhile, lost everything after the Nazis invaded France, including her husband and son, and is on a personal quest for vengeance. It looks like Rousseau will be involved in a mission that takes place in Paris, as the Notre-Dame Cathedral can clearly be seen in the background of her character trailer.
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, but all evidence points to gender being a cosmetic option when customizing your soldier.
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. The game won’t, however, limit women fighters to historically accurate factions, ditching this one aspect of historical accuracy in favor of inclusivity. One example that made the rounds during E3, for instance, was that of a black woman fighting for the German army. It’ll happen in the game, but you can be sure that it definitely wouldn’t have happened during the real World War II.
The campaign, as well, will let you play as Rousseau, the French woman mentioned above.
Finally, Sledgehammer confirmed that the Zombies mode will also feature playable women characters during a recent livestream Q&A.
Are there any new modes in Call of Duty: WWII‘s multiplayer? A new mode, War, is one of the biggest additions to the Call of Duty multiplayer formula. War is a 6v6 asymmetrical battle between two dedicated factions (Americans versus Germans, for example) in which one team has to complete objectives while the other team has to stop them. One of the maps at the E3 2017 demo, Operation Breakout, tasked players will objectives such as building bridges to advance their offensive push, which involved getting a tank to the other side of the map.
The other confirmed addition, Headquarters, is a social hub akin to the Tower in Destiny. Up to 48 players can hang out in third-person on the beaches of Normandy prior to joining matches. There, players can practice their aim at the shooting range, find other players to team up with, pick up daily challenges, or challenge players to Shootouts, which so far include a 1v1 survival pit and a competitive firing range. On top of that, players can watch competitive matches in Headquarters and take advantage of Call of Duty: WWII‘s fancy new Hammer Cam, or find other players to team up with and take down Nazi Zombies.
Additionally, Headquarters will feature random “dynamic events,” such as having to take down aircraft that are attacking the Headquarters with mounted AA guns. Best of all, however, is that if you watch someone opening up a loot crate in Headquarters, you will get your own prize.
Two classic multiplayers modes that are confirmed to return to Call of Duty: WWII are Team Deathmatch and Domination. Kill Confirmed will at least be playable in Call of Duty: WWII‘s Mosh Pit, which is a collection of assorted playlist fan-favorite game modes. Call of Duty: WWII is also bringing back Uplink in the form of Gridiron, which is basically just Uplink without the satellites and jet-packs.
Ranked playlists will return in Call of Duty: WWII as well, making it easier than in Infinite Warfare to get into, and stay in, ranked matches.
Theater mode, however, is unfortunately missing from this Call of Duty, to the detriment of content creators everywhere.
How will classes work in Call of Duty: WWII‘s multiplayer? Call of Duty: WWII will introduce Divisions, which will replace the create-a-class system from recent Call of Duty games. Players will choose from five iconic World War II divisions—Airborne, Mountain, Infantry, Armored, and Expedition—each with specific division training and weapon skills. The division you choose will determine what weapon type you will get, but you can change your division whenever you want.
How will weapons and killstreaks in Call of Duty: WWII vary from early installments? Weaponry will obviously resemble guns from the earlier Call of Duty games, which were set during the Second World War. Some of the weapons confirmed so far are the M1903 rifle, the M1 Garand rifle, the M1911 pistol, the fan-favorite PPSh-41 SMG, plus a light machine gun, shotguns, and a variety of grenades. Unlike previous WWII Call of Duty games, weaponry will not be locked to the specific army you’re fighting for, so Germans can use American weapons and Americans can use German weapons if that’s what you prefer. While players can still earn new weapon and gear variants through Supply Drops, it looks like the variants earned will be cosmetic only, a change from recent games in the series which randomly gifted players with gear mods that offered better stats on weapons and gear.
Killstreaks will now be known as “scorestreaks,” and they will return in Call of Duty: WWII with appropriately themed benefits. Some of the known scorestreaks include a flamethrower, a recon aircraft, and a mortar strike, but more are sure to make their way into the final game. Players will be able to test out the multiplayer’s full selection of scorestreaks in Headquarters so that, when they access the rarer bonuses in a match, they’ll know how to use them.
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 multiplayer will retain regenerating health.
Will Call of Duty: WWII have a Zombies mode? Yep. Sledgehammer Games revealed the official trailer for the aptly named Nazi Zombies at San Diego Comic-Con 2017. Nazi Zombies will feature four-player co-op and will task players with battling zombies scientifically engineered by the Third Reich while trying to retrieve precious artifacts stolen by the Nazis and hidden in the snowy village of Mittelburg, Germany.
Players will take on the roles of born-leader Jefferson Potts (Ving Rhames), art historian and weapons expert Olivia Durant (Elodie Yung), art thief Drostan Hynd (David Tennant), and engineer Marie Fischer (Katheryn Winnick) as they battle the grotesque Nazi zombies created by Doctor Peter “Glücksbringer” Straub (Udo Kier).
Sledgehammer has stated that this Zombies mode will be more grounded than those in previous Call of Duty games, but a recently revealed animated weapon skin you can receive as a pre-order bonus begs to differ.
Nazi Zombies will share some similarities with previous Call of Duty zombie modes, such as having super-zombies and mini-bosses, wave-based gameplay, puzzles, and gun purchases, though there will be some major differences in Call of Duty: WWII‘s version, including a new class-based system that will focus on four core classes: medic, offense, support, and control. Not to mention that Sledgehammer is trying to make its zombies much scarier. And while there will be hidden Easter eggs to uncover, the majority of the mode’s story will be right there on the surface for players to enjoy.
On top of all that, it looks like the Pack-a-Punch machine from previous Call of Duty zombie modes, or at least something similar to it, will be returning in WWII.
Did Call of Duty: WWII have a multiplayer beta? Yes. The last open beta, for PC, ended on October 2nd. One of the major changes following the beta was that SMGs will be getting a major nerf for the full release, at least on consoles. The PC beta, on the other hand, was plagued with hackers and cheaters, and in response Sledgehammer announced that it will be including extensive anti-cheating measures in its PC version.
Will I be missing out on anything if I didn’t pre-order and play the beta? In fact, yes. Players who participated in the beta will get an exclusive combat pack, including a unique helmet, calling card, and emblem, which players will get when the full title launches. However, if you’re torn-up at the prospect of not getting a unique helmet, you probably pre-ordered the game and played the beta anyway.
Will Call of Duty: WWII get DLC? 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. You can get that season pass (and an exclusive backpack) if you order a $150 version of the game or just get the game and the season pass in the digital deluxe or pro editions, which will each cost $100.
Will Call of Duty: WWII feature any timed-exclusivity deals on its DLC? 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. There were rumors that a version of the game will be coming to the Nintendo Switch, but Sledgehammer confirmed that the game will not be coming to the Switch in a Reddit AMA.
Call of Duty: WWII will also be “enhanced” for the Xbox One X, and will support HDR and 4K in that version, according to a retail leak. The PS4 Pro will have similar enhancements, such as high-fidelity facial animations, though specific details about enhancements on both Xbox One X and PS4 Pro are still unconfirmed.
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. Bar-codes hidden in multiple multiplayer maps that were found during the game’s multiplayer beta seem to confirm that Rousseau, even if she’s not playable, will play a major role in the campaign.
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.
Unlimited sprint will also be a thing of the past, though it’s not yet clear whether it will still be available as a perk in multiplayer, like it was in some earlier Call of Duty installments, or if it will be taken out of the game completely.
On top of that, Call of Duty is no stranger to mixing up its run-and-gun campaign missions with a variety of different set-pieces, and Call of Duty: WWII is no different in that regard, as at least one campaign mission will disguise an Allied player character as a Nazi and have them infiltrate a Nazi base. In a move reminiscent of Hitman, players must act accordingly and say the right things, or else Nazi soldiers will become suspicious of the player.
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 that seems to only apply to Headquarters. Actual competitive multiplayer modes, so far, have only showed a maximum of twelve players.
How many multiplayer maps will there be at launch? If a recent leak is to be believed, it looks like Call of Duty: WWII‘s main multiplayer modes will only ship with ten maps, as opposed to Advanced Warfare‘s thirteen maps. This figure includes classic Call of Duty map Carentan, which will be returning as a bonus map, but not the six missions in Call of Duty: WWII‘s new War mode, which are all separate maps from the base multiplayer modes.
How historically accurate will Call of Duty: WWII be? The development team has spoken extensively about keeping the game historically accurate. Expect faithfully recreated battles and locations, as the Sledgehammer Games made historical accuracy central to the game’s development. They even hired World War II historian and author Martin K.A. Morgan to make sure that the game held true to the actual war. That being said, expect appropriately brutal combat, at least according to the game’s ESRB description, which states, in part, that “some weapon attacks result in decapitation and/or dismemberment, leaving bloodstains and body parts on the ground.”
That being said, the multiplayer will bend historical accuracy, especially when it comes to Nazi iconography.
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. However, considering the main campaign involves rescuing one of the soldiers from a concentration camp, it seems likely that the game will explore those horrors in some way.
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 prior to the official livestream reveal. Since then, Battle of the Bulge and Operation Cobra—an offensive which utilized the largest aerial bombardment in history to push back German defenses on the Normandy front—will also be featured in the campaign.
Beyond that, there are a few more battles the game seems likely to touch on. Based on what Sledgehammer has said about the campaign so far, 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 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. So far, we’ve seen that tanks can at least be used as mobile heavy machine guns, although it looks like none of the vehicles will be controllable.
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, though hopefully Call of Duty fans will enjoy the return to World War II setting, as it’s possible the series might return to it again and again.
What we still want to know
Will Call of Duty: WWII‘s campaign be set in the same universe as any previous game? A 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? Not likely. While Call of Duty: WWII is indeed going back to the classic Nazi Zombies mode that started the Zombies saga, it looks like Sledgehammer’s version is moving away from the over-the-top narrative surrounding Dr. Richtofen and the other established characters and is instead taking a more grounded approach to the creation of the zombies, though there are necessarily some sci-fi elements. On top of that, The main protagonists in Call of Duty: WWII‘s Nazi Zombies have not appeared in previous zombie modes, nor has the Nazi who created the zombies, Doctor Straub.
Maybe Sledgehammer is playing it close to the vest and doesn’t want to reveal Richtofen’s ties to this storyline. However, as of right now, it seems unlikely that Richtofen or anyone else from the story is making an appearance, as Sledgehammer’s vision seems like a more gruesome deviation from the original Nazi Zombies saga.
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.