There's sure to be much more revealed for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, but for now this is everything we know about the next in the worlds most popular first-person shooter franchise.
It's set in the future
Why wouldnt there be Black Ops soldiers in the future? In the year 2025, the world has new global concerns with conflicts over new energy and economic resources, cyber warfare, and drone warfare. There are also plenty of prototype guns, gadgets, and fancy technology to fight those threats. So, for those whove gotten tired of the same old M16 variant, there will be new toys to play with.
Setting the game in the future lets Treyarch free itself from recorded history, but, at the same time, the developer is working on making its version of the future as plausible as possible without venturing into pew, pew sci-fi. Treyarch has done some extensive research on how the world might actually be 13 years from now, even getting help from Peter Singer (political advisor and author of Wired for War). Technology is expected to reach extraordinary levels in the next decade, which gives the dev team plenty of room to use their imaginations. This lead to some unexpected encounters on the battlefield. But, more on that later...
Its a direct sequel to Black Ops
The action in 2025 centers on David Mason, who obviously didnt fall far from the tree and joined the US military as a Black Ops operative. The grizzled heroes will be facing political tensions triggered by Menendez, which escalate into the second Cold War between China and the US.
Multiplayer also takes place in the future
As for what types of maps to expect, we caught a quick peek at part of a stage set in a desert-like environment and another urban battlefield set in the aftermath of a Los Angeles invasion. Go ahead and let your imaginations fly.
Robots and drones play a much larger role
War has changed and so have the combatants. There are still flesh and blood soldiers to bust a cap in, but now there are various types of remote-controlled drones that bring new challenges. These arent humanoid Terminator machines or anything, but we did see quad-rotor aerial sentries, four-legged walking CLAWs with Gatling guns and grenade launchers, and weaponized UAVs that make a prominent air presence on the battlefield.
The inclusion of drones revealed some interesting gameplay thats never been seen in a Call of Duty game. In one intriguing instance, we saw a walker drones leg get blown off by a sniper bullet stopping the walkers mobility. Then another shot to the drones unarmored soft points exploded the robot completely.
Rather than having a completely linear story campaign, Treyarch is taking a choose-your-own-adventure style approach with a branching storyline. Some elements of the story will also change depending on the performance of certain levels in Strike Force. (Click onto the next page for more on that...)
Strike Force mode
Strike Force takes Call of Duty to the sandbox, forcing player choice and changing campaign events depending on performance. These missions take place away from the main characters but utilize a Black Ops SEALs team to carry out the objective. Players will reach these missions in the campaign, and then are given the option of which mission (out of several) they can take. You don't have to be "succeed" to move on, but the result will affect the story.
In terms of gameplay, Strike Force is taking Call of Duty where its never been before. These missions can be played out from three separate perspectives, which can be switched on the fly in-game as you try to complete the multiple objectives across the multiplayer-sized open map. Play through the eyes of a SEALs soldier for the standard COD experience, or take control of several air and ground drones for a wider perspective. The third option is to observe the battle in Overwatch mode, which looks like more of a strategy game where commands are given to the SEALs team and drones below.
The graphics and sound got a huge overhaul
From our perspective, the Treyarch games always seemed a notch below Infinity Wards Modern Warfare titles in terms of visuals. This doesnt look like it's going to be the case for Black Ops 2. In our demo, the graphics were cranked up beyond what we anticipated. Just the sheer amount of activity happening on screen was overwhelming. Explosions go off in every direction, drones fly overhead while enemy soldiers shoot behind cover. All this took place in highly detailed environments with a silky smooth framerate, resulting in some of the most impressive visuals weve seen on a console shooter.
Zombies is fully fleshed out, with new modes
Its strange to think Nazi Zombies started off as just an Easter egg at the end of World at War. Now for Black Ops 2, this has become its own game mode that Treyarch boasts has been given the same amount of attention as the single and multiplayer modes. We werent able to pry too many details from the developers, but we did get some vague statements saying there will be multiple zombie modes, a bigger zombie world, it will run on the multiplayer engine, and it will feature matchmaking. Maybe well see more than four players at once. Maybe therell be a Left 4 Dead style versus mode or a new twist on Survival. Its all speculation at the moment, but having some additional modes over the traditional survival is very welcome indeed.
Thats it for now
So is Black Ops 2 what you expected? Let us know what you think of Treyarchs new direction for Call of Duty. We've divulged everything we know so far, but theres still a ton of multiplayer and zombies to see in the future. What are you looking forward to the most? Sound off in the comments!