Behind the scenes with Vanguard Multiplayer
ollowing our in-depth look at the campaign and the birth of Special Forces in Call of Duty: Vanguard, it’s time to turn our attention to Multiplayer, where you are the Special Forces. In Multiplayer, you’ll battle across 20 maps at launch featuring four major theaters of war: the Western Front, the Eastern Front, North Africa, and the Pacific.“Multiplayer is about being those badass Special Forces operators,” says Greg Reisdorf, Multiplayer Creative Director at Sledgehammer Games. “We want players to feel powerful and capable… we’ve put all of our effort into the core experience, the second-to-second feeling you get when playing any of our maps or modes.”
Some of you may have already gotten a taste of the action during the Vanguard PlayStation Alpha in August with our new tournament-style Champion Hill Multiplayer mode. Or maybe you’re eager to test out core Multiplayer maps like Hotel Royal, Red Star, Gavutu, and Eagle’s Nest featured in our upcoming Beta weekends.
Whatever your familiarity, Greg is here to walk you through the core design philosophies surrounding Vanguard’s Multiplayer experience, from its heightened tactical mechanics and reactive gameplay environments to the new combat pacing feature that lets you fight the way you want, be it tense and tactical or in-your-face, adrenaline-pumping combat.
New tactical gameplay, reactive environments
“The core gameplay has to feel great,” Greg insists, “and it does.” That’s the guiding design principle behind Multiplayer: the moment-to-moment experience should be fast and fluid. Whatever your current action is, whether it’s sliding across a surface or peeking over cover before deciding to advance forward or engage right on the spot, it’s all seamlessly connected.
Combat should be consequential, too, and not just in the manner of who wins or loses the fight. “It’s also what that bullet is doing to the world,” Greg says. In building what the studio calls Reactive Gameplay Environments, books explode off shelves, wood splinters apart, furniture topples, new openings are created where there were none before. “We’re really making the world feel alive.”
The type of ammunition you use also matters when determining the effect of your weapon on the environment around you. “Gunsmith is coming back,” he says, “and we’ll have custom ballistics in there as well as ammo types, adding to the customization you have when building out these awesome World War II weapons.”
From the beginning of the match to its final seconds, the environment of a Multiplayer map will likely look very different as you blast away parts of walls and objects, and all that destruction isn’t just for aesthetics. “We have several areas in our maps where you can break through walls and open up new sight lines,” Greg says. “You can really change the experience of the game as you’re playing.” These spots are deliberately placed, often around Hardpoint hills and Domination flags. “It’s never been seen before in Call of Duty, and we’re excited to bring it to Vanguard.”
Choose how you play with combat pacing
Some players prefer tense, methodical combat, while others earn their glory in the fire of constant battle. Some just want the ability to choose between the two at will. Regardless of preference, the new combat pacing feature will deliver.
“Combat pacing is a preference you can set on your Quick Play filters,” Greg explains. “It allows us to really change the pace of combat for players.” It starts by choosing your preferred setting: Tactical, Assault, or Blitz.
“Tactical allows us to increase the time to engagement for an intimate and intense gameplay experience with a 6v6 player count. In Tactical combat pacing, individual boards really matter, and lines of sight really matter.”
More of a run and gunner? Set your filter to Blitz. “In Blitz, it’s just utter chaos, with different elements being destroyed very quickly,” Greg says. “We push as many players as we can into each map for a high-octane, high-action experience. You can go in and get multi-kill after multi-kill… it’s a very high risk, high reward experience.”
Pick your preferred setting or opt in for all three to add variety to your combat style throughout the play session. Start out in Tactical for an intense, personal experience, then run guns blazing in Blitz. Whatever the call, these Special Forces Operators are more than fit for the job.
Forge your legacy at Champion Hill
One arena. Four maps. Eight teams. The last team standing wins. Welcome to Champion Hill.
“It’s one of our brand-new modes,” Greg says. “It’s a mix of Battle Royale and Gunfight, with a lot of power progression. There’s been nothing like it before.”
It starts with the eight teams, divided into squads of one, two, or three players each. The teams are paired off and sent to one of four arenas surrounding Champion Hill: Airstrip, Courtyard, Market, and Trainyard. Competing in a round-robin tournament, each team must then fight for their lives, limited in number and shared amongst the squad.
Fighting in 60-second rounds, teams battle to protect their life count while whittling away the enemies. At the end of the round, teams are re-matched against a different opponent.
“Your lives persist throughout the event,” says Greg. “When you take a team’s last life, all of their weapons and gear will fly out of them for the taking.”
You earn cash for every elimination you get, and you collect more of it spread on the ground throughout each arena. Extra lives are also up for grabs if you can reach them without getting taken out.
“Every three rounds, you get a buy round,” Greg says. “Teams can purchase extra lives, new weapons, Perks, Streaks, all kinds of stuff that you get for the remainder of the match. Everything persists, so there’s this huge power progression as you’re moving between arenas and eliminating the other teams.”
The Champion Hill setting is integral to the Special Forces story, as well. “It’s all set in North Africa, where the Special Forces originated,” Greg says. “There’s a ton of fun in there and it’s just a new experience. It’s super-fast, tournament-style gameplay with great elements.”
When it comes to developing immersive Multiplayer experiences, Sledgehammer Games is looking to deliver. “I’m thrilled to finally be able to talk about Multiplayer,” Greg says. “There’s plenty more coming, too.”
Stay tuned: More intel on the way
We’ve still got more Vanguard developer blogs and game coverage on the way, so check back often at the Activision Games Blog in the coming days and weeks.
Pre-orders at participating retailers are available now, or at CallofDuty.com.
Rise on every front.
Game features described above are based on the current in-development features that are subject to change based on final development changes and/or game tuning or updates that may remove or modify some or all the above features.
For more information on Call of Duty®: Vanguard, check out www.callofduty.com and www.youtube.com/callofduty and follow @SHGames, @Treyarch, @RavenSoftware, and @CallofDuty on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
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