The Call of Duty Vanguard multiplayer reveal was held last night, and the near 30-minute showcase of the game’s suite of online modes seriously grabbed my attention. I’ve gone from being fairly nonplussed about the latest entry in the long-running shooter franchise to being actively excited to get my hands on Call of Duty Vanguard.
The live-streamed event began with Greg Reisdorf, multiplayer creative director at Sledgehammer Games, explaining that Vanguard will be “taking historical liberties and risks to deliver something fun.” This is quite a change from Sledgehammer’s last stab at the series, Call of Duty: WWII, which was a fairly traditional video game depiction of the global conflict.
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Following this brief introduction was the premier of a high-octane reveal trailer featuring some actual gameplay. Afterward, we got around 20 minutes of pretty dry developer interviews. These interview segments were interspersed primarily with footage from the trailer we’d already seen; that was slightly disappointing.
Nevertheless, the multiplayer reveal trailer has dramatically changed my initial opinion of the game. With Vanguard’s focus on “untraditional, gritty, antiheroes from every front of the war” and the tone presented in the trailer, it looks almost like a playable Quentin Tarantino movie — there’s even an operative wielding a baseball bat.
In the ongoing Battlefield 2042 vs Call of Duty Vanguard war the former very much had my support, but now I’m edging towards neutral territory. Battlefield 2042 definitely looks like the more next-gen game at this stage, but Vanguard could have it beat when it comes to the amount of content available at launch.
After the reveal event, an article was uploaded to the PlayStation Blog (opens in new tab) giving even more Call of Duty Vanguard multiplayer details. The post confirmed that the game will offer 20 maps at a launch — 16 for the traditional multiplayer and four for the new Champion Hill mode. That’s an awful lot of maps on day one, especially compared to its biggest rival.
Combat Pacing, a brand new inclusion for the Call of Duty series, has also been detailed. This feature will give players more control over how each match plays by selecting one of three pacing categories: Tactical, Assault, and Blitz. The classic Call of Duty experience can be found by selecting Tactical, but Assault and Blitz will allow you up the ante, with the latter even increasing the player count for a more fast and frenetic experience.
This feature could be a gamechanger, allowing players to find a setting that best suits their playstyle. There’s often debate in the Call of Duty community when a new installment launches about whether the game plays too fast or too slow. But Combat Pacing should hopefully appease all players.
Call of Duty Vanguard will also have all the expected trappings of a CoD online suite. From the expanded Gunsmith for weapon customization to a diverse group of playable Operators, who will all have unique abilities and attributes alongside an extended background told through unique dialogue. All the features long-time players expect will seemingly be there at launch.
Perhaps Vanguard isn’t reinventing the wheel, but it looks like a very polished take on the Call of Duty multiplayer experience that has dominated gaming for over a decade. Thankfully, the PlayStation Early Access Beta kicks off this Friday so it’ll only be a matter of days before we can all jump into the fray ourselves.
Call of Duty Vanguard is currently scheduled to release on November 5 on PS5, Xbox Series X and PC, as well as last-gen consoles. It will include not only a broad range of online modes but also a full single-player campaign, a co-operative Zombies mode, and deep integration with free-to-play smash Call of Duty Warzone.