Goodbye jetpacks and robots, hello World War II. Call of Duty: WWII is official, and it's bringing the blockbuster shooter series back to its roots for the first time in nearly a decade.
However, while the game's setting is old school, its strikingly immersive visuals and interesting new modes are anything but. If you're eager to dive back into the trenches of World War II, here's what you need to know about Call of Duty: WWII before it arrives on Nov. 3 for PS4, Xbox One and PC.
What's Call of Duty: WWII all about?
Developed by Sledgehammer Games (the folks behind Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare), Call of Duty: WWII takes the series back to the second World War for the first time since 2008’s Call of Duty: World at War.
The game’s debut trailer is about what you’d expect from a modern World War II game — you see soldiers storming beaches by boat, shooting down planes with turrets, and using flamethrowers to push back the enemy.
According to Activision CEO Erik Hirshberg, Call of Duty: WWII will deliver a “gripping, immersive story and a darker, irreverent tone.” It’s certainly hard not to compare the game to EA’s Battlefield 1, which delivered a similarly historic setting and gritty style when it launched late last year.
What's the game's story?
Call of Duty: WWII will focus on World War II's European theater between 1944 and 1945. You'll play as Private "Red" Daniels, a young recruit getting his first taste of action alongside his best friend Robert Zussman. The game's campaign will include such iconic locations as Normandy, France, Belgium and, ultimately, Germany.
Interestingly, Call of Duty: WWII will be the rare World War II game to actually acknowledge the horrors of the Holocaust. In an interview with Mashable, Sledgehammer Games' Bret Robbins said that the game's story will deal with anti-Semitism head-on and highlight the many atrocities Jewish people suffered at the hands of Nazi Germany.
"You can't tell an authentic, truthful story without going there," said Robbins. "So we went there."
What's new for multiplayer?
The new Call of Duty might have an old-school setting, but its gameplay is shaping up to be anything but. New modes include War: a narrative-based multiplayer gametype that pits the Axis against the Allies across sprawling battles. It sounds like a nice change of pace for Call of Duty's deathmatch-driven multiplayer, and reminds us a bit of Operations mode from last year's Battlefield 1.
WWII will also introduce Divisions, which promise a new way to customize your character and level up. A new take on the series' create-a-class system, this feature lets you choose from one of five real-life World War II divisions that each have their own special skills. There's also Headquarters, a new social mode that takes a page out of the Destiny playbook by providing a virtual space where you can hang out and group up with fellow soldiers.
What about Nazi Zombies?
Rest assured, Zombies addicts: the signature Call of Duty co-op mode is back. Call of Duty: WWII's Nazi Zombies mode thrusts you and your friends into a haunted Bavarian village filled with dead German soldiers that have become grotesque monsters.
Sledgehammer's version of Nazi Zombies looks like a far cry from the Zombies modes we've seen in recent Call of Duty games, focusing on genuine horror over colorful maps and celebrity cameos. We can't wait to play it.
What kinds of weapons can I look forward to?
As far as weapons go, your arsenal will include such guns as the M1 Garand, the STG-44 and the M1903 Springfield rifle. It wouldn't be Call of Duty without scorestreak bonuses, and you can look forward to doing big damage with flamethrowers, fighter jets and mortar strikes once you rack up enough points.
When's the beta?
The Call of Duty: WWII private beta runs from August 25 to 28 exclusively on PS4, and will start back up for both PS4 and Xbox One on Sept. 1 through 4. You can gain access to the beta by pre-ordering the game.