Technologically superior vehicles have been a cultural phenomenon since Herbie graced our TV screens in 1969. It’s safe to say that in some movies and TV shows, the iconic automobiles that leading men and women drive are so rapidly recognisable that they have become as culturally significant as their drivers. It would be difficult to imagine Back to the Future without Doc Brown’s DeLorean 12? Or James Bond without the Aston Martin DB5?
Looking beyond the silver screen, vehicles are just as important and culturally relevant in the world of gaming. For example, the introduction of ground breaking, technologically advanced vehicles such as the Razorback VTOL and hoverbikes in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare could herald a new generation of iconic vehicles and specifically ones that can fly!
[quote by=”Glen Schofield, Co-Founder and Studio Head of Sledgehammer Games”]Designing future vehicles is harder than you would imagine. Big decisions have to be made first. Do they fly? Do they drive themselves? What are they made of? What type of fuel are they using. Do we look out a windshield or is everything operated by camera and sensors? You have to look at the past few decades to see what has changed over time.[/quote]
When Sledgehammer Games started creating the future world of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare three years ago, they made a commitment to deliver a game set in the year 2054 that players can relate to. Their research explored both current technology as well as technology being researched and developed for tomorrow. They studied the history of the automobile, planes, military equipment and even the creation of roads, bridges and railroads to better understand the progression of land and air vehicles over time. It helped the team predict where these vehicles were headed in the future.
Early on in the development process, Sledgehammer created a design book composed of all the rules, shapes, proportions, and compounds, ensuring every artist was pushing in the right direction. They created hundreds of drawings of trucks, buses, military vehicles, and construction vehicles – breaking them down further into interiors, exteriors, and instrument panels.
[quote by=”Glen Schofield, Co-Founder and Studio Head of Sledgehammer Games”]The Razorback VTOL was extremely important to the game. It was also one of the first flying vehicles. We started with ‘How would it take off?’ and ‘How would it land?’ We decided that it should be able to turn on a dime, added jet engines for speed, and made it versatile so it could carry soldiers inside and heavy equipment on the outside. The team thought about doors for quick exfils, and mounting harnesses for quick access to the weapons.[/quote]
Over the course of the development process, Sledgehammer consulted with technologist and futurists and worked closely with private and public technology companies to develop futuristic vehicles. When they decided that hoverbikes fit within the story of Advanced Warfare, they gave special attention to what these vehicles would look like, how they would move, what their function would be, and how the Advanced Soldier would use them on the battlefield of tomorrow.
[quote by=”Glen Schofield, Co-Founder and Studio Head of Sledgehammer Games”]Hover technology has been around for approximately 50 years, and over time it’s plausible that the hoverbike could conquer different types of terrain. We built it to look like a snowmobile and a personal watercraft because that was relatable, and added the armoured plating for military purposes.
We made it much quieter than current hover vehicles because the military needs more stealthy ways to get around. By grounding it with known technology and making it look like a vehicle we’re all familiar with it becomes much more believable. We must have done over 50 sketches before we landed on something the group could agree on. In the end, we used parts of many different sketches to finally get the finished piece.
I’m really happy not only with the look but also with the gameplay. I hope somebody builds one someday![/quote]