Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's multiplayer mode was revealed at Gamescom today, with developer Sledgehammer showing how the focus on future technology will change traditional CoD multiplayer with increased verticality, dynamic map elements, and intricate soldier customization.
The exo suit from the single-player campaign carries over to MP, letting players double-jump, dash in mid-air, and execute slam attacks on unsuspecting foes. The suit can also be customized with specific abilities, such as hovering, stealth cloaking, and SWAT-like shields. One notably powerful ability can knock up to two projectiles away, returning grenades to their sender. There's also an overcharge perk to make exo abilities last longer.
Black Ops 2's Pick 10 customization system returns in an expanded form, with what Sledgehammer's calling "Pick 13." You can customize your soldier's loadout, abilties, and scorestreaks (the new name for killstreaks), then test them out in a new virtual firing range. Cooperative scorestreaks have also been added—if someone on your team gets a cool ship, for instance, you can join in with them as a second gunner. New vanity customizations add a lot of visual options as well, and the new lobby puts your character front and center.
Four new maps were shown at the event. Biolab focuses on close combat, and includes chemical containers you can destroy when enemies are near. Riot takes place in a Bagdad prison, with chaotic, narrow inner corridors and more tactical outdoor spaces. Ascend takes place in a space elevator terminal and focuses on CTF: its three lanes are defended by player-activated turrets, but you can boost jump out of lanes and cut across.
The most impressive map is Defender, which takes place beside San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. At some point during the patch, a tsunami will hit the map, which means you'll need to use the new exo boost jump and boost hover abilities to get to higher ground. If not, you end up in the water, and the gameplay trailer shows soldiers swimming through the wave.
There are 12 total modes, including CTF, Team Domination, Search and Destroy, and Hardpoint, as well as new modes such as Momentum and Uplink. Momentum is a new take on War mode, factoring in the exo suit's new mobility. Uplink looks like a little like Quidditch from the Harry Potter series: Players will carry a satellite ball, passing between teammembers, and points are scored by throwing the ball through goals or jumping through with it. We didn't see any broomsticks, but there's still hope.
Sledgehammer says it's focusing on e-sports, too, with ranked playlists and a broadcaster mode. Most important for PC players is the announcement of LAN lobbies—though it's not clear if local, offline play is truly supported.
The presentation ended with the announcement of early access availability for pre-orders, something Activision is calling "Day Zero." Current and future pre-orders will net you 24 hours of early access to the game, including Double XP, two new bonus weapons, and the additional perks through the Advanced Arsenal package.
We're cautiously positive. The exo suit's mobility naturally reminds us of Titanfall, and that's just fine. We're excited about the tsunami in Defender, though Battlefield's 'levelution' events did lose their novelty after the 15th time the same skyscraper fell over. Uplink could be a nice option for professional e-sports players (or Harry Potter fans), and we're happy to see that LAN support wasn't ignored in the reveal.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is out on November 4. The focus on vertical movement and dynamic maps will certainly distinguish it from previous CoDs, but we expect that core CoD multiplayer formula to remain in tact. Haters will likely continue to hate, and fans have something to look forward to.