Call of Duty - Civil Warfare And Other Shooters We Need

Call of Duty - Civil Warfare And Other Shooters We Need

Call of Duty has covered World War II, the War on Terror, and possible near-future conflicts. But it's barely scratched the surface when it comes to historical warfare. What other eras would be suited for Call of Duty's on-the-ground FPS gameplay?

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A very fine list indeed - the American Civil War in particular is badly underused outside the RTS genre - but I'll say what I always say in these discussions: WW2 from the Axis perspective!

Also WW1.

There actually is already a fps set in the first indochina war. It is called '7554' from the date of the french defeat at Dien Bien Phu.

The American Civil War has the problem that fighting was about massed fire not individual action. The French Indochine war was fought ww2 weapons, fundamentally not much different in play from Japan V US CoD

What about the lesser known battlefields of World War II? So not the Normandy landings and Stalingrad again, but for instance:
- The Kokoda Trail campaign: Japanese vs. Australians in New Guinea; the battle that saved Australia from a Japanese invasion.
- The East African Campaign: British vs. Italians in Ethiopia and Somalia.
- The Battles of Imphal and Kohima; Japanese vs. the British Army, predominantly made up of Indian troops. One of the largest battles of the war that pretty much nobody knows about. The 'Stalingrad of the East'.
- The war in China and the Japanese attack on Nanjing.
- The Soviet invasion of Manchuria: one of the biggest campaigns of the war and almost completely forgotten these days.

There was already A fps where you could fight in the civil war granted it was a crappy time travel game but still it was in there.

The US civil war is a terrible war that was fought by idiots. At the start, the South held the advantage and could have marched on Washington. But they instead chose to keep fight the armies of the North. thusly, the war devolved into an utter hellhole.

Compare it to the wars of Prussia: the Austro-Prussian war even took place during the same decade. Yet the Prussians won, took what they wanted, and then stopped the bloody fighting - that´s competent leadership for you. The more interesting campaign from a more linear gameplay perspective, is the Franco-Prussian war the decade after. It is a steady advance into France and then the defeat of Napoleon - perfect. The conflict is more similar to early ww2 than the "let´s all jolly murder each other now"-mentality of ww1 and the civil war. But that is because it was masterminded by Bismarck - a statesman the like of which Europe wouldn´t see again until Churchill.

As for why no civil war games - the short answer is Western.
The Western is set in the same era and is a monumentally greater cultural force.
The game Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood is according to me the greatest story-driven game of the last generation. It also uses the civil war as the first chapters and it explains how the protagnists became outlaws. They deserted the Confederate army in order to protect their home and family from advancing Union soldiers.

The best part is that the game was developed in Poland, yet remarkably they compleately got the authentic Western-feel. Hats off.

I think we need to go the opposite direction: Instead of looking to the past, we need to go into the future.

The distant future.

I want to see new shooters that go off into deep space. Not like Halo, though; I want to see games more like Star Wars: Republic Commando.

Not more of this "near-future" crap, like Advanced Warfare and Black Ops 3. Alien landscapes, jet packs, railguns and plasma weapons and lasers are the norm.

American Tanker:
I think we need to go the opposite direction: Instead of looking to the past, we need to go into the future.

The distant future.

I want to see new shooters that go off into deep space. Not like Halo, though; I want to see games more like Star Wars: Republic Commando.

Not more of this "near-future" crap, like Advanced Warfare and Black Ops 3. Alien landscapes, jet packs, railguns and plasma weapons and lasers are the norm.

That won't get made due to the same reason CoD: Space Warfare won't get made: requires too much imagination for Activision or its preferred CoD dev studios. But I remember Republic Command being "the tits".

Smygskytt:
The US civil war is a terrible war that was fought by idiots. At the start, the South held the advantage and could have marched on Washington. But they instead chose to keep fight the armies of the North. thusly, the war devolved into an utter hellhole.

Compare it to the wars of Prussia: the Austro-Prussian war even took place during the same decade. Yet the Prussians won, took what they wanted, and then stopped the bloody fighting - that´s competent leadership for you. The more interesting campaign from a more linear gameplay perspective, is the Franco-Prussian war the decade after. It is a steady advance into France and then the defeat of Napoleon - perfect. The conflict is more similar to early ww2 than the "let´s all jolly murder each other now"-mentality of ww1 and the civil war. But that is because it was masterminded by Bismarck - a statesman the like of which Europe wouldn´t see again until Churchill.

My specialty is the unification of Germany. The Battle of Koniggratz (or Sadowa if you prefer), culminating battle of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 was of major interest. I only have a masters degree, but my grasp on period warfare is pretty good. The battle had high casualties and a remarkable lack of competent commanders on both sides. The Prussians had a technological advantage (their breach loading "needle rifles") while the Austrians had superior numbers and a better position. If you had to pick the most incompetent leader, the Austrian general Benedek would "win", but the failure of the three Prussian armies to converge on the Austrian position was, by the standards of the earlier Napoleonic Wars, pathetic. Two armies did make it to the party and the Austrians made more mistakes than the Prussians. I wouldn't mistake that for any sign of military genius. Bismarck was a great statesman. He was also smart enough to stay out of military affairs. Tactically the Austro-Prussian War was fought with the same tactics the Napoleonic Wars (and the American Civil War) used. The high casualties were a result of pitting outdated tactics against improved weapons (rifled muskets, breach loaders, rifled artillery etc.).

As for the Franco-Prussian War, more of the same. Bismarck was the political genius behind it. The Prussian / German commanders were again, better than the enemy, the French this time. Prussian and German forces were better prepared for this one as well. Napoleon III was not a military genius, his commanders weren't either and his army was not in shape for a major war. Prussia and the German states allied to it beat on France, won the war and declared the Second Reich in the Palace of Versailles.

Now, personally I'd be interested in seeing a FPS based on these wars. Darkest of Days (? title, c. 2009 iirc) gave a taste of Civil War combat, but it could have been better. The AI stayed together and fought in formation. It could have been better. The AI that is. Nothing as panic inducing as reloading your muzzle loader while the enemy is getting ready to unload a volley on you. Skipping the advanced weaponry the time travel in that game allowed for. A mechanic letting your pov / control move to another soldier if you "die" would take care of the high casualty rate. Kind of takes the personal issues out of the narrative though. And having done Civil War reenactment their is something about advancing with a group and seeing the panorama of battle unfold. And the sick feeling of a 12 Pounder M1857 "Napoleon" going off in front of you. Grapeshot with your breakfast sir? :)

If you take your Clausewitz seriously, the duration of the American Civil War is due to the higher stakes of the conflict -- national existence, not incompetence (and some other factors balancing the scales). Mind you, the ACW had some remarkably bad commanders. And some great ones. The duration of the war brought the best out in the end. The leadership issues in contemporary, or near contemporary, European wars is, imo, partially due to the short duration. No time to burn off the dross or develop experienced commanders. No time to find out who can command versus who just fills out a uniform well. Just enough time to let the troops display their courage and suck down the resultant casualties...

Thanksgiving break. Thank you. Still, time to grade more papers...

r_Chance:

Snip

I think you underestimate the difference between the large standing armies of continental europe and the armies of the American Civil War. The US army in 1855 was only 13,000 strong so had far fewer trained officers when civil war took place. So senior command during the franco prussian war may have been poor but at corp, divisional and regimental the Prussians were much better. Which meant attacks were more likely to be pressed, advantages followed up and key terrain sized when the opportunity allowed. Its was one main problems with both side during the American Civil War was opportunities for decisive victory were missed time after time by both sides. So the war degenerated into an attritional conflict which the North won due to having greater manpower and industrial capacity

The Civil War FPS described has been done. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_History_Channel:_Civil_War_%E2%80%93_A_Nation_Divided

Launched for the X-Box 360 and PS2 and Windows. I played it on X-Box and it was... well playable, but not really everything you might have liked. Something just wasn't there. It was also far more, and reasonably so, demanding then WW2 shooters on very, very, similar engines. There's youtube footage of the game out there if anyone's interested.

I don't think the 12 year old's will have the patience to stand in a firing line, with the enemy 50 yards away, and constantly be missing.

Johnny Thunder:
What about the lesser known battlefields of World War II? So not the Normandy landings and Stalingrad again, but for instance:
- The Kokoda Trail campaign: Japanese vs. Australians in New Guinea; the battle that saved Australia from a Japanese invasion.
- The East African Campaign: British vs. Italians in Ethiopia and Somalia.
- The Battles of Imphal and Kohima; Japanese vs. the British Army, predominantly made up of Indian troops. One of the largest battles of the war that pretty much nobody knows about. The 'Stalingrad of the East'.
- The war in China and the Japanese attack on Nanjing.
- The Soviet invasion of Manchuria: one of the biggest campaigns of the war and almost completely forgotten these days.

I've said time and time again that WW2 games are only boring because they always show the same tired old battles over and over again- mostly Omaha, Stalingrad, and a few others. The war in China alone could dwarf the scale of most other shooters, and I'd play the hell out of a Burma game.. especially if it included the Chindits. I'd settle for Kokoda- but I'd actually choose Milne Bay over the trail to be honest, unless Kokoda goes for a super atmospheric feel that maximises tension leading up to actually encountering the enemy

albino boo:
The American Civil War has the problem that fighting was about massed fire not individual action

Absolutely right.
I think there probably is some market for a kind of 'line infantry' indie game which would focus on your complete lack of individual control or ability to influence anything. But it would be more of a deconstructive effort which you played once for the experience - like Spec Ops: The Line or something.

But as a AAA release, which you'd intend to actually play for more than a few hours? No way. Before tactical squad and platoon movement there's no way to sustain the kind of autonomy and individual play which FPS rely on. Which means the earliest setting you can really use is the later stages of WW1, when sturmtruppen tactics developed. Maybe a bit earlier if you go for some kind of colonial guerilla conflict. But certainly not anything prior to the widespread use of the repeating rifle.

-----------

Regarding Indo-China - I do not trust the creators of COD with a multi-faceted conflict after the Cold War bits of Black Ops. The Angola mission in one of the BLOPS games was bad enough - was absolutely filthy in it's utter disregard for basic respect, and had hilariously terrible and immersion-breaking racial stereotypes. Think it would be better if they stick with relatively unambiguous large-scale conflicts like WW2, Korea.
There's still plenty which hasn't been covered, and a lot of it is so different that you could get away from the usual Western WWII tropes pretty easily.

Johnny Thunder:
What about the lesser known battlefields of World War II?

Beat me to it!

Johnny Thunder:
What about the lesser known battlefields of World War II?

This actually the big reason why I wouldn't mind another dip into World War II. Outside of oversaturation I think one of the big reasons the WWII games became so stale was because they primarily focused around the US with side stories involving the Brits or the Russians or... Those are the only two that really come to mind right now. Anyway, it means that I remember playing through a lot of the same battles in different titles and can't remember if there was ever a game showcasing pre-1941 conflicts. There's a wealth of game potential when you look at different countries so it's disappointing that they didn't touch on most of it.

Not that I have anything against the US but a bit more variety would be nice.

Personally, I think the Battle of Dieppe could be pretty good for some story-telling "oomph".

I can happily back an FPS set in the indochina war, on the condition it's done in the style of Red Orchstra/Rising Storm or something similar. As for the American Civil War.

The creators of Mount & blade: Warband Napoleonic Wars are currently working on Battle Cry of Freedom. If your not familiar with NW, it's a multiplayer only DLC for Mount And Blade: Warband that lets up to 200 players fight in organized line battles. I don't think an American Civil War FPS will work well, but if they work off the NW engine it could be great. A link to a NW Line battle - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iURSOfmmZ0 .And some information on Battle Cry of Freedom - http://fsegames.eu/about.html

I'll have to parrot the notion put forth by the others here, the acts of the singular warrior which the Call of Duty franchise revolves around were quite frankly imperceptible as he/she disappeared into the miasma of uniforms and death.

That would be strike one.

Strike two I think probably hits it the hardest, which is that Call of Duty is nearly entirely built around adrenaline and run'n'gun, the only way I can think of getting this feel in an era close to the civil war would be in the wild west. Revolvers and carbines with plenty of lone warriors and bandits, far better at evoking the spirit of the franchise for the all-important multiplayer that it is predominantly designed for than line infantry, cannon, and cavalry.

Two problems with basing a CoD game in the American Civil War:

1: It would take a minute and a half to reload after a single shot.
2: After the Charleston church shooting, any product depicting the Confederate flag is likely to be banned from stores...or stores will refuse to carry it.

And yet no one has a problem with games and movies depicting the Nazi flag. Go figure. :P

I don't mean to offend any of my lovely neighbours to the South, but does anyone outside of the US really give a damn about the American Civil War? I know there's a lot of key points to it and so many people died, and American's heavily romanticize/study/celebrate/etc it, but as an outsider it just seems so damn boring. If America didn't have Hollywood and wasn't the #1 exporter of their culture in the world I wonder how many people would really know about. Like a lot of things happened in Japan's civil war that Tom Cruise participated in and was the last man standing, but no one outside of Japan is going to have much of a clue when & what it was about, and most nations probably have their own similar historic war that you've never heard about because they're not America.

RJ 17:
And yet no one has a problem with games and movies depicting the Nazi flag. Go figure. :P

The Germans take rather fierce umbrage with it.

Zelderahn:

RJ 17:
And yet no one has a problem with games and movies depicting the Nazi flag. Go figure. :P

The Germans take rather fierce umbrage with it.

Indeed, I hear trying to purchase - or being caught with - any Nazi memorabilia over in Germany is grounds for immediate incarceration.

I was talking about here in the States, though.

RJ 17:
And yet no one has a problem with games and movies depicting the Nazi flag. Go figure. :P

No-one in America has a problem with games and movies depicting the Nazi flag. No-one in Germany has a problem with games and movies depicting the Confederate flag. Oddly enough, people tend to be a little more sensitive about their own history.

Zelderahn:
I'll have to parrot the notion put forth by the others here, the acts of the singular warrior which the Call of Duty franchise revolves around were quite frankly imperceptible as he/she disappeared into the miasma of uniforms and death.

Plenty of books and films have focussed on the actions of individuals though, not just in the American civil war, but throughout the whole period where similar weapons and tactics were in use - the Sharpe series was set a few decades earlier, while Zulu was just afterwards, to give a couple of obvious examples.

Strike two I think probably hits it the hardest, which is that Call of Duty is nearly entirely built around adrenaline and run'n'gun, the only way I can think of getting this feel in an era close to the civil war would be in the wild west. Revolvers and carbines with plenty of lone warriors and bandits,

Or a small scout group stuck behind enemy lines. Skirmishers clashing for position before the main armies arrive. A messenger crossing dangerous territory. Just because the main battles were mostly fought between massed line infantry doesn't mean there aren't plenty of scenarios in which individual action would have been important. Best of all, this would also mean they're not stuck to the pure historical record - a player can't alter the outcome of a well known battle, but can easily be involved with a minor action that could have plausibly influenced events leading up to one.

Or of course, they could simply say fuck it and not bother trying to be that historical at all. It's not like anything since Modern Warfare has been at all realistic, so what would be so bad about having a different setting treated in the same non-realistic, over the top manner?

far better at evoking the spirit of the franchise for the all-important multiplayer that it is predominantly designed for

Given that the entire point of the article was about the need to do something different, worrying about what you think the spirit of the franchise happens to be right now seems a bit silly. It wasn't all about the multiplayer at the start, that was the interesting new thing that has now become old and stale. Trying to stick with that while coming up with newer and more interesting ideas would be rather counter-productive.

RandV80:
I don't mean to offend any of my lovely neighbours to the South, but does anyone outside of the US really give a damn about the American Civil War?

There's at least one: I have watched the Ken Burns documentary several times (all 12 hours of it) and two of my favourite films are Glory and Gettysburg.

Also, it may surprise you to know that there's a complete comic book series from Belgium; Les Tuniques Bleues, that's about the American Civil War.

Kahani:

RJ 17:
And yet no one has a problem with games and movies depicting the Nazi flag. Go figure. :P

No-one in America has a problem with games and movies depicting the Nazi flag. No-one in Germany has a problem with games and movies depicting the Confederate flag. Oddly enough, people tend to be a little more sensitive about their own history.

So one madman commits genocide and we're fine with the flag that represented his faction. One psycho shoots up a church and we immediately ban the flag that was shown in a picture he was in.

Nope, no double-standard here. I don't rightly care whose history it's a part of, if we're banning flags because of atrocities then there's plenty of other flags that should be banned as well.

Personally I don't think any flags should be banned as, to me, it represents an attempt to bury and forget about the past...and I think that's a silly idea regardless of the context.

There are several points in the First World War that could make a good Call of Duty game. The Western Front 1914 to early 1915, before the serious trench digging began. The Western Front again in 1918, when the war became mobile again. The Eastern Front and Mesopotamian theatre with their large, wide ranging manoeuvres. Mountain warfare on the Italian front. Guerilla warfare in East Africa. So many possibilities . . .

Although that said, the moral complexity and ambiguity of the First World War makes me think that the Call of Duty developers would be exceptionally poor candidates for making a good game out of it.

 

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