The next instalment in the CoD franchise may look a little similar to last year's future-set Advanced Warfare (we do know the COD studios check out each other's games during development, although we're assured they never share ideas), and its armies of robotic enemies certainly look familiar – but don't settle too comfortably on your laurels, because veteran studio Treyarch is looking to shake-up the tired set-piece formula with Call of Duty: Black Ops 3.
In the latest issue of Edge, game director Dan Bunting reveals much of this comes from the desire to improve the player's control over the game: "We still push people into choke points and constrain heights, but we wanted to give players an extended mastery curve, to expand the upper limits of how they learn movement through the map,” he explains. “We automate a lot of things. We let players concentrate on the combat; everything else is fluid – it sublimates to a primal part of your brain."
To support this, Treyarch is promising an overhauled AI system, which includes an improved 'nav-mesh' so your opponents have a greater understanding of the environment, as well as 20 different 'mentalities' that define distinct changes in behaviour. "With the greatest reverence and respect for [Call of Duty], sometimes the tactic is just left trigger, right trigger, dead,” says campaign director Jason Blundell. “With some of our new AI archetypes, that won’t be viable. We’ve also opened up the spaces, so you need much better situational awareness.”