E3: Activision Showcases Exclusive 'Call of Duty: WWII,' 'Destiny 2' Gameplay

Activision_logo - Getty - H 2017
Getty Images
From war-torn Europe to the moon of Jupiter, the gaming studio offered sneak peeks at their upcoming shooters.

Activision offered hands-on demos of two of their most eagerly anticipated games, Destiny 2 and Call of Duty: WWII, at E3 this week. 

The titles, both follow-ups in established series, both showcased first-person shooter action that offered players very different experiences.

Call of Duty: WWII returns the long-running series to the tableau that kicked off the franchise after nearly a decade in modern and futuristic settings. Glen Schofield, CEO of Sledgehammer Games, the studio behind the production of the game, stressed the importance of authenticity for both the story and design. "We had planes fly over, we'd go shoot off tanks, these guys would go get howitzers," Schofield told Heat Vision of getting the game's sound and visuals just right.

For the game story, Sledgehammer turned to actual stories from the era, just now being unearthed. "In the last 10 to 20 years, a lot of things have been declassified," Schofield explained. "So we're going back. The end of our game is actually from stories that only came out in the last couple years."

To make the game feel real, Schofield's team would record with actual antique armories from the time period, a detail that showed in the gameplay showcased to attendants. Sledgehammer had an historian — the ex-curator of the National WWII Museum — on their payroll to ensure the game's authenticity to the period. "Everything we're trying to do is as authentic as possible," Schofield said. "It's entertainment but there's no doubt that at the end of it we want people to have a much better knowledge of World War II and they wouldn't be lying from what they learned."

For the hard-nosed leader of the "Bloody 1st" Division, of which the player is a new recruit, Schofield recruited a big name in Josh Duhamel for the role — who just so happens to be a superfan of the series. "He's such a big fan and we loved him as our guy," Schofield said. "We had such a big cast and they've grown together. He acts like the head of [the division] when we take them out to dinner," he added with a laugh.

In the game, players are thrust into combat in decaying cities with visceral action sequences such as capturing a church in from Axis powers as mortar fire collapses its bell tower. 

For its other AAA title, Activision took the shooting action to space in Destiny 2. Set in a futuristic version of Earth, it puts the gamer in control of a Guardian, the game's super-powered heroes. E3 attendees were able to play in a battle-royale round of Countdown. Destiny 2's game mode pits teams of four players against one another as they attack and defend different checkpoints. As with the original game in the series, the controls were tight and the action was fast-paced.