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Announced last month, CODumentary—Devolver Digital's unofficial behind-the-scenes look at Activision's enduring war shooter series—is out now.
Driven by the off-beat publisher's Films division, CODumentary charts the shooter's "incredible" rise to fame—exploring its place in the early 2000's FPS landscape, through to its juggernaut status today.
If you missed it last month, here's another look at its reveal trailer:
"CODumentary is an independent documentary which tells an incredible story of how the video game Call Of Duty grew into becoming one of the biggest global entertainment blockbuster franchises of all time," reads the film's Steam page blurb. "The film travels back through time and looks at how a single video game gained millions of fans around the world, broke numerous records and battled through the years to establish itself as one of the greatest video games of all time."
"The film looks at how government officials raised their concern over in-game content and what happened when two studio bosses were sensationally fired by their parent company following a long spell of success. The documentary drills down into all areas of Call Of Duty esports—the teams, coaches, professional players, and broadcasters, and looks at what it takes to be become the best in the world.
"CODumentary is told by developers, fans, professional players and numerous experts who describe in rich detail what makes the game so special and why it's been so successful from launch to the present day."
I have never seen a more tragic comments section than the one from a few weeks back when we asked our readers to . Over 200 of you shared stories of despair and woe as hard drives crashed, Uplay cloud saves glitched, or a simple misclick spelled doom for countless hours of gaming.
We've collected the saddest, most heartbreaking stories below so that you can wallow in their misery. And if you didn't get a chance to contribute your own story, do so in the comments.
This one hits hard because the emotional loss is so apparent. It's one thing to fall in love with your Morrowind character and your adventures together, but Bear's story of losing his entire library of collected books in Morrowind because of a virus really stings.
My first Morrowind character. I had made an Argonian and enjoyed the wonders that the game had to offer, discovered mods a number of hours in, got myself a few decent ones, joined House Telvanni to appreciate the irony of being an Argonian and of Telvanni, and progressed very little on the main questline but became deeply infatuated with the world.
I kept telling myself, I'll do the main quest later, and something would come up. When the "something" was the Thieves Guild, I became captivated with in-game theft, and I claimed a home that was empty after I'd murdered the owner as my loot den.
I use the word loot loosely. I was only interested in one type of item to steal: books. I ventured back and forth across the continent stealing every book I could manage, piling stacks of books as high as I could manage in my den of ill-gotten goods, occasionally tossing other stolen things on the floor, but my pride were the hundreds of books stacked taller than my Argonian. The small room would take a good ten minutes to load because of the sheer amount of books. I'd take detours while exploring just to raid places looking for books. Even if I got one book, I was pleased to be able to add it to my collection.
This was the first time I'd pumped so many hours into any game, ever. It was probably 2003 or 2004, and I had a PC that was rough around the edges at best. It was passed to me by my father as a reject for his own uses, no doubt in hopes that I would get my 12 or 13-year-old behind off the family PC with minimal trouble, and it worked. Until my young self made an uneducated choice in my forays on the internet and I picked up a particularly nasty virus while trying to download some free graphics editing software. The PC wouldn't boot. My father refused to help me fix it (apparently he had regrets for giving me my own PC, because my internet usage increased rapidly) and I couldn't figure it out.
My father finally just reformatted the hard drive and when I went to restart Morrowind, my hundreds of hours and couple years of gameplay was lost. I'd just lost the one thing that helped let me escape the troubles of being a bullied, friendless kid so easily before.
Not all of these stories have to do with losing a save file entirely. Some deal with the existential horror of being trapped in one location, never able to escape. Of course, that horror becomes a lot more tangible when there's a giant xenomorph rapping at your chamber door.
Alien: Isolation is a bit mean with the saving system. You have to find what looks like a retro telephone booth and dial a number, making sure that Mr. Alien is not about to skewer you with his tongue or show you his six freaky fingers. You can only go back two save points, so you have to be very careful.
After a month spent hiding in lockers and wetting myself, I'd progressed through the game painfully slowly. I was escaping from the nest and it looked like I was finally getting Amanda off Sevastapol for good. I only had to take a lift up to a safer level. Sadly, I dropped a gun while being chased by the Alien and it got wedged in the door in a very glitchy way. The glitch meant that although I could take the lift, the next level wouldn't load. I was stuck! I couldn't retrieve an early enough save file to avoid the glitching gun. I haven't had the courage to replay the entire game to get to that point, so I'll never know if Amanda made it.
She's left forever in that lift with the Alien banging on the door outside.
Listen, people make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes can hurt us, but I'm not sure if I'd ever end a relationship over a lost game save. But I guess The Witcher 3 isn't your average game.
Some time ago, my ex girlfriend wanted to play The Witcher 3 and I shared it from my Steam library with her. One day she played it in my PC, and when I came to play I realized that the save files in The Witcher 3 are the same when you share from your Steam library, and she saved her game in the same slot as mine. I lost my lvl 55 Geralt, my witcher gear and swords—everything. My time in Ard Skellige looking for treasures didn't serve for anything. I broke up with her some time ago and I use this story to explain why she is now my ex hahahaha.
I'm sure parents are equally as responsible for deleted saves as failing hardware. But there's something especially tragic when it all happens because they were trying to do something nice for you.
In the late nineties, my dad surprised me for my birthday with some PC upgrades: a new monitor, bigger hard drive, and new graphics card. Of course, he'd wiped my old hard drive. Ten years of save files, writing, gig upon gig of films and music, all gone.
Commenter Grom Hellscream sums up the tragedy perfectly:
"Happy birthday, son. I formatted your entire childhood."
If you've ever saved immediately before your demise only to find that you're now stuck replaying your death over and over, you can sympathise with Berty Bennish's story.
I was playing the first Call of Duty back when it first came out. I would regularly save my games but in this instance, my last save was a couple of levels before the incident. It was the daylight St. Mere-Eglise level. After destroying the tank that comes out of the wall I ran round the corner heading towards where you would get in the car. I killed a couple of guys and ran a bit further. Game decides to auto save right when a German soldier pops round the corner and blasts me in the head. Instant death.
and so on…
What's hilarious about this particular story is that another one of our commenters had nearly the exact same problem.
When I was playing Call of Duty, way back in the day, there was a tank section. I hadn't saved for the entirety of the (rather long) mission, and contrived to save at the exact moment a shell was fired in my direction, a shell which would wipe me out.
Every time I tried to reload, the shell would fire and I would die. Over and over. I was shattered.
If a psychologist interviews me years from now and asks me why my dreams often have intermittent flashes of light, this is 100 percent the reason. Poor old toddler me.
Parents have unwittingly destroyed thousands of hours of time invested into games, but Zach Fathaigh's story flips the script. I'm assuming his mother had a hard time looking at him for a few days after.
1996's The Realm is a fun proto-MMO that my mom was obsessed with. You get four or five character slots, I can't remember which. My mom let me have one of those slots (thank you, Mom). My older brother asked me what the game was like and I wanted to show him how fun it was to start a new character. So I looked at the list and saw Mom's two really badass characters, my character, and a level 1 naked character. I deleted that one to make room for my brother's character.
The deleted character was a mule with hundreds of hours worth of loot. I forgot about this incident entirely until my mom reminded me of it over the weekend.
We've all had hardware fail. Picking up and starting a game from the ashes of an old save is awful. Having to do it twice? No thanks.
Christmas of 1999, I get the one game I really wanted under the tree. That big, ugly (beautiful?) orange and purple box. Planescape: Torment. From Christmas day until just before New Years, I put about 25-ish hours into the game. I was really into it. Then my hard drive crashed. I was devastated. I had the computer fixed within a week, but it took me another month or two to work up the nerve to start the game over from scratch. I did it, though. Even made some slightly different choices. It was a bit tedious to read ALL that text again, but after a good 15 hours or so, I got back to where I'd been. Played another 20-ish hours and... BAM, another hard drive crash.
Here's a tip, kids: Don't skimp out on your power supply when building a PC. It killed two hard drives before I knew the cause. Anyway, to say it was soul crushing was an understatement. I haven't beaten Planescape: Torment to this day. I've tried going back to it, but I end up losing interest before I ever get back to where I was. Best RPG of all time? Maybe. It's too painful for me to be able to ever know.
Speaking of hard drive failures, I can't stress enough how important it is to back up important projects. We had countless stories about people losing game saves, but entire games? Seriously, don't wind up like Matt.
I once made an entire game in RPG maker VX-ACE. It was called the Tower of Trials. It was short and utilized only the assets the game provided. It had some random elements, little story, and was intended for short-runs about 30-40 minutes long. I worked on it for two years, starting on my old laptop and eventually finishing it on my first PC. It was my own little project and only a few of my friends played it. Then I discovered why people told me not to buy cheap HDDs. My hard drive crapped out on me and two years of work was lost. My oldest version of the game was on my old laptop and only had three floors of the tower completed. Needless to say, my current rig is running on a Samsung SSD.
It's one thing to lose a save file, but to lose the ability to play a game altogether? Now that's tragic.
Back in elementary school, 2001 or so, I really liked Harry Potter. Neither me nor my parents could afford a PC or anything to play modern games (had an Atari 130 XE though), so I was very happy when someone left Philosopher's Stone installed at the school's computer lab.
I could only play video games for a limited time after classes, so I only made it to Herbology Class over the course of several months. The game felt amazing to me, probably because I was reading Harry Potter books around the same time.
Once I went to school as usual, but after arriving I noticed it was completely deserted. Normally, entire halls would be filled with sounds of children playing but there was not a single soul in sight. I went upstairs. After walking around for a minute, I was spotted by the principal's assistant who rushed me to the cafeteria.
When we arrived there, I saw that all students were crammed inside. I quickly learned from colleagues that the school was robbed overnight. Robbers broke the window and stole a boombox, whole bunch of chocolate bars from school's kiosk, and every single PC from the lab. I lost not only the save file I worked for what felt like eternity, I lost the ability to play my beloved game in the first place.
Some comments were edited for grammar and clarity.
Offbeat publisher Devolver Digital is known for its eccentricity as much as it is for representing neat indie videogames. Its Films division has now announced CODumentary—"a documentary following a story centered about the blockbuster videogame Call of Duty."
Set to run for 93 minutes, the feature length production explores the war series' rise from popular videogame to "global entertainment franchise", and was filmed over five years around North America, the UK and Europe, including the D-Day beaches. Said to feature developers, fans of the series, pro players and "numerous gaming experts", the behind-the-scenes look is not sponsored by creators Activision, so will hopefully examine both the good and bad tales tied to the game's creation.
Here's the film's trailer:
"One of the biggest challenges making the film was encapsulating a 15 year timeline into 93 minutes," says producer Jonathan Beales in a statement. "I was very fortunate to work with a lot of great people whose input and contribution really helped make this happen. It’s a rich story of evolution told through the eyes of games developers, fans, industry experts and professional players. It’s a big documentary and we wanted to put the fans first so took the opportunity to host two full screenings at DreamHack Atlanta that were a big success.
"It’s been a great five-year journey and even though the documentary is centered on video games, the story is always about the human input and endeavour involved. The rich experiences of developing games, playing them or waiting in line to buy them will always remain center stage."
Purposefully awkward portmanteau aside, CODumentary will premiere worldwide on Steam and VOD on September 19, at 6pm BST/10am PST. Thereafter, those interested can pick it up on iTunes, Google Play, MGo, Playstation, Xbox, TubiTV, Indie Reign, and the Indie Rights Vimeo Channel. Hard copy Blu Ray and DVD launches are planned further down the line again.
It appears that the rumor that Activision's Call of Duty series would return to the Second World War in its next installment was true: A countdown at callofduty.com is leading to the "worldwide reveal livestream" of Call of Duty: WWII in the middle of next week.
The site doesn't reveal anything more than the setting, with an image of an American GI who's clearly seen too much, and that Sledgehammer Games is the developer. An option to sign up to be notified when the livestream begins is also available.
Roughly five days remain on the clock, and in case there was any doubt it's labeled with the time and date of the reveal: April 26, at 10 am PT. We've reached out to Activision for more information, and while we'll probably have to wait for the big moment like everyone else, we'll let you know if we hear more.
If the rumours are true, and they most likely are, this year we’ll be seeing Call Of Duty: WWII. People have reacted with concern, but I’m here to argue it’s the best possible news.
There was a time when learning a game was set in World War II was deserving of the heaviest of sighs. Not only did it mean that it would be one of seven thousand other games that year plundering the past for an excuse to bob a gun at the bottom of the screen, but it was more likely to be crass and ignorant than a tribute to the bravery and miserable deaths of our ancestors. We got well and truly sick of WW2 games. Then to save us, the march of the zombies began. We had a whole new theme to groan at, and the Second World War has had something of a break.
The temptation of hearing the rumours that the all-conquering shooter series is to return to its own origins is to start sighing once again. But there are some really good reasons not to. In fact, if there’s anything that could save CoD from itself, it’s heading back. … [visit site to read more]
You may have already seen the Call of Duty: WWII "leaked" images, but if you haven't, here's the rundown: YouTuber TheFamilyVideoGamers posted a video, where he talked about a handful of images he received from an anonymous source. These images point to this year's Call of Duty game being set in World War II, and they even suggest the game will be called Call of Duty: WWII.
Now, there's reason to believe that Call of Duty would be taking the series back to the second World War, as Activision said in a February earnings call that Call of Duty would return "to its roots." However, it's important to remember that this doesn't mean the aforementioned images are real. In fact, it makes it easier for someone to pass off fake images as legitimate art, so practice skepticism when viewing the images at the bottom of this post.
I think it's fairly likely that Call of Duty is going back to World War II this year. However, I don't necessarily believe these images are legitimate. TheFamilyVideoGamers has a subscriber count of about 320 at the time of publishing, and it doesn't really make sense to me why someone would send these images to them of all people.
Another thing I'd like to mention is that Activision's "back to its roots" comment could mean something other than World War II entirely. It could point to a more traditional, modern military setting as well. We can't be sure, but we'll keep you updated as more is revealed.
Each year's Call of Duty game traditionally gets revealed around late April to early May, so we're only a little more than a month away if they continue that this year. Last year's Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare received an unfavourable review from Tyler, who said its side attractions—Zombies and Modern Warfare Remastered—were more fun than the main game. However, this year's Call of Duty is being helmed by Sledgehammer Games, and Tyler seemed to like their last attempt, Advanced Warfare, a bit more.
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>
Call of Duty 2 [official site] tends to get forgotten about, sandwiched as it is between the huge success of Call of Duty and the truly gargantuan success of Call of Duty 4 (we don t talk about Call of Duty 3 here in PC town). This is an unfortunate state of affairs, as it might just be the best game in the series. … [visit site to read more]
It's Sledgehammer Games' turn to push out a Call of Duty this year, and a cryptic New Year's tweet has many believing that this latest game will be set in the 20th century. The tweet contains the following message, along with an elaborate GIF showing an old-fashioned counter whirring away against a clockwork background. "It's officially 2017!" reads the message. "Some call it the zodiac year of the Hammer. Have a safe and fun New Year's, everyone!"
By itself, that could just be an overproduced New Year's Day celebration, but an earlier tweet seems quite hinty as well. This message by Sledgehammer co-founder and studio head Michael Condrey features an image of an iconic 20th century pistol, the M1911.
OK, so that's not a lot to go on, but given that Battlefield recently veered back in time with its World War 1-set Battlefield 1, a similar move by COD doesn't seem terribly out of place. Could Call of Duty be heading to WW1, WW2, or potentially Vietnam for its 2017 installment? (Rumours appeared of the latter possibility last year.)
The most recent COD is set in the future, with spaceships and everything, and PC Gamer's Tyler Wilde didn't like it very much. Hopefully Call of Duty 2017 will improve on the formula somewhat.
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>
Like Graham, I ve always felt bad for the Brothers In Arms series of games. The WWII shooter was well into its fatigue stage by the time these games got around to doing something intelligent with it. Rocking up to the beaches of Normandy in Medal of Honor or storming the streets of Stalingrad in Call of Duty were excellent set pieces at the time. But neither game came close to making you think about anything that was going on, it was run and/or gun. That’s it. Brothers In Arms introduced a tactical element – and it was simple too. You just had to point at things.