Sledgehammer Unveils First Call of Duty Vanguard Gameplay

Sledgehammer debuted the first Call of Duty Vanguard trailer during Gamescom 2021, highlighting Polina, one of the new Operatives voiced by Laura Bailey (The Outer Worlds, The Last of Us 2), and her background story.

Polina's tale opens in Stalingrad, moments before the Nazis invade - or, more accurately, moments after, and then moments before.

We first see Polina struggling through an abandoned building swarming with enemies while she's unarmed. She comes across a knife, then a gun, and fires her way through all obstacles. Her goal is making it back home, where she needs to rendezvous with her father.

Read more: Vanguard will have 20 multiplayer maps at launch

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Sledgehammer Unveils First Call of Duty Vanguard Gameplay

This is a World War 2 fiction, so we can probably imagine what happens to Polina's father. But before we can see anything more, the demo switches to moments before Stalingrad's invasion.

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No buildings are aflame yet, and the army is still preparing, but the peace only holds out for so long.

All this is to explain how Polina ends up in Vanguard's special ops force. She's a tough fighter who doesn't hesitate to do what's right, Bailey said, and her experiences in Stalingrad are what give her that fierce outlook.

We'll likely see more of Vanguard's Operatives soon in the leadup to its release on November 5.

In July, the state of California sued Activision Blizzard for discrimination and harassment against employees. Numerous allegations emerged soon after from workers corroborating the initial accounts, while evidence of past workplace toxicity and abuse began surfacing online. Employees formed an informal organization and demanded a better response from management, though while some leading figures have departed in the scandal's wake, CEO Bobby Kotick has yet to formally acknowledge any of the allegations - including those from investors - and maintains wrongdoing will be investigated by third party group WilmerHale, a law firm known for anti-union activities.

Read more: Everything we know about Call of Duty Vanguard's upcoming alpha