Vanguard, released November 5, returns to WWII news
The game’s reveal comes amid an internal dispute within parent company Activision Blizzard, which faces a lawsuit filed last month by the state of California for sexual harassment and equal pay violations. The lawsuit alleges that the video game publisher paid women less than men and fired or forced women to quit at higher frequencies than men. Women of color have been “particularly affected”, charges against women, and female employees have been subjected to constant sexual harassment, including trial and error, comments and advances.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick apologized after the company’s initial response to the lawsuit led to an employee walkout. “It is imperative that we recognize all perspectives and experiences and respect the feelings of those who have been abused in any way,” he said in a note to employees. “I’m sorry we didn’t provide the right empathy and understanding. “
J. Allen Brack, the boss of Blizzard Entertainment, also subsequently resigned and was replaced by Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra as co-leaders of the studio.
“The stories and the pain that have been shared are just devastating,” Sledgehammer studio director Aaron Halon said last week before previewing Call of Duty: Vanguard. “Harassment of any kind goes against everything we stand for as a studio. … Although we cannot comment on the trial… as a team, we are committed to making all team members feel safe, welcome and respected.
The cast of Call of Duty characters
The Sledgehammer team showed part of an in-game mission involving one of the main characters, Sgt. Arthur Kingsley, a British paratrooper attempting to land behind enemy lines in German-occupied France the night before D-Day.
You get a first-person cinematic panorama as Kingsley jumps out of a plane after being hit and now has an engine on fire. Explosions and smoke dot the sky as bombers drop payloads and fighters attempt to bring them down. Kingsley hits the ground as they land in an eerie, dramatically lit battlefield scene with German troops pointing their flashlights as they search for downed paratroopers.
Kingsley is based on a real world paratrooper, Sgt. Sidney Cornell, known as the first black paratrooper to land on D-Day.
The rest of the team are also inspired by real-world soldiers. The character of Lieutenant Polina Petrova, is a Russian sniper who defends the city during the Battle of Stalingrad. She is based on Lyudmila Pavlichenko, who won the title of “Lady of Death” of the Red Army and is the most successful sniper in history, credited with 309 victories.
Captain Vernon “Mike” Micheel, who damaged two Japanese aircraft carriers during the Battle of Midway, is the inspiration for fighter pilot Captain Wade Jackson. And Second Lieutenant Lucas Riggs, an infantryman in the North African theater of operations where the Allies faced Rommel, is inspired by Charles Upham, New Zealander and captain of the Commonwealth of Nation forces, double recipient of the Victoria Cross. . .
Eventually, these four soldiers come together in a squad to thwart Project Phoenix, a Nazi initiative to secure the Third Reich after the imminent fall of Hitler and Berlin.
“There are a lot of exciting opportunities to play these different characters in these different places,” Swenson said. “They all gathered in Berlin at the end of the war for their first special forces mission.”
Will the lawsuit hamper Call of Duty?
The Call of Duty franchise has produced the 10 best-selling game of the past 12 years, according to The NPD Group.