Call of Duty WWII ads are funny (in several countries)

Commentary: No scenes of mayhem, just an appeal to camaraderie. And look at the different characters for different countries.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Brexiting their lives to return to their roots.

Activision/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

War just isn't what it used to be.

We struggle to avoid it, while playing silly games to incite it.

No, I'm not talking about video games. I'm talking about Twitter.

But now that I've mentioned video games, have you seen the new Call of Duty: World War II ad? 

It's remarkably moving. There are no flashes, bangs or gratuitous murders. Instead, it's a tale of a group of people who understand that there's a need to get back together.

Once, one assumes, they fought together. Then, life slowly dragged them apart. Yet now that Call of Duty is resurrecting a bygone era, so must they. 

They must reform their squad swiftly. Think of it as moral conscription.

Yes, these are like the first scenes from one of those "Oceans (Insert Number Here)" movies. But look at the versions that Activision is running in different countries and there are glorious nuances.

Here's the US version. It starts in an exalted high-rise of capitalism. There's immediate macho excitement. There's a bar fight. And there's a large hot tub in the Hollywood Hills.

What could describe the American Dream more appropriately? 

Contrast that with the UK version.

It starts with pouring rain and a black cab. What could be more English? A lawyer in court wearing one of those ridiculous wigs? Well, what do you know?

And you suppose someone gets thrown out of a pub, too? Well, this is England.

But then there are the French.

On principle, there has to be a little more joie-de-sexy. There are scenes of attempted seduction and even romance, each thwarted by the prospect of war. 

There's also a character called the Butcher, who may not quite resemble any butcher you know. Are there even any butchers left in the US? The French know how to preserve the meaningful things in life.

And while the Americans and the English end their ads with a joke involving a child, the French go in a different direction. There's something to admire in that, too.

Call of Duty: World War II debuts Nov. 3. 

You still, therefore, have time to assemble a cast of characters for your own band of brothers and sisters. Surely they all have nicknames.

Is the Sugar-Plum Hairy in or is he out? What about MadDog Foghead?

The Smartest Stuff: Innovators are thinking up new ways to make you, and the things around you, smarter.

CNET Magazine: Check out a sample of the stories in CNET's newsstand edition.