In the early moments of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare‘s campaign mode, the player is given a choice — press or hold a button to pay their respects to a fallen comrade, or just sit there awkwardly watching the screen until they get bored and wander off. Not much of a choice, really.
Circulating on Twitter and Reddit yesterday, screens like the one above are being pointed at and ridiculed. It’s the new “Press ‘E’ to Hide In The Mass Grave.” I can see it. While nowhere near as distasteful as Homefront‘s example, a military funeral is a very odd place for a button prompt, especially in a game filled with gorgeous non-interactive cutscenes.
Having played through the full campaign however, I can understand why Sledgehammer Games chose to make this portion of the story player-controlled.
Mild spoilers follow.
In the scene in question, Jack Mitchell is bidding farewell to his best friend, who perished during a disastrous mission in South Korea. His friend also happens to be the son of Kevin Spacey’s Jonathan Irons, founder and CEO of powerful private military corporation Atlas.
The button press is a mechanic that signals the beginning of the interactive portion of the scene. Here’s the sequence in full.
Why go interactive at this point? Without spoiling anything, I’ll say that the sequence acts as a clever framing device for events which occur later in the game. It also, hopefully obviously, hints that there’s something not quite right with Spacey’s character. Your son’s funeral is not the proper place to field a new recruit.
That doesn’t mean the whole “Hold X” bit isn’t a silly device. The game needed the player to perform and action and follow the non-player characters down a path, and this is what they came up with.