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How the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare campaign actually works

For all the high-profile negativity surrounding Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s reveal trailer, the game’s campaign actually looks pretty interesting.

In taking Call of Duty into space, developer Infinity Ward has changed the standard Call of Duty campaign in some meaningful ways, not, particularly, in terms of the “boots on the ground” combat, but pretty much everywhere else.

At E3, I had a chat with Infinity Ward design director Jacob Minkoff and narrative director Taylor Kurosaki, and watched a gameplay demo of the game’s opening mission, in which the Settlement Defense Front launches a sneak attack on the United Nations-like group that governs space trade and travel. The gameplay demo did a pretty good job of showing how Infinite Warfare’s campaign actually works. Let’s break it down.

As mentioned, Infinite Warfare kicks off with a sneak attack on the UNSA fleet, which is crippled in the battle. You play Lt. Reyes, a pilot with the Special Combat Air Recon (SCARS) group. Controlling Reyes, you fight alongside some soldiers against SetDef forces on the streets of Geneva. This is classic Call of Duty campaign stuff: cover, ballistics weapons, traditional run and gun combat, lots of explosions and shouting, and the occasional use of a fancy gadget, all silky smooth at 60 frames per second.

Eventually you fight your way onto a hill, where it’s all kicking off. Your Jackal, a futuristic fighter plane, lands in front of you and you leap into the cockpit. The scripted sequence sees you take off, while remaining in first person, then burst towards the upper atmosphere alongside friendly ships. Eventually you breach the atmosphere and you’re in space, where you see a massive Star Wars-style spaceship battle in the distance. It’s here that you’re given control over your Jackal, and the space dogfighting portion of Infinite Warfare kicks in.

These dogfights take place in huge goldfish bowls in which you fly around and destroy enemy pilots. Eventually you take down enough pilots to open up a path to shoot out the defences of the main enemy ships.

“It’s not on rails,” Minkoff says. “You have control to fly wherever you want in that arena. You can’t fly around the earth, but there are multiple enemy capital ships and you can fly among them. If you see it and it looks like a thing, you can go to it. It’s a pretty big space.”