Video games remain a dominant and lucrative staple of mass media entertainment, and while movies based on video games remain a struggling genre (see Hitman: Agent 47), the Call of Duty game franchise seems to stand at the intersection of cinema and gaming with its attempts at realism and highly-cinematic atmosphere and storytelling.
The franchise returns this fall with Call of Duty: Black Ops III, which moves the series deeper into the military science-fiction territory via a dystopian setting and cyberpunk elements. Black Ops III will also include an expanded version of the fan-favorite co-op zombie mode, which has been an ever-present feature since Call of Duty: World at War.
Now, a new trailer for the game updates a classic Call of Duty marketing campaign and features the likes of Michael B. Jordan (Fantastic Four) and Cara Delevingne (Suicide Squad). Jordan acts as host and narrator, introducing the viewer to Kevin: the normal-guy super-soldier who stands as the audience/gamer’s proxy (set to the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Blank,” as in the previous gameplay trailer). The suave Jordan (who has a shave among the chaos) guides us through the live-action version of many of the scenarios we’ve already seen, notably the combat robots and a shockwave-type move.
This trailer is an update of the “There’s A Soldier In All Of Us” ad campaign which dates back to the 2010 release of Call of Duty: Black Ops and featured regular people striding through war zones ready for action. The appeal to audiences, of course, is that the Call of Duty games lets you unleash your inner badass.
The original average-person-soldier campaign struck a chord with more than just gamers, and is an example of the kind of smart marketing that keeps the franchise front and center. The sci-fi trappings and futuristic weapons show how Call of Duty evolves with its followers’ tastes, reflecting the symbiotic influence of games on movies like Edge of Tomorrow, and the inclusion of movie stars like Michael B. Jordan and Cara Delevingne – who comes out of nowhere to take Kevin down – shows the ongoing effort to win over more than just hardcore gamers.
The success of Black Ops III is basically pre-ordained by this point, although its campaign-less 360 and PS3 incarnation may hinder overall sales on the Xbox One and PS4. Still, gamers eat up a good first-person shooter, and Call of Duty has proven over and over that it is quite possibly the best of its kind.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 releases on November 6th, 2015.