Call of Duty: WW2 has saw fit to include the social hub aspect of Destiny 2, with the game using Normandy beach as its own version of Destiny's Tower, allowing players to rub shoulders with one another while obtaining items and missions from NPCs. The end result is a weird hybrid of ideas, in which an historical backdrop of war is used as the setting for air drops containing loot boxes and microtransactions.
A lot of multiplayer shooters are going to borrow from the Destiny model in the coming years, and Call of Duty is no different. While Destiny was hardly the first game to make use of a social hub — everything Bungie learned for the game was essentially borrowed from MMOs and then diluted — but in terms of console FPS games, it's certainly the front-runner for persistent-world experiences. As such, Sledgehammer Games has borrowed liberally from The Tower with its rendition of Normandy, creating an odd amalgamation of a real-world war and a vehicle for convincing you to fork out on loot boxes.
The concept of a Call of Duty social hub in general is a perfectly passable one. There's your Mailbox, with its periodic rewards offering an incentive to keep logging into the game, Major Howard and the Quarter Master who give you objectives to complete for rewards, a Theater to watch videos posted by Sledgehammer featuring Call of Duty esports and more fun side activities.
But did it really have to be set in Normandy? The end result is moments where you look on at the crowd of players in front of you, and watch as one orders a supply crate to their position before picking up that sweet new loot, all on the sand where 209,000 Allied troops died:
— Paul Tamburro (@PaulTamburro) November 2, 2017
Since Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 developers have routinely upped the ante when it comes to making CoD an increasingly silly series, but I can't help but think that someone in Sledgehammer or Activision should have suggested that some discretion be shown when it comes to Call of Duty: WW2. While there is certainly something darkly hilarious about watching a giant microtransaction fall from the sky in the middle of the setting of the D-Day landings, the question remains: why Normandy?!