It was 2007 when, after a decade of beach-storming and butterfly bombs, Infinity Ward called time on the World War II shooter with the release of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. With only a few notable exceptions—Call of Duty: World at War and Battlefield 1942 spring to mind—shooters have stuck with the modern setting. Some, like CoD, even looked to the future. But video games are just as susceptible to the fickle tastes and short memories of the fleshy humans that buy them as films, fashion, and TV shows. That's why we now have Call of Duty WWII, a return to the "boots on the ground gameplay" of the original CoD trilogy and to its WWII setting. So it goes.
The trouble with revisiting WW2, a setting adopted by dozens of different games over the years, is that it's hard to avoid treading water. EA's Battlefield 1, which is set in WW1, did a fine job of moving back to a historical setting, because it did so in a novel way. BF1's campaign balanced its glorification of wartime violence with a deeply personal story. Behind every shot and every death was a reminder that war should rarely be celebrated. While far from perfect, BF1's mature approach to recreating a century-old conflict remains refreshingly different.