Call of Duty 'not in competition' with Halo
Thu, 21 Jun 2012 3:21p.m.
By Daniel Rutledge
Highly anticipated first-person shooter games Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Halo 4 are not in competition with each other according to Black Ops 2 developer Treyarch, despite both titles being released in the month of November.
“We want success for everybody,” Daniel Suarez, VP of Production at Treyarch told me at the E3 gaming convention in Los Angeles.
“We see Call of Duty as a military first-person shooter action adventure ride that we want people to experience for an entire year or more. But a sci-fi shooter like Halo, absolutely, we want people to engage with as many types of games as possible.”
The Call of Duty franchise, which has broken sales records for the past four years running, has a strong relationship with Xbox. At E3 this year Black Ops 2 gameplay was shown off at the Xbox media briefing, last year’s Call of Duty XP event was sponsored by Xbox and downloadable Call of Duty content is generally always released on Xbox 360 before any other format.
In 2011, Electronic Arts practically declared war on Activision’s Call of Duty with their release of rival shooter Battlefield 3 and various fiery statements to the media. This year, Microsoft have announced Xbox exclusive title Halo 4 will be released in the same month as Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, but Suarez is adamant the two franchises are not in competition with each other.
“We don’t see them as competition at all. The guys at [Halo 4 studio] 343, they’re going to make a great game, we’re going to want to play it, much like they’re hopefully going to want to play Black Ops 2,” says Suarez.
“I really want everybody’s game to succeed, you know. The more types of games that succeed, the better it is for our business overall.”
Halo 4 is a direct sequel to Halo 3, which set new game sales records when released in 2007. The Call of Duty game released in 2008 broke Halo 3’s record and while other Halo titles have been released since, Halo 4 is arguably the first major threat the franchise has posed to the sales records set by Call of Duty.
Again, Treyarch is playing it coy.
“We never really look at the records,” says Suarez.
“It may sound strange to say that, but for us we just want to make the best game possible. The team at Teyarch, we work really hard day in, day out trying to make the best Call of Duty possible.
“We don’t sit there and go ‘oh, we’re going to break this record’ or ‘we’re going to do that’, we just want to make a great game and let the fans decide. If the fans decide it’s great, then more people are going to buy it and more people are going to play it.”
While interviewing Suarez at E3 I also found out a lot more about the game in general. Below is a transcript of the rest of our chat:
3 News: What was the main focus with Black Ops 2? Where are you taking the Call of Duty franchise?
Suarez: We really wanted to innovate the Call of Duty franchise and take it to the next level. In the past we’ve been in World War Two, we’ve done modern warfare, but now we want to take the next step and push it to another level.
So for the first time we’re going to a new theatre, which is the future. The team started from scratch, and said ‘well how do we create this near future’? We need new weapons, new technology, new villains, new landscapes, and it really started from that point.
But we had a really fertile ground with Black Ops 1 with the cold war that took place in the 60s and 70s, then we had the second cold war in the 80s, and now we’re recreating that with a new cold war in 2025.
Bringing those things together and creating this storyline, we’ve created this rich universe that’s got this new technology with the main game going on in 2025. What’s going on then is that our villain Menendez has taken over control of the US military infrastructure, hacked into that network, and is turning that against us.
3 News: Raul Menendez is an interesting villain and it’s said that Black Ops 2 is going to spend more time explaining him than with any previous Call of Duty villain. Tell me more about that.
Suarez: I think one of the key goals for the team is to establish the most innovative villain Call of Duty has ever had. We’ve fought the Russians, we’ve fought the Germans, and we’ve now created this new character Raul Menendez.
We wanted to make a villain that connects with individuals. So if you look at movie characters like Keyser Soze or Hannibal Lecter, they are evil for different reasons, but they stand out as characters and really resonate with people.
We wanted to take that approach in creating this villain, and that’s why we brought in writer David S Goyer. We brought him in at the end of Black Ops 1 – he wrote Batman and so on, and is just a great film and comic book writer overall – and we said David, look, we really want to work with you from day one on Black Ops 2. And he was thrilled, he said I really like what you’ve done on Black Ops 1, and let’s change some things with the way we tell our story.
So we really wanted to create this new and innovative villain, and really break some of the rules we’ve established with Call of Duty in the past, and that’s where David started to come in, working with our direction David Anthony.
So you’ll see more of a human side to Menendez than I think we’ve seen with any other Call of Duty villain in the past. You’ll actually meet him in the 1980s, understand what’s created this monster, and see what’s brought him to power in 2025.
3 News: Tell us more about the all new Strike Force missions in Black Ops 2.
Suarez: Strike force missions take place within the structure of the game. Traditionally within Call of Duty you’ll start at level one with a campaign that you’d finish. Now what’s going to happen is that within the game you’ll be given these opportunities to play strike force missions. There’ll be a few different ones from which to choose the one you want.
Now unlike any other Call of Duty game in the past, you actually have the ability to pass or fail. So you saw one in the E3 demo set in Singapore where you’re invading this boat dock where there’s this missile defence system set up. You have to actually take out the missile defence system to blow up a ship that had some very precious cargo on it. If you were to fail that mission, something would have happened with that cargo later in the game. If you destroyed it, that’s OK, you’ve just progressed the story in a different manner.
So it’s really critical that these strike force missions play a key part within the game. Now as I said you can pass or fail, so your story at the end of the game will be different from mine depending on how you perform.
So the missions themselves are unique in a way because they’re more sandbox-style than we’ve seen in Call of Duty before. You can actually go in to a setting in the battlefield, and you can actually switch to an overview that lets you look at the battlefield from different perspectives. So I can go to the map, I can see where my unit team is deployed, and look at where all the enemies are coming in from.
Much like a domination map there are three key areas to defend. You can set your drone units, I want to send them to let’s say point B, and then I can possess that unit, and fly around with them on the map. There’s human units, there’s the flying drone units, heavy armour units and light armour.
3 News: I know we can’t talk about multiplayer just yet, but I do want to ask you about one issue in general terms. Modern Warfare 3 is plagued by quick-scoping and no-scoping much more than Black Ops. How do you feel about the issue?Suarez: In both games quick-scoping plays a part. We’ve tried to avoid that sort of gameplay as much as possible in the design, and I think that’s what we call the ‘living game’. As it goes live people find ways to find glitches around the game, and that’s why we’re constantly updating and changing things.
You have to remember that different developers are working on multiplayer, and every year we release a different game with a different team who have different sensibilities about what they want to bring to the multiplayer experience.
With Black Ops 2 we’re bringing in new types of weapons, new types of attack, new types of technology, and in terms of the weapons and how they are used, we’ll make sure that’s the fairest for all players overall.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 will be released in New Zealand on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC November 13.
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18/09/2012 5:47:55 p.m.
Halo 4 will not even come close to outselling black ops two because most people will buy it instead of halo and also its multiplat.
26/06/2012 1:40:19 a.m.
really wish the would bring editing back to the game where we can create our own maps again like in world at war, cod4. and the ones before that miss being able to open up maps. also another reason why cod4 and cod5 are still being played today is for that reason. PC GAMER
25/06/2012 7:35:40 p.m.
HE says battlefield has lost to mw3. in sales maybe but what did you expect. sales dont make a good game all it means is activision can hype up all the little kids better who like to shoot guns. look at the graphics and the gameplay and destruction of battlefield and then look at mw3. how can you say its a better game?
25/06/2012 4:43:51 p.m.
Please keep quick scoping in black ops 2. It's not unfair to do it because it's really hard to do.
21/06/2012 9:26:04 p.m.
Too much money to hire security coders bro. Not worth their time ECKS, at least to their wallets.
21/06/2012 4:56:45 p.m.
Just ONE time create a game that can't be hacked...
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