‘Bulletstorm’ Tie-In Game Sticks It To ‘Call Of Duty’

In case you haven’t already noticed, “Bulletstorm” is all about making gruesome death and blockbuster action funny. It comes out on February 22, and developer People Can Fly has released a… well… something you can play. The full title of the “game” referenced in the above headline is “Duty Calls: The Calm Before the Storm.” You can download it for free — roughly 800MB — at TheDutyCalls.com. Just going to the website, you’ll immediately get a sense of what’s going on here.

The title is a pretty major nod too, but the website is a clear knockoff of the official site for “Call of Duty: Black Ops.” The free game that is available for download on the “Duty Calls” site last for maybe 10-15 minutes. There’s no challenge to it; it’s technically a first-person shooter, one that clearly borrows from “Call of Duty” conventions, but you’re really just following the path and firing your single gun whenever an enemy arrives in front of you.

You’ll know he’s an enemy because he’ll say something along the lines of “I am an enemy.”

“Duty Calls” is most directly a parody of “Call of Duty,” but since the Infinity Ward-spawned franchise has had no shortage of influence on the world of FPS games, it can also be considered a send-up of the entire genre. “Bulletstorm” of course tries something a little different — not much based on the recently released demo, but a little — with the addition of points-earning stylized kills known as Skillshots.

Complete this non-game — which really amounts to following the path to the end, though at one point you do pick up a really rad stick — and you’ll be treated to a “Bulletstorm” trailer. All in all it’s a clever bit of marketing that is well worth taking a look at if you’ve got any familiarity with the current landscape of first-person shooters.