New ‘Call of Duty’ does away with health regen in campaign mode

Gelo Gonzales
New ‘Call of Duty’ does away with health regen in campaign mode
'Suddenly as a player, you cared about what you were doing, you cared about not running and gunning in this fast and unrealistic way,' says Tolga Kart, senior development director for 'Call of Duty: WWII'

LOS ANGELES, USA – Call of Duty: WWII developers Mike Mejia and Tolga Kart talked to Rappler about the 2017 iteration of the annually-released shooter at E3 2017.

What stood out was the removal of health regeneration, a feature that players have come to expect as standard in first-person shooters.

Kart explained how the development will affect the experience: “We’ve taken out health regeneration, which has been in the franchise for a very long time. That will allow the player to experience the game in a completely new way, especially for those players who have never played COD this way before. It will allow the player to sit and really appreciate what’s going around them; appreciate the amount of health he/she has; appreciate the amount of bullets that are left; and really where the squad is at any one time.” 

Mejia, senior producer, clarified that the health regen removal only applies to the single-player campaign mode, and will stay in multiplayer mode. 

Authenticity was a big part of the decision, according to Kart: “It was just the right move. We’re all about authenticity. We want the player to experience an authentic, visceral, gritty experience where you’ll be able to be fully immersed. Health regen was a feature for us that didn’t quite fit within the World War II theme. Taking it out was just right. We knew when we flipped that switch, then we’ve done the right thing.” 

Kart also said that the move wasn’t met with resistance during development, noting that in the development process, you just have to try things, and see whether they work or not.

Kart said: “Once it came up, once we decided to do it, we went ahead, we just did it – just to try, you know? So once we came up with this path, we tried it, and it just worked. The whole world around you felt real, and suddenly as a player, you cared about what you were doing, you cared about not running and gunning in this fast and unrealistic way. It was the right decision for us.” 

Aside from the major game mechanic change, the return to World War II also represents a new direction for the franchise, whose recent games have been focused on modern and future settings. The developers discuss these changes in the video interview above.

Below, we also have a rundown of the important talking points. You may click on the link to go directly to that specific part of the interview: 

On the return to World War II after a series of recent games set in modern times or the future: 

Kart: “It’s the right time for us to tell the story to a generation of players who haven’t experienced World War II content. Saving Private Ryan was 25 years ago or 20 years ago. The last Call of Duty that touched on World War II was 10 years ago. It’s been a long time. There’s a 10-year gap for a generation of players who really do not know about World War II like the previous generations did.”

Mejia: Band of Brothers was maybe 10 years [ago], I think…So much has happened in the media, specifically in our gaming industry, that it’s just the perfect way to come back.”

On the story

Kart: “You’re going to be following the story of Private Red Daniels, a kid from the middle of America and his squad. And you’re going to follow them from Normandy in France all the way to Germany.

It’s a single-protagonist story where you get to experience his emotional journey that the player’s having all through the campaign, and it’s really focusing on the inter-relationship of his squad with the player. Of course, you’ll encounter people and soldiers of different nationalities. You’ll fight along a British operative. You’re going to fight along the head of the French Resistance.”

On esports: 

Mejia: “As a studio, we’re very passionate about esports, and that culture and that movement. We’re always at those events. For us, it’s a very important part of our development process, and we can’t wait to talk more about that. But I can tell you that we’re super passionate about what’s happening in the culture of esports. It’s a great time for esports right now.” 

On pushing along the first-person-shooting genre:

Mejia: “We’re doing things like ‘Headquarters,’ which is a brand new feature, which is probably one of the biggest features that we have. You’ll begin there with 47 other players, and it will be a shared social space where you can kind of interact with other players; you’ll be able to compete with other players, It’s the perfect opportunity for you to kind of have downtime, do other things like prestige-ing in public. You can do it in between the matches; you can do it before the matches or after the matches. That’s one way for us to keep pushing social engagement and people coming together, and playing games together.”

On the response so far to the game: 

Kart: “To the game in general, we’re seeing this huge excitement from our community, from the people here at E3 today. Their reaction is amazing. We hope we can take it through launch and give fans the experience they deserve.”

Call Of Duty World War II comes out on November 3, 2017 for the PS4, Xbox One and Windows. It is being developed by Sledgehammer Games and will be published by Activision. – 

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Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.