Activision Blog has posted an interview with Treyarch’s Jason Blundell, and Blundell answered some questions about Classified, the bonus Black Ops 4 Zombies map available at launch on October 12 with the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 – Black Ops Pass.
Here’s Jason Blundell’s full response regarding Classified:
So, Classified follows the Ultimus crew. The Ultimus crew is the crew that we started with back in World at War. For those of you who want to study the Latin, that’s the Ultimus crew and then there’s the Primus crew. Primus is the new crew that we followed in Origins, and so far is who we followed all the way through Black Ops III.
But Ultimus crew we have not touched in a while. The Ultimus crew is really more stereotypes of their characters: there is a lot more boasting, a lot more breaking the fourth wall and talking to the player, and we’ve not used them in quite a long time. They are also the gang that we saw in Zombie Chronicles because that featured a remake of those very old maps. So, we saw them a little bit, but we’ve not made a new Ultimus story in many, many years. This is the first one in a while.
It also allows us to do some fun stuff. Back when Pentagon was done back in the original Black Ops, it was very much made as a one-off map. It was a novelty map. It was a different kind of experience because it featured Nixon, Kennedy, Castro and McNamara and those kind of guys. It was a one-off map made for novelty, but as time went on, we had to solve the question of where did that sit in the big story? And to do so we had to write a lot of assumptions. “Okay, this is what happened.” And we’ve been using that to educate the decisions we’ve made in the storyline, but we’ve never actually told the story of, “Why were the zombies in the Pentagon? What did that have to do with the major storyline of the game?”
So, we’re actually now able to come back now and spell it out. I think the other thing that’s very exciting about that map is that there are a bunch of really big questions the community has had for many, many years, and Classified will finally answer them. There are a handful of answers that are big ones, and they will send some ripples through the community. Classified will stir things up a little bit.
Activision executives reportedly discussing end of Call of Duty annual releases
A new report claims Activision are considering scrapping the series’ annual release schedule following Microsoft’s buyout.
Activision Blizzard executives are reportedly considering ending the Call of Duty franchise’s annual release schedule, with Bloomberg claiming discussions are ongoing.
For years, fans have become accustomed to receiving a new Call of Duty game every year. Without fail, Activision have published the latest entry in the legendary FPS franchise in October or November, giving players a new game to grind into the holiday seasons.
Some players have suggested this isn’t always a good thing, as this cycle gives CoD’s three developers a limited time to work on games, which can sometimes lead to issues when they launch. Sledgehammer Games have already delayed Vanguard Season 2 to try and address the problems plaguing the game.
Now, it appears that Activision’s higher-ups may be coming around to the idea of ending yearly releases for good.
According to a new report from Bloomberg, high-level employees at Activision “have discussed moving away from the annual release schedule.”
Jason Schreier reports that these plans haven’t been finalized yet, but there is a belief among the franchise’s development teams that this would “please players and help bolster the franchise” by lightening the intense workloads they currently face.
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This debate has been sparked after the lackluster reception to Vanguard, although Schreier states any change is unlikely to happen for at least a year or two, with Activision banking on 2022’s rumored Modern Warfare II to boost the franchise.
The move away from yearly releases would certainly offer developers more time to tweak and polish the game, and avoid many of the criticisms leveled at their games in the early days. Halo fans had to wait 6 years for Infinite, but the game was met with widespread acclaim at launch.
With the Microsoft acquisition of Activision, it’s expected that we could see some major changes to the publisher’s titles, although Phil Spencer has moved to calm fears that CoD could become an Xbox exclusive title.
For more on what could happen, check out how Microsoft and Xbox Studios could change Call of Duty forever.
Image Credits: Activision Blizzard
Here’s why 54% of CoD fans are happy about Microsoft’s Activision buyout
A recent poll revealed that 54% of Call of Duty fans were positive about Microsoft’s Activision buyout, and here’s their reasoning.
It was revealed in a Charlie INTEL poll that the majority of Call of Duty fans were glad of Microsoft’s planned Activision Blizzard takeover, with 54% agreeing it’s a good thing.
The game’s industry was shocked when Microsoft announced they’re planning to buy Activision Blizzard King for almost $70 billion. This gives them exclusive rights to some of the biggest gaming franchises in the world such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch.
We asked the Call of Duty community their thoughts, and the majority were excited about the franchise’s future under Microsoft. However, some were more hesitant to celebrate the news.
54% of CoD players say Microsoft’s Activision buyout is a good thing
Charlie INTEL conducted a poll on January 19, roughly 24 hours after the monumental news broke, asking Call of Duty fans: “What’s your reaction to the Microsoft buyout of Activision Blizzard?”
Over half of the 28,000 votes believed it will be a good thing. Just over 12% think it will be bad for the industry, and 33% aren’t sure yet.
Unfortunately, Microsoft’s plans for Activision’s properties are as clear as mud. They sound hopeful that Activision titles will hit Xbox Game Pass, but we’ll likely need to wait until the acquisition goes through to know more.
Why CoD players are happy with Microsoft’s Activision buyout
Several players explained why they think Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard takeover is a good thing.
“For worker culture at Activision Blizzard it seems like things will likely improve,” said popular Call of Duty leaker TheGhostOfHope. “COD will likely see a much more healthy developer ecosystem as well. Microsoft being able to buy the competition like they are is a slippery slope long term though. Overall I’d say it’s good.”
One player was extremely positive about the acquisition, saying that “if anyone thinks this is a bad thing” then “you need to think again.” They believe that “Microsoft has come a long way and isn’t spending 70 billion to make CoD worse. It can only get better. But it will take time.”
Many were hopeful that Microsoft would scrap Call of Duty’s yearly release cycle. Both Black Ops Cold War and Vanguard were released with broken and missing features, and many players believe these developers should be given much more time to perfect the game.
“I overall see this as a good thing and can hope that xbox will stop the yearly cod cycle and fix warzone,” said one player. TangoCheeseball echoed their statement, saying they hope that Microsoft supports CoD 2022 for two years, and then Treyarch returns with a new title in 2024 or 2025.
Xbox players were obviously glad, expecting to receive exclusive content and Call of Duty on Game Pass. “I’m on Xbox so game pass bouta be blessed but not sure if it’ll be a upgrade for Cod or if it will just stay the same. Either way a positive for xbox,” said LiLbotboi.
But of course, not every player was happy about the acquisition. Many had doubts over Microsoft’s monopoly over the games industry, with them already owning Bethesda, and worried that Call of Duty would go Xbox/PC exclusive.
“If they choose to make all of Activision’s future games exclusive to Xbox/PC, it’s doing a disservice to all gamers,” said Elkucuy.
Newbro101_ was more open-minded, saying: “It’s way too early to tell if it’s a good thing or not, once I notice an actual change in games it’s good [I guess].”
There’s no way of knowing what Microsoft has in store for Call of Duty and its development teams. We can only hope the change is positive for both Activision staff and the CoD community.
However, we have some thoughts on what may change, so check out the five ways Microsoft buying Activision could change Call of Duty forever.
Image Credits: Activision Blizzard / Microsoft
How Microsoft buying Activision could change Call of Duty forever
Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is a seizmic shift for gaming, and Xbox could make make some major changes to Call of Duty.
The world of gaming was rocked on January 18 when Microsoft confirmed they had agreed to buy Activision Blizzard. With Xbox Studios set to add CoD’s developers to their sprawling family of game creators, we take a look at five ways Call of Duty could change forever.
It’s rare that real surprises take place in the gaming industry, but everyone was left speechless when word of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard broke on January 18. Worth close to $70 billion according to reports, it immediately becomes gaming’s biggest buyout ever.
The deal, which will close before June 2023, will see CoD developers Treyarch, Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games, and Raven Software all become wider parts of the Xbox Studios family, bringing past and future Call of Duty titles with them.
With such a seismic change, what could the Microsoft buyout mean for the future of the series, and what changes could Xbox Studios make to Call of Duty moving forward? We’ve picked out five ways the legendary FPS franchise could change forever once the deal is complete.
Call of Duty becomes Xbox-exclusive
The topic on every Call of Duty fan’s lips right now is Xbox exclusivity. With Microsoft adding the biggest console FPS title to their portfolio, they could use it to drive consumers away from the PS5 by announcing that future CoD titles are only available on the Xbox Series X|S.
Thankfully, that seems fairly unlikely, at least for the time being. Microsoft Gaming’s CEO Phil Spencer has already eased fears, telling Bloomberg that “it’s not our intent to pull communities away from [Sony’s] platform, and we remain committed to that.”
Still, we wouldn’t expect to see Sony’s deal for exclusive content on PlayStation consoles continue for long, with Microsoft likely to move that feature to Xbox as soon as possible.
A focus on Ranked Play
Ranked Play is a controversial word for CoD players. For years, players have bemoaned the franchise’s lackluster, and sometimes entirely missing, ranked playlists. A decade on, Black Ops 2’s League Play is still the gold standard in the franchise.
Under Xbox though, this might finally change. Halo Infinite featured a ranked playlist at launch, something we’ve been begging developers to do for years.
It’s unlikely that this will be Xbox’s biggest focus, but perhaps we could see CoD developers following 343 Industries’ path in the future.
CoD’s annual release schedule ends
This one is pretty unlikely, but as it stands, Xbox don’t have any titles that release on a yearly schedule – something Call of Duty is synonymous with.
Halo fans had to wait six years between Guardians and Infinite, and while we don’t think there would ever be such a huge gap between titles, Xbox Studios may be more open to granting developers more time to polish games before release.
- Read More: Best Warzone guns: Every weapon ranked
A greater focus on frequent Warzone updates, and using existing Xbox studios to help Raven Software, could help to plug a longer gap between mainline franchise releases.
Remastered CoD games & Xbox Game Pass
Game Pass has been a huge focus for Xbox, giving players the opportunity to play hundreds of games, starting at $9.99 a month. What better way to get Call of Duty players on the service than adding fan-favorite titles to its extensive library?
Who wouldn’t be pulling out their credit card to get back into CoD 4’s legendary campaign, or to dive into World At War’s classic Zombies mode?
If Microsoft wanted to go the extra mile, they could even add remastered versions of these games. Rumors suggest that an updated version of Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer was in development at one point, and Game Pass could be the perfect place to release it.
Minecraft Steve in Zombies? Master Chief in multiplayer? Forza cars in Warzone? All of these crazy ideas are now possible, as we expect to see major crossovers between Xbox games and Call of Duty.
- Read More: 10 best Call of Duty maps ever
While CoD’s Attack on Titan collaboration wasn’t well-received, the teams who create Microsoft’s iconic characters could actively work with studios like Sledgehammer and Raven to create awesome skins and cosmetics.
And really, who wouldn’t want to win a Warzone match as a kitted-out Spartan from Halo?
Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard creates so many options and theories, it could make your head spin. The reality is that we’ve never seen any deal as big as this in gaming, and the possibilities are endless. These are just a few possibilities, but Xbox may have even bigger plans than we could imagine.
With so many ideas and concerns, all we can do for now is wait and see how it all plays out. Still, we can’t contain our excitement at what could come next when the deal concludes before June 2023.
Image Credits: Activision Blizzard / Microsoft / 343 Industries
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