Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Imagines a Frank Underwood Presidency

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
May 2 2014 5:41 PM

New Call of Duty Features Exoskeleton Powersuits, Drones, and President Frank Underwood

Digital President Frank Underwood. Well, sort of.

Screengrab from YouTube.

An extended trailer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is out, and it shows a not-so-distant future that, thanks to same deft meta-branding, should please Netflix binge-watchers in addition to tech fanatics and CoD disciples.

The newest installment of the best-selling Activision franchise—developed this time around by Sledgehammer Games—will, according to Amazon, focuses on private miltary corporations and their role in modern warfare, as they have "become the dominant armed forces for countless nations outsourcing their military needs, redrawing borders and rewriting the rules of war."


The trailer shows all of this, in addition to the high-tech gadgets included in the futuristic PMC arsenal (which appears to include exoskeleton power-suits, drones, and jet-powered bikes, at first glance), while a familiar molasses-like accent lectures about the futility of democracy:

Democacy? Democracy. Democracy is not what these people need. Hell, it's not even what they want," the voice says. "America has been trying to install democracies in nations for a century, and it hasn't worked one time.

That voice? It appears to belong to none other than Frank Underwood, the Kevin Spacey-inhabited politician last seen on House of Cards (spoiler alert) ascending to the Oval Office after killing off his enemies, both literally and figuratively.

Which is, well, awesome.

The character voiced by Spacey is actually some sort of shadowy power-player named Jonathan Irons, but the appearace of an Underwood-like personage in the game is a fitting tribute for two reasons: Not only does Spacey's House of Cards character often play Call of Duty on the show, a cynical world dominated by private interests and unabashed violence is exactly what one would expect under the control of an Underwood administration.

The game itself, which is set for release in November, looks great, and will hopefully get the franchise back on track after a couple of disappointing installments. More importantly though, it also looks to satisfy that insatiable House of Cards addiction, with no binge-watching necessary. Well played, Activision.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

A.J. McCarthy is a Slate video blogger.


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