The lights are on
If you can't wait until November 5 for your next new Call of Duty fix, there's a new option… if you don't mind playing a mobile game. Call of Duty: Strike Team is out today for iPhones and iPads.
The story takes place in 2020, with the United States under attack from unknown assailants. While the story doesn't connect to the upcoming Call of Duty: Ghosts, Strike Team does take place in the same world. It offers a mix of third-person tactical planning and first-person shooting. The title comes out of The Blast Furnace, Activision's speciality mobile and portable studio made of up staff members from Rockstar. The team boasts credits including the portable Grand Theft Auto titles (including Chinatown Wars), Max Payne 3, and Manhunt 2.
Players will control a customizable squad through campaign and survival modes. The Blast Furnace worked to incorporate the new mechanics in such a way that Strike Team still retains the Call of Duty feel.
The design offers both third- and first-person play, and choosing between them is up to the player. "It was a tricky job combining the first- and third-person views, because it hasn't been done a lot of times," says studio head Mark Washbrook. "It's a hard thing to blend, so we spent a lot of time blending those two styles of gameplay. Still even now there's a heated debate within the team whether it's best to play third-person or first-person." Strike Team is set up so players can move their squads and easily slip into first-person move, take a shot, and return to tactical view.
Controls for third-person view involve tapping and dragging to move the squad. Tapping on an enemy causes your team to open fire, and double-tapping instructs squadmates to line up a headshot. The AI has your team take cover and return fire if they're seen. Customization includes four different weapon types (sniper rifles, submachine guns, shotguns, and assault rifles) with four different choices in each category, support gear, armor and perks. Options are unlocked through in-game currency earned from progressing, but can also be purchased with real money.
The first-person view involves virtual analog sticks, but also has a streamlined approach. "We know you're at a slight disadvantage when playing a first person shooter on glass," says lead designer John Dennis. "If you are taking fire from an enemy, there is an arrow on the left or right side of the screen, you can tap on that and it will take you to that enemy. It feels so natural that it's a surprise that no one has done it before." There is also a gyroscopic option.
The 18-wave survival mode exclusively uses first-person controls, while the campaign offers the blend of third- and first-person. You can download Call of Duty: Strike Team here.