A brand new Call of Duty was revealed through leaks last night. Activision saw it go down and decided to pull back the curtain on its next entry a little early.

Enter Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and its brand new trailer. That trailer, which you see above, features Kevin Spacey.

I, like I imagine several of you have as well, stopped playing Call of Duty a few years back. The rinse and repeat aspects of the campaign and multiplayer, the reused assets and the tired mechanics wore on me. I stopped enjoying it, so I moved on.

I even wrote about it here.

Truly, though, it wasn’t just the mechanical bits of Call of Duty that I grew extremely tired of. It was the way Activision, Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer and Treyarch were handling each game’s narrative that drove me away.

I like single player affairs. That’s how I pass my time gaming. The multiplayer stuff, for me, is the sideshow. If a game has a single player campaign, and that campaign is awful, I consider it money wasted.

Call of Duty turned into that for me after Black Ops. It’s all been a boring mess.

It’s Called Pacing, See?

Modern Warfare 3

Pacing is incredibly important when it comes to building a proper narrative. That goes almost double for games.

Players need to be strung along a story that hits high points, low points, middle points and everything in between in order to be properly engrossed in a story. Think of BioShock, right? The original wasn’t all shoot-shoot, kill-kill, scare-scare. It had scary bits, it had slow bits, it had passionate bits, it had contemplative bits and it had excessively violent bits.

All of those pieces of BioShock worked so well together because of proper pacing.

Think of it like this: if you’re listening to music at a nine out of 10 volume and you turn it up to 10, it’s only slightly louder. It’s hard to notice that difference and experience the change in sound. If you listen to music at a two, then a five, then a one, then a seven and then a 10, you notice the change. That’s pacing.

Call of Duty has turned into little more than explosion after explosion layered with short moments of stealth and horrible acting. The plot tries to be intricate, though it often fails thanks to the loud diversions mentioned in the previous sentence.

It isn’t paced well, and that’s a problem.

More Like Kevin Pace-y, Am I Right?

Kevin Spacey in Call of Duty - Advanced Warfare

With Spacey involved, Activision and Sledgehammer have a genuine actor capable of hoisting a narrative on his shoulders and carrying it across the finish line. This is a man who presents an almost addictive personality on film, and he’s one who has won two Oscars.

Spacey can deliver a storyline. He’s doing it now as Frank Underwood in House of Cards, but he killed it as Verbal in The Usual Suspects, Williamson in Glengarry Glen Ross and John Doe in Se7en. Kevin Spacey is good.

If he’s featured predominantly in the story of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, we have a single actor who can dictate the pace of the entire game through his monologues and dialogues. Spacey can easily slow the title down to reasonable levels and coyly present a storyline that we’ll actually care about.

Heck, as TechnoBuffalo’s own Sean Aune put it: “I could listen to him read a phone book.” Me too, Sean.

Much like Martin Sheen in Mass Effect and Willem Dafoe in Beyond: Two Souls, Kevin Spacey is such a big and capable name that I’ll likely check the next Call of Duty out. So, kudos to Activision for dropping the cash to make that happen.


Now, for those keeping score, don’t worry. I still won’t be reviewing the next entry in the Call of Duty line. The series fell out of my favor a few years back, and I’ve elected to skip reviewing it ever since. I don’t think I’m ready to be critical of it with a completely open mind, so I’ll still pass Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare‘s review on to another TechnoBuffalo staffer.

I’ll be playing it, though. Perhaps. It might still be the same exact shooter mechanically, but with Spacey involved, Activision might at least have a more narratively compelling hit on its hands.

Stay tuned for more on the next in this annual shooter series. We’ll have it as it comes.