Black Ops II - the best Call of Duty yet?
Thu, 25 Oct 2012 12:03p.m.
By Daniel Rutledge
Call of Duty is one of the biggest gaming franchises in the world, mainly thanks to its hugely popular multiplayer modes.
The latest Call of Duty game, Black Ops II, is set to be released in just a few weeks, and promises a number of changes that developers Treyarch hope will improve the game.
Black Ops II is set largely in 2025, meaning many of the weapons and technology are futuristic. In addition to the new gadgets and guns, new game modes, a new reward system and a new load-out system are also being implemented.
Recently I played Black Ops II multiplayer before sitting down to discuss it with John Rafacz, director of communications at Treyarch, asking him to expand on how Black Ops II aims to give fans more than they've ever gotten from Call of Duty before.
What does the future setting of Black Ops II mean for the multiplayer mode?
The warfare of the near future setting is shaped by drones and advanced robotics, these flashy technological advancements boil down into the gameplay. You've got advanced optics like the millimetre wave-scanner that sends a pulse out into the world and lets you see enemies behind smokescreens and light cover. You've got the guardian, which is this microwave panel on top of a turret that comes in pretty handy when you're in objective-based modes. It sends out a microwave beam that will bake guys if they stand in it too long. You can discourage people from moving too close to your domination point with them. The near-future setting plays out great, it gives us a lot of new toys and technology to play with.
Treyarch director of communications John Rafacz
Modern Warfare 3 transformed killstreaks into pointstreaks, and Black Ops II is evolving them further into scorestreaks. How is this better than the reward systems of previous games?
Scorestreaks really incentivise players to play to the actual objectives of each mode. If you're a high kill/death player, there's still plenty of room under the tent for you. Free-for-All, Team Deathmatch are modes that will greatly reward a high kill/death ratio. But when you get into modes like Domination or Capture-the-Flag and you put your skills to use for the benefit of the team, that's when you will be rewarded most.
In Modern Warfare 3 there was the Osprey Gunner, in Black Ops there was the Gunship. What is the most kickass scorestreak reward in Black Ops II and why do you like it?
My favourite scorestreak is the Lodestar. I have found this to be an effective tool from the air that is able to demoralise whatever hope the other team may have left. I just absolutely love this thing.
Combat training is back in Black Ops II - how has it been improved since the first Black Ops?
It's structured in a way so that if you're new to multiplayer, you can find your comfort zone. Also if you're looking to improve your skills, it's a great place to do that. There are three components: there's boot camp, which is Team Deathmatch only and has you playing against computer opponents for full XP up to level 10. At level 10 you move into objective modes, with a mix of computer opponents and humans, in which you earn half XP. Then there's Bot Stomp, which is where you're just bashing on computer opponents and having a good time without earning XP.
There looks to be a greater amount of customisation available on multiplayer games - tell me more about that.
When you talk about custom games within multiplayer, it really runs the gamut from how you would structure a game in a professional setting to how you want to structure a game on a Saturday night with your buddies. With creating a class online, you'll generally have 10 load-out points, but you can change that to 17 if you want. Your ability to rank up will vary, but it really allows you to structure the game you want to play.
Tell me more about Hardpoint, the new game mode in Black Ops II.
Hardpoint pays homage to classic King-of-the-Hill style gameplay. There's a point of contention that moves around the map and your team's job to take control of that area for as long as possible. Own it the most and you'll be successful.
One new feature in the multiplayer of Black Ops II is the multi-team matches. What is the idea behind bringing that in?
The idea is to bring in small squad-based tactics. But also, in terms of a net benefit for gaming, you've got more teams and more players on a map that are targets. It creates more action.
There has been a change to the Ghost perk in the game. Was it made to cut down on people camping?
The way we approached things like Ghost is that now they're tuneable. It's no longer hard and fast. You can now tune it so that you can't be seen by radar only while you're moving. If you remain still, the radar will still pick you up. It helps manage the pace of a game, but also might deter someone from staying in any one spot too long.
There are other annoying things people do in Call of Duty as well as camping. Has Black Ops II done anything to address the problems with quick-scoping, drop-shotting or C4-throwing?
Phew - that's a level of nuance for which I am not the right guy to talk to. But I like it, you're a hardcore guy and I appreciate that!
CODcasting is set to allow spectators to watch multiplayer matches live and commentate on them. Will that be available on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as well as PC?
Yeah. You can combine it with live-streaming and it really allows people to capture, produce and share that experience with the world. It allows people to package up their Call of Duty experience and treat it like the sport that it is.
Theatre Mode has also been improved - tell me about the new features.
With Black Ops and the introduction of Theatre Mode, we made it very easy to create the content. We want to further expand on that, but also build in some things that make it easier to find that content as well. In the new Theatre Mode you can use a highlight reel, which with the press of a button does all the heavy lifting for you. It takes all the exciting points from a game and edits them together for you. But there are also new social mechanisms, a thumbs up/thumbs down rating system that allows people to easily rate and find other content.
The Prestige system has also been changed up to make it seem like less of a slog, right?
When we approached Prestige we really wanted to create one continuous experience. All of your progress just doesn't reset at the end of each Prestige level. That allows us to have more content available to players over time, but space it over 10 Prestige levels. When you look at the tokens you accrue and how you're able to spend them, over time you'll have an incredibly dynamic experience as you prestige and it should never be something that you just slog through. It should be something that you enjoy along the way.
Black Ops II is coming out just a week or so after the release of Halo 4. Do you see the two as being in direct competition, despite Call of Duty's close relationship with Xbox?
The team at Treyarch has always been focused on putting the best art in the game they can, and making it as fun as they possibly can. When you focus on that, really, it's all about fun. As long as you are focused on that, everything else takes care of itself. So whatever else there might be to think about in November, we're focused on the 13th when Black Ops II is released.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II is released in New Zealand on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on November 13.
Post a Comment
Before commenting, please take the time to read our moderation guide
(Won't be published)
25/10/2012 9:07:49 p.m.
Planko Char-Ya wrote:
I cannot WAIT to play this GAME! So sick of MW3 and Battlefield 3 now, I need some new shit yo. Bring it on, hurry up, this and Halo 4, YES PLEASE! Great interview too
25/10/2012 12:40:47 p.m.
The sooner the new consoles come out the better, till then i think ill pass on the Camping on Duty series its to stagnant these days.
After a night of drama on The X Factor NZ stage, Anna Wilson sat down with 3 News to talk about her time on the show.
Last night on The X Factor NZ, Stan Walker farewelled the last of his acts when Anna Wilson was voted off by the other three judges.
James Gandolfini, the actor most famous for his lead role in hit TV show The Sopranos, has passed away in Italy. He was 51.
King Kong has once again taken up residence on stage – and in spectacular fashion.
Charles Saatchi has claimed images of him holding Nigella Lawson around the neck just show "a playful tiff".
Copyright © 2013 MediaWorks TV. All Rights Reserved.