Before Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare even released this week, a screenshot, similar to the one above, started flooding social media. The gist of the scene: The player’s character, Mitchell (Troy Baker), is attending the funeral of his comrade in arms, Will Irons. Advanced Warfare has boiled down the act of mourning into a simple button prompt: “Press square to pay respects.”
It’s a ludicrous idea taken out of context, but in the course of the game itself? Yup, still silly. And the concept becomes even more troubling when considering the entire funeral sequence. It’s indicative of a problem games have suffered for years—distilling scenes meant to evoke pathos to a simple button press or two. We’re not given a reason to truly care about what’s happening other than “the game is telling us to feel something.”
The only feeling I was left with, though, was disappointment. Despite the strides in storytelling we’ve seen in gaming recently, what’s likely be the one of the year’s most widely played games bungles any hope of starting off on an authentically emotional moment.