Ok, so there’s a new Call of Duty coming. Of course there is. As the most successful video game series in the history of well, history, it’s inevitable. so no – a new Call of Duty is not surprising. Far more surprising is that this timer around, it doesn’t seem to be the standard copy and paste job we’ve seen every year. Activision and Treyarch have thrown a development team of over 300 at the project – and it looks like there might just be enough change to the established formula to make Call of Duty feel fresh again
Here’s what’s new in Black Ops 2
The game’s set in the near future, 2025 to be precise – and is a direct sequel to Black Ops – the conspiracy-theory laden, mind-control plot of which I actually enjoyed. Promisingly, the game utilises a shiny, new heavily modified version of the existing one (which itself was based off a heavily modified version of the Quake 3 engine) – and while the game’s official trailer isn’t quite heart-pounding stuff – the game’s features are interesting.
Firstly, and this is a big change for series that’s generally so scripted and linear, is that the game will offer branching storylines. Strike force missions – which seem to blend FPS and RTS elements in a pretty interesting way. At key points during the game you’ll be given multiple options to proceed, and the path you choose will change your fate, and that of those around you. While you can just run and gun your way through the level sandbox Strike Force levels, , you’re given the choice (once again, choice is not something usually associated with Call of Duty)to utilise troops and tech around you in the manner of an RTS to finish the mission. If you fail these missions – by running out of troops to command, for example – you aren;t presented with a retry button. Instead, the consequences of your failure carry through to the main single player campaign, splintering the story instead of triggering a reload screen. It sounds terribly ambitious, and could be just the kick up the backside Call of Duty needs.
Of course, multiplayer will be a big part of the game – but Treyarch’s mostly keeping mum on details for now, though they have said it’ll “shake things up,” and offer a focus on competitive eSports. More interesting (to me, anyway) is that Treyarch’s delicious zombie mode is getting an overhaul, and will now offer 8 player undead-destroying co-op, thanks to the game’s improved multiplayer engine. Treyarch, says CVG, “" have given their zombie team free reign to do pretty much whatever they want with the mode regardless of the direction the campaign is headed in." Seeing as COD zombies last took us to the frikkin’ moon, I expect some pretty unusual ideas.
That all, coupled with the future tech like drones, mechs (and horses!) actually sounds like a lot of fun – and for now, has my interest piqued. As somebody who got tired of Call of Duty sometime after the fourth one, that’s saying a lot. This year’s Call of Duty won’t just be a rehashed copy and paste job – but is it enough, or will the internet’s vociferous legion of Call of duty haters continue to hate?