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Inside Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's Future Tech

by Tim Turi on May 23, 2014 at 09:00 AM

Sledgehammer Games' Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (check out our cover reveal) is not the first game in the series to move the timeline into the future. However, the studio's 2054 vision of futuristic tech is more deeply integrated into the gameplay than anything the franchise has seen before. From the Exo suit to a rifle that 3D prints bullets, this is a glimpse into the advanced weaponry and vehicles of Sledgehammer's solo, new generation Call of Duty debut.

Hover Bike

The hover bike is one of Advanced Warfare's most futuristic vehicles. Sledgehammer referenced real-life vehicles like motorcycles and snowmobiles for a grounded design starting point. The windshield is composed of smart glass, allowing the UI to meld with others in the game. The angular armor, designed to deflect enemy fire, shifts with the bike as it moves. Players ride the advanced one-man bikes through the flooded streets of Detroit, fleeing from enemy forces at high speeds.

3D-Printer Rifle

Sledgehammer is tapping into relevant modern 3D printer technology for this weapons inspiration, looking far into the future to see what might be possible on the battlefield. Players load in a canister of liquid matter and rack it by pulling back on the bolt. Once securely housed, the internal computer begins printing ammunition on the spot. Players can see the number of bullets created as a digital ammo counter increases. Sledgehammer is still tinkering with the fire rate and power of the 3D printer rifle, but it should dramatically reduce reload time.

Plasma-powered Rifle

Referencing D.A.R.P.A. (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) experiments and public military prototypes, this plasma rifle is among the more futuristic weapons we saw during our trip to Sledgehammer Games. While we didn't see this portable rifle in action, other large energy weapons are on display in Advanced Warfare's campaign. In the sequence leading to the attack on the Golden Gate Bridge, players drive a high-tech SUV equipped with a turret that fires blue blasts, devastating other enemy vehicles. This smaller plasma rifle should be similarly effective against foot soldiers.

Exo Suit

The Exo is the mechanical backbone of Advanced Warfare's journey into the year 2054. In Sledgehammer's universe, the Exo began as a clunky mechanical suit that became more elegant as technology and design evolved. Modern-day exosuit prototypes are bulky and require heavy batteries to operate, but these strength and agility augmenting suits become more sleek and versatile in Advanced Warfare's future. The Exo allows players to jump higher, run faster, lift heavy objects, and more. Players can even punch through doors to initiate the dramatic slow-motion breach sequences from previous Call of Duty games. Certain characters can also enter mechanical suits with moving plates of heavy armor that quickly protect them (shown in the top image).

Tanks and Aircraft

Cutting-edge military vehicle design incorporates an array of sharper angles. Consider modern military vehicles with angles on the underside, which makes them better able to weather blasts from bombs or mines. Like the hover bike, these angles help vehicles withstand explosions and projectiles more effectively than a boxy design. Sledgehammer predicts the function of military vehicles like MRAPs (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected), tanks, and helicopters won't change in the future, but the form will continue to change. For example, the aircraft carrier in Advanced Warfare is still recognizable, but Sledgehammer envisions a future where all flying vehicles have vertical takeoff, which eliminates the need for a runway. With that in mind, Advanced Warfare's aircraft carrier is littered with platforms that rise up from inside the ship, allowing planes and helicopters to be reloaded.


These are just a few examples into Sledgehammer's vision of future military technology. Other technology will enhance the game world, including civilians enveloped by smart glass technology, digitized street signs, and more. Despite these electronic advancements, the game world is still gritty and grounded in a way fans will recognize.

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