Kevin Spacey stars as a villain in latest Call of Duty

The latest instalment of the hugely successful video game has modified the best-selling formula in several ways.

The latest Call of Duty videogame features a Machiavellian villain played by Kevin Spacey. Saeed Khan / AFP
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The newest instalment of the blockbuster video game franchise Call of Duty was released last week, pitting soldiers of the future against a Machiavellian villain played by the Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey.

With the most common complaint about the 11-year-old series tending to be that each new game is very similar to the one before, the game’s makers, Activision Publishing, have set out to reload the multi-billion-dollar franchise this time around.

They brought in studio Sledgehammer Games to put its spin on Call of Duty: Advance Warfare, and have taken advantage of the advanced capabilities of the new-generation of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles.

“We’ve really approached this game differently,” says Activision head Eric Hirshberg. “We’re shaking up the formula in several ways.”

Sledgehammer modified the mechanics of playing the military shooter game by adding exoskeleton suits that give ­super-soldier abilities.

A “riveting new story” was woven into the game, along with “an iconic new character” – Jonathan Irons, a private military contractor intent on ruling the world – played by Spacey, whose distinctive movements and expressions were captured using special recording to create an extremely realistic virtual replica of the actor.

“It’s been a lot of fun working with the team to bring Jonathan Irons to life,” says Spacey. “The technology is truly remarkable and unlike anything I’ve done before. I’m excited to see where this goes.”

He said it might even become the first video game he has ever played.

The game is set in the year 2054, when a private military corporation run by Irons is the dominant power.

“From the endless research and thousands of production designs, to our incredible focus on the narrative and amazing attention to detail – we’re taking nothing for granted,” says Sledgehammer co-founder and game director Glen Schofield.

"Call of Duty connects with the fans on such a deep level, and crafting a new vision for the next generation has been so inspiring for us."

More than 100 million Call of Duty games have been sold since the first game was released in 2003.