Call of Duty: WWII finds itself in an awkward position in this day and age. The series itself has plunged headfirst into gung-ho, oftentimes ridiculous territory, with jetpacks, licensed guns and eSports, while COD: WW2 is desperately trying to swing it back to more serious matters. To that end, Sledgehammer Games has effectively decided to partition the entire game - splitting between single and multiplayer.
In single-player, there will Nazi iconography such as swastikas. The campaign will be a dark tale, exploring the human impact of a war in which millions upon millions lost their lives. The multiplayer, meanwhile, will be stripped of any Nazi symbolism, as well as allowing players on both teams to play as customised male or female soldiers, as well as any race. The Nazis themselves had very few persons of colour fighting in their forces.
Speaking to Eurogamer, Sledgehammer Games co-founder Michael Condrey explained the reasoning behind this. “It may be one of the topics we wrestle with the most,” he said. “In the campaign, we need to balance the authenticity with the respect for the fact 100 million people died in the darkest days of humanity. So, you will see the swastika in the campaign, using our military historian to make sure it’s authentic, tasteful and respectful.
“But in our global community of multiplayer and zombies players, we’ve chosen deliberately not to include that. We want the community to play together. We want to be respectful of local customs and laws around the world. And frankly, it’s a dark symbol with a lot of emotion behind it we don’t feel matches our multiplayer experience.”
This schism of the single-player and multiplayer experiences is a fairly unique approach, and Sledgehammer has utilised this to enhance the customisation options. The team were able to “take some creative liberties”, offering players full customisation choices regardless of which side they’re fighting for. “We’re not making a statement about the authenticity of the Axis force. We’re making this about putting you in this social space and you into your soldier,” explained Condrey.
Battlefield 1 courted similar controversy when it opted to highlight the contributions of African-American troops to World War One, an aspect which seemed to rile those looking for absolute historical authenticity. In COD: WW2’s instance, Sledgehammer is openly throwing authenticity straight out the window. What’s your take on this, is the split of MP and SP an acceptable solution? Are Sledgehammer dodging the real issues presented by WW2? Should the multiplayer be treated with more reverence? Let us know!
Call of Duty: WW2 is out on November 3rd for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.