Infinity Ward's next shooter, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, goes where no CoD has gone before: space. Alright, alright, there was that Black Ops 2 in-orbit mission and a Zombies map set on the moon, but you know what I mean. Infinite Warfare is all about adapting military combat to space. This time you aren't just a boots-on-the-ground grunt - you actually get to command your own spaceship and crew as you fight a growing threat. We got to see some of the upcoming zero-gravity gameplay in action at E3 2016; take a look and see what we learned from the latest gameplay trailer.
Part of the theme of Infinite Warfare is to feel the repercussions of your decisions from a command perspective. You play through the events of the game as Captain Nick Reyes, who commands a massive, battleship-sized space vessel called Retribution. From the trailer, players appear to be able to explore the ship freely, setting waypoints on the deck to get information on specific missions or walk onto the bridge to embark on your next mission. Outside of interacting with a few doors, jumping into fighters, and looking at the mission map (more on that in a sec), it's unclear what else we'll be able to do on the ship. Will we be able to visit the mess hall and get a bite to eat, or chit-chat with the crew like a Call of Duty version of Commander Shepard? (The one from Mass Effect, not Modern Warfare's evil Commander Shepard).
We're way out into the future in Infinite Warfare. Humanity has expanded out beyond the blue Earth and has started to colonize the planets and outer reaches of our solar system. It looks like players will be able to explore some of those locations and go on missions set on other planets. To get to these areas of operation, you have tell your crew to plot a course through the bridge's mission map, which gives you an overhead view of the solar system and every location of interest. From there, you can select whether to engage in the next operation or head off on a side-mission.
Soldiers need to be outfitted with the latest in military weaponry if they are to succeed in obliterating their enemies. In the latest trailer we got to see how creative the weapons manufacturers of the future can be. Captain Reyes is seen using several pieces of equipment, ranging from bullet deflecting riot shields to anti-gravity grenades. Reyes can use a grappling hook to pull himself to objects or people towards him in space, and the devs have even found a way to make frag grenades viable in zero-gravity: give them a homing device that seeks out enemy soldiers and explodes on impact. The Captain also looked to have some sort of spider robot equipped in one scene, which may be a device similar to the RC cars in the previous games - but y'know, with legs instead of wheels.
There's no doubt that weapons tech has made some significant leaps forward in the future. Your helmet will highlight enemies with a small white box so you can dispose of them quickly, and you can guide yourself through open space with personal propulsion from your space suit. In your ship's docking bay, there are bipedal armored mechs walking around with massive machine guns and rocket launchers attached to their chases. There also appear to be human-sized robot soldiers taking part in the battle. We've already seen one tossing Reyes into a ship in the first trailer and the same (or similar) bot appears in the E3 gameplay, but there also seem to be opposing robot soldiers trying to kill you. Reyes encounters one in the trailer that grabs him and tries to rip the Captain apart with its robot hands, but a quick knife to its robot guts solved that problem.
Prominently featured in the E3 gameplay trailer is Reyes' heavily-armed Jackal fighter ship. We aren't sure how often you will get to pilot one of these things, but the dogfights in space sure look like a blast. The Jackal appears to have the same capabilities as the jet in the Black Ops 2 flight sequence, albeit expanded a bit. Players will have full control over the ship in the battle, using the craft's 30mm machine guns, missile lock-scrambling flares, and homing missiles against the enemies as you see fit. There's no telling what function the co-pilot plays in the battles, though I do get a Luke and Dak vibe from that launch sequence - which doesn't bode well for the co-pilot. Hopefully, the ship is more of a mainstay for the game and not just involved in a one-and-done space mission.
Any good space nerd knows that things floating around, whizzing through, and exploding in space can't be heard, because there are no air particles for sound to travel through. It seems that, to get around this science fact and ultimately create a more enjoyable space combat experience for players (a silent battle would probably be really boring), Captain Reyes' helmet produces artificial audio for everything going on around him in space. It says so when he puts it on in the gameplay trailer. I have no idea how it would work, but at least it's an explanation. So, there you go, poindexters: The space sounds are fake.
So far, the guns in Infinite Warfare don't appear to be too different from the firearms we have available today. They still shoot solid bullets and the weapon designs look very familiar. The main rifle Captain Reyes uses in the gameplay trailer looks like a modern M4 model rifle, and the sub-machine gun could be a future P90 variant. Even the scopes are by-the-numbers, offering red dot sights and the swappable scope to iron sights attachments we've seen in previous games. There will surely be plenty of attachments that differentiate these guns from their modern counterparts, but without any radical weapon changes like shoulder-fired space lasers or energy-bursting fusion rifles, you can probably expect the shooting to feel like previous CoD games.
At this point, a Call of Duty just wouldn't feel complete without a character sticking an explosive device to a door or window and blasting it open to kill a bunch of bad guys. Now that you can do that sort of thing in an airless vacuum, it seems that depressurizing space ships is the new business. Reyes was shown sticking a bomb on the front of an enemy bridge's window and blowing the entire bridge crew out into space - which looked satisfying to say the least.