While outer space is not entirely uncharted territory for the Call of Duty series (2013’s Call of Duty: Ghosts had a sequence in space), this year’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is putting more of a focus on it. Developers at Infinity Ward previously said making a Call of Duty game in space would be quite a challenge, but now, it appears Infinity Ward has found a solution. Speaking with GameSpot today, design director Jacob Minkoff talked about the new possibilities that outer space allows in the Call of Duty series.
Infinity Ward consulted its military advisers about the plausibility of space warfare as part of its effort to ensure that, while the game is futuristic, it also remains grounded in some degree of realism. The advisers informed Infinity Ward that “space is the next frontier of military activity.”
As for what space as a setting allows for in terms of gameplay, Minkoff shared a number of examples.
“We can take you to crazy environments, like on the surface of an asteroid spinning out of control where you have to avoid sunlight because it’s going to burn you at two thousand degrees,” Minkoff said. “We have zero-G combat where you can be in your space fighter, you can pop the canopy, jump out onto the deck of a ship, and be grappling around it at zero-G; even going upside down because in zero-G, up isn’t up; and ultimately bust inside [the ship] and have boots-on-the-ground combat inside that ship.”
As Minkoff alluded to, another major component of Infinite Warfare, and what may set it apart from past games, is its “seamless” nature. While previous Call of Duty games had vehicle and even underwater levels, Infinite Warfare goes further, connecting all of these into one connected experience.
“There have been vehicle levels in previous Call of Dutys, but in this game, you are flying your own fighter, which is persistent, which you get to upgrade and personalize over the course of the game,” he said. “You are ordering your ship, the Retribution, to take you to different targets of opportunity that you get to choose.”
In some Infinite Warfare levels, players will be able to fight on the ground and then call in their spaceship to fly them up above the atmosphere to immediately engage in a space dogfight. Players can then land on the Retribution, get out, walk to the bridge, and designate the ship’s next location. This all happens without a loading screen, Minkoff said.
“So it’s about how those combinations of elements that all play together that’s really, really unique to this game,” he explained.
This is not to say Infinite Warfare will be an open-ended game on the level of Grand Theft Auto, however. “We are telling linear story just like we always have,” Minkoff said, adding that the “primary” experience in the game will be “gun-in-hand, ducking behind cover.”
The side-quests you take on provide you with loot, more weapons, and “optional story elements,” Minkoff said. The items earned from these side-missions will help make your next mission easier, but it sounds like they are only optional.
For more on Infinite Warfare, which comes out on November 4 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, check out GameSpot’s roundup of everything we know so far. Also on the way is a remastered version of 2007’s fan-favorite Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which will be available only for people who buy one of the Infinite Warfare premium versions.