It’s Halloween and also a big week for Call of Duty fans. What better way to celebrate than with zombies and the scary idea of Twitter shaping a video game character?
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
Activision has been laying the groundwork for its latest title for some time, beginning as far back as April. Call of Duty: Black Ops III players in the popular Nuk3town map noticed a mysterious spaceship hovering overhead in the level’s end cinematic, and a character named Lieutenant Reyes appeared on monitors throughout—prompting mass speculation among fans. The next day, bad guys from Infinite Warfare infiltrated the Black Ops III universe, leaving propaganda all over the place. On Sunday morning, Reyes appeared and directed players to what he described as the only secure communications channel left: Facebook Messenger, where players could interact with him and get help finding clues hidden within the game and elsewhere the internet. The chatbot was a massive success, with over six million users participating. Those who found codes were able to unlock the Infinite Warfare trailer ahead of its public debut.
Activision recently followed suit with another chatbot, this time serving as a choose-your-own-adventure tour guide through the world of the game. Starring actress, Kate Micucci (Garfunkel and Oats) as Alana the tour guide, fans can interact to explore various interplanetary locations and even unlock a few easter eggs.
The publisher has a reputation for enlisting celebrities to help promote its games, particularly when it comes to live-action trailers. Most recently, Olympic gold medalist, Michael Phelps, and comedian Danny McBride appeared in a trailer called “Screw it, let’s go to space”—a tongue-in-cheek nod to public criticism over the game’s location as well as election-year strife. Unable to handle it all anymore, citizens simply get on a spaceship and forget their woes in a symphony of explosions and gun fire. Appealing to sports fans, UFC champion Conor McGregor plays a villain named Captain Bradley Fillion in the game’s campaign mode in both voice and likeness which is sure to bring some excellent cross promotion.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare throws a bit of ’80s nostalgia into the mix with its Zombies in Spaceland mode—employing celebrities from the era like Paul Reubens and David Hasselhoff. To celebrate, Zombies in Spaceland became the focus of a retro-themed commercial for the suped-up PS4 Pro:
. . . and what would Halloween be without zombies? Activision hosted a spooky livestream to build hype ahead of the November 4 launch date. As an extra incentive, Activision offered a free copy of its remastered, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare for anyone who pre-ordered Infinite Warfare. For COD fans Down Under, an iOS card game called Call of Duty: Siege was released in Australia.
Let the countdown begin! Join us for our Zombies in Spaceland livestream! pic.twitter.com/GiFowqI4hO
— Infinity Ward (@InfinityWard) October 31, 2016
Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization
Bandai Namco has invited players to help “raise” a character in its new game that releases on Saturday. The upcoming PS4/Vita sci-fi role-playing game, already released in Japan, follows a four-player party’s adventures in a fictional virtual reality MMO. Dubbed “artificial intelligence girl raising project CODE ZERO: Premiere,” this character will shape her personality based on Twitter accounts she is given access to.
Premiere will be an NPC (Non-Playable Character) appearing day one in-game, but will receive a patch to update her “vocabulary and personality,” taken from her Twitter interactions. Her progress is recorded via a Twitter account, although for English-speakers, understanding clumsily-translated Japanese may prove more frustrating than fun. To find out what Premiere’s personality is, fans will just have to pick up the game on Saturday.