Walking Tanks, Quadrotors, &… Erm… Horses?
Yesterday’s leak may have spoilt the surprise a little bit, but a healthy of details have now been revealed for this year’s instalment in the Call of Duty franchise which developer Treyarch have boldly stated is not “what anyone expects we are making.” Motion-capped horses are a part of that, but there’s much more. We’ve got a round-up of the Black Ops II details after the jump.
Details from a press conference that shed more light on Black Ops II have started to emerge on the net, but here’s the skinny. Two eras will be covered in the FPS sequel; the cold war of the 1980s, and a fictional second cold war in 2025. As the trailer shows, we can expect bi-pedal tanks and quadrotors, with the game’s storyline exploring what happens when this technology is taken by the enemy and used against its creators. What is important to note is that the technology featured won’t be sci-fi, but actual military hardware that is currently in development.
The villain, named as Raul Menendez, will be present in both time periods as the player sees his motivations form over the course of the game. Frank Woods, one of the supporting characters from Black Ops, will be the player character in the 1980s sections of the game, as well as being a key part of the 2025 sections. However, Woods will be an old man by this point, so it will be David Mason, the son of the protagonist in the previous game, who will be the player-character in the futuristic setting. Together they will try and stop Menendez from achieving his goals by piecing the past together with the future.
So will this be yet another COD game with the same COD formula, but with future tech thrown in for laughs? Not if Treyarch are to be believed. Visual upgrades are inbound, with HDR lighting, bounce lighting, and self-shadowing included whilst keeping the 60 FPS rate the series is known for. Also mentioned was the inclusion of DirectX 11, although no real details into how it would take advantage of it were given. So, no true change of the game engine then, but we can at the very least expect it to look better than Modern Warfare 3.
A focus on storytelling and player choice was highlighted, with branching storylines that players can use to suit their own play style. Excitingly, these goes beyond the choice of going in all guns blazing or sniping from afar, with players being able to actually fail missions and alter the course of the game accordingly depending on the actions. Speaking to AusGamers, studio head Mark Lamia explained Treyarch's approach to the narrative, and the place Black Ops II has in the COD Universe whilst still having "it’s its own fiction."
We wanted to make sure that this is Call of Duty, it can’t be too sci-fi, it’s gotta feel like this is plausible. It’s part of the DNA of Black Ops where we set up these plausible scenarios and then we have our fiction going through it and our story.
That wasn’t all that was revealed. Strike Force Operations, which are sandbox missions where players can take control of any soldier or drone on a battlefield, were also detailed. Expanding on the single player campaign in a sort of meta-game way, these Operations will also be playable in a top-down perspective known as Overwatch mode, providing a strategy game feel.
Even multiplayer is reportedly getting an overhaul. “Multiplayer is no longer a one-size-fits-all solution. We’ve stripped the game back a lot and started from a very core place” David Vonderhaar told One Of Swords. What that will translate to in a gameplay sense is anyone’s guess at this point, as further details were held back, but the fact Treyarch have recognised that change is needed to the COD formula is surely a good thing. Hopefully. It was confirmed that the multiplayer would take place in the future era of the game, so expect the gadgetry to appear in the gunplay.
Of course, with this being a Treyarch game, Zombies will be making their return to the co-op front. Lamia explained to AusGamers that the entire undead portion of the game was going to be expanded in Black Ops II.
“If you’re a Zombies fan, this is by far the most ambitious Zombie initiative -- it’s its own game. It has a world, characters, there are new game-modes we’re bringing to the table. We moved it to the multiplayer engine, which allows us or, affords us, all new kinds of opportunities.”
Considering the release date is in November, we can expect more information to come trickling out now that the cat is now officially out of the proverbial bag, but these early reports of what to expect in Black Ops II are promising to say the least. In a week where we at Dealspwn discussed the possibility of FPS fatigue, are we finally getting some energy pumped back into the shooter genre? Ultimately, time will tell. In the meantime, here's the reveal trailer again in all its explosive glory.