Kotaku Article: “48 Things That You Should Know About Call of Duty: Black Ops II”
-The game’s story will jump between two timelines, with the primary one set in 2025. “Most” of the game will be set in 2025.
-It is a direct sequel to Black Ops.
-We will find out definitively what happened at the end of Black Ops—presumably, Mason didn’t actually kill JFK, given that he’s out in the field in Black Ops II. But who knows?
-The second timeline will be set in the late 80’s near the end of the Cold War.
-The story will be narrated by Black Ops character Frank Woods, now an old man. Apparently he didn’t die at the end of Black Ops after all.
-In the 80’s timeline, players will take on the role of Black Ops protagonist Alex Mason.
-In 2025, players will take on the role of David Mason, who is the son of Alex Mason. The father/son relationship will play a part in the story. Hello daddening of video games!
-In the game’s fiction, there is a second Cold War happening between China and the US due to the scarcity of Rare Earth Elements used to make tech devices and military weapons.
-The story is based on a real-world possibility, as China (according to the folks at Treyarch) currently controls 95% of the rare earth elements in the world. Topical!
-Many of the real-world hooks are inspired by P.W. Singer’s Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century.
-A good deal of the 1980’s action will take place during proxy wars in Central America. Tropical!
-Game Director Dave Anthony hinted that we may find out more about “imaginary” Viktor Reznov. “He was essentially a figment of the player’s imagination,” Anthony said.
“Or was he?” Studio Director Mark Lamia chimed in, playfully. “Will we find out more about that?” asked Anthony with a smirk.
-David Mason (the son)’s callsign is “Section.” Which is kind of a cool callsign.
-The villain will be a man named Raul Menendez, who in 2025 is pitting the Chinese and US governments against each other by hacking into their drones and other robotic weapons.
-The 1980’s missions will chronicle what started Martinez on setting his current-day plans in motion.
-The story is was written from the ground up by Dark Knight and Batman Begins co-writer David Goyer. Goyer joined the first Black Ops part of the way through. He wanted to “create a memorable villain” with Menendez.
-Menendez has hacked into the US’s unmanned drones and unleashed an attack on Los Angeles. In the mission we saw, a fleet of drones were destroying buildings in downtown LA.
-There will be at least one female character in the game, a pilot named Anderson. She laid quite a bit of waste during the entire LA mission.
-The president in 2025 is also a woman, and appeared in the “Attack on LA” mission.
-David Mason’s sidekick is a soldier named Nelson who appears to be played by Michael Rooker of Mallrats and The Walking Dead fame.
-The game will be using full-body performance capture to place its actors in the game; the tech demo I saw demonstrated both male and female actors captured with the sort of clarity we’ve come to expect from games using full-performance capture. James Woods will reprise his role as Frank Woods, of course.
-From what I saw in several demo sections set in a burning, futuristic LA, drones are controllable in combat and will play a large part in the game. Players have a drone-controller on their wrist in the game, and can use it to assign targets and waypoints.
-There will be horses, and horseback-riding, during at least one sequence in the 1980’s. They even went so far as to bring a horse into the motion capture studio.
-At one point in the demo, the player jumped into a futuristic anti-aircraft gun and shot down enemy drones.
-Vehicle segments will be back, including one piloting a futuristic VTOL airship. Part of the VTOL mission was mostly on-rails, but the second part involved free-flying and dogfighting with drones.
-The Black Ops II story will be branching—it will feature choices and variable outcomes. Wait, what? Yep.
-At one point, players had an option to either grab a sniper rifle and cover their squad, or rappel down to join up with them. Presumably that choice leads to a slightly different gameplay experience—this looks like one of the smaller of the choices offered in the game.
-A large part of the branching will be due to Strike Force, which is a brand-new game mode featuring tactical, open-ended gameplay in sandbox-style levels.
The New Game Mode: “Strike Force”
-Strike Force missions will be woven into the core single-player campaign, and will present themselves as various black ops missions available around the globe.
-Players won’t be able to play all of the strike force missions in a single playthrough.
-Strike Force is currently only included in the campaign and isn’t a separate mode. It won’t allow for multiplayer but, at some point down the road, could be fleshed out. “Things like Zombies originally -started as unlocks,” said an Activision representative after we followed up to make sure. “We’re not taking the option off the table.”
-Depending on the outcome of a given strike force mission, the story will change. “You’re going to choose a mission,” said Lamia, “and that’s a branch for the story. Say there’s three missions out there—you’re not going to go back and play all of them; the story goes on. If you die on a strike force mission, you die in the story.”
-Going on that, it would seem that the playable characters don’t feature in the Strike Force missions.
-Strike Force allows players to control squads of troops, giving follow/hold commands with the shoulder buttons.
-Strike Force also allows a zoomed-out command view via an unmanned aerial drone that lets you to set waypoints for your units to achieve shifting goals.
-Strike Force will allow you to control (at the very least) armed aerial drones, armed land-drones, and unarmed aerial drones in addition to being able to hop to the viewpoint of any of the soldiers in your squad.
-The strike force missions will unfold organically but will be written into the story—in that way, they’ll function somewhat like a single-player version of the multiplayer in Mass Effect 3.
-I think I heard Keifer Sutherland voicing one of the squad members in Strike Force, but I’m not sure. Consider this a Keifer! Rumor!
-Multiplayer director David Vonderhart relayed that the new approach they are taking is “One size does not fit all.” That means, he said, that there is no one way to play a Call of Duty game. So, they’re pulling back features like create-a-class, killstreaks, and other features and reexamining them, challenging their assumptions of “what cows are sacred.”
-Multiplayer will take place entirely in the year 2025—there will be no multiplayer missions set in the 80’s.
-They are taking the E-sports community very seriously. In part, that means that they’re focusing on making the game more fun to watch as a spectator. Hopefully that means super cute, colorful uniforms!
-Zombies will definitely be back in Black Ops II, and will feature all new modes that are more fleshed-out than ever.
-“There will be more zombies and more modes; just more.”
-The zombies are “In the multiplayer engine.” “If you think about all of the things we can do with our multiplayer engine,” Lamia said, “You can start to think about how we might be looking at this.” Okay then!
-Zombies are the only confirmed co-op aspect of Black Ops II. The campaign and strike-force modes do not appear to feature co-op.
Every past Call of Duty game has featured a rigidly linear single-player campaign. They’ve gotten shorter and shorter as the years have gone by, too—the last few games have featured campaigns that have lasted merely 4-6 hours.
Treyarch is aiming to change that with Black Ops II with the inclusion of “Strike Force,” a new, open-ended game-mode that’s folded into the single-player campaign.
In the game’s story, it’s 2025. There is a cold war going on between China and the United States. In addition to the timeline-hopping story of Alex and David Mason and Frank Woods, Black Ops II’s story will feature several points during which the player is given a number of different operations to undertake.
“You’ll get to these points in the campaign,” said Treyarch head Mark Lamia. “There’ll be these hotspots around the world, as you’d expect in a cold war. And you’ll get your intel drop on them and JSOC will come to you and say ‘Here’s what’s going on. We need to drop a black ops team in. Which mission are you gonna assign your team to.”
“You’ll choose a mission, and that is actually a branch for the story, and the structure of the campaign.” According to Lamia, if you die, that won’t end the game but rather will be included as a part of the story—your characters are disposable, though the high-level narrative will (allegedly) play out differently depending on how you do in the missions. It’s not clear whether the effects will be story-only or whether they’ll actually have an affect on the gameplay or settings of missions in the rest of the game.
(I got the impression that the actual missions will still feel fairly separate from the Strike Force missions, and that the non-game parts of the story will be the only parts that are affected. But that’s just the sense I got.)
Rather than taking on the role of any of the main characters in Strike Force, you’ll more or less assume the role of the entire squad, much like in one of Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy games—specifically Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter.
The missions play out over large, sandbox-y levels, which will call on players to use tactical thinking and creative problem solving to an extent we’ve certainly never seen in the corridor-happy Cal of Duty franchise before. It may not hit the heights of a true Tom Clancy game (particularly not a GRAW game), but it’s still a big shift.
The map I saw seemed quite a bit larger than an average multiplayer map, though nowhere near as sprawling as a large Battlefield map. As you play, a series of varied, narrative-driven objectives will roll over the map.
Players will have the option of hopping between the flying Quad drone, the CLAW tank, another armored mechanized tank, and any of the members of their squad. It wasn’t confirmed whether there will be more units available than that in the finished game.
Lamia referred to the view from on high as “overwatch mode,” which you can use to set up any sort of tactic you’d like to assign your team from a mobile camera looking over the battlefield. Lamia said that the objectives in a given Strike Force mission will always be the same, but “how you take on that objective, that’s up to you.”
The Strike Force mission I watched took place in Singapore—the goal was to hack into three electron lasers that need to be taken out in order to clear the way for a gunship. Despite that samey-feeling setup—how many times in these games have we fought our way to a control point?—watching Strike Force play out really didn’t feel much like watching a Call of Duty single-player level. The player kept switching control between his drones and his squad, and it felt and looked much more like Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter than Modern Warfare II.
The amount of replayability and choice that Lamia described appears to be about on par with any other tactical shooter—if you want, you can try some different tactics in a scenario and see how it plays out. It remains to be seen how well Call of Duty’s AI will hold up when given a much bigger scenario to handle. Good artificial intelligence will go a long way towards making the Strike Force missions truly feel worth playing more than once.
It’s worth keeping in mind that the main reason this is a big deal is that… well, Call of Duty is a big deal. On its face, Strike Force doesn’t offer anything dramatically different than a years-old Tom Clancy game. It just happens to be included in a COD game. In fact, I didn’t see any sort of stealth options, or very reactive AI—they just came in waves and opened fire.
With that said, it’s nice to see Treyarch taking steps to shake up the Call of Duty formula somewhat. It certainly could do with some shaking! And as Activision’s spokesperson took great pains to point out, the zombies mode also started as a limited, unlockable feature, and it’s now got its own entire section of the game.
The action-movie blast-blast-blast-and-done formula of the past few Call of Duty single-player campaigns, while still financially marketable, has started to feel a bit stale. More than that, it’s started to feel like a missed opportunity to really cater to players who want a great single-player experience and don’t care about multiplayer.
Strike Force’s tactical gameplay will require a lot more thinking than your average Call of Duty mission, and a little bit of brains could well go a long way.
Is Black Ops 2 being remastered? Rumors & leaks
Fans have been wondering for sometime if CoD: Black Ops 2 is going to be remastered, and we’ll answer that today.
Several Call of Duty games have received the remaster treatment in recent years, and it’s left fans wondering if the mega-popular Black Ops 2 will get one. Here are all the latest rumors and leaks regarding a Black Ops 2 remaster.
The popularity of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 simply cannot be understated with the game being considered the greatest of all time by many. But fast-forward to 2021, and players want to know if this beloved entry in the CoD franchise will be remastered.
The premise of Call of Duty remasters was kickstarted by the 2016 Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered title. Since then, we’ve also had the Modern Warfare 2 campaign be remastered, and there are rumors of Modern Warfare 3 being remastered, despite Activision saying it isn’t.
Is Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 being remastered?
From what we understand, no, not at this time. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that any form of Black Ops remaster is in the works.
Naturally, people would think that Treyarch’s Black Ops may receive the same love that the Modern Warfare franchise has gotten, but alas it doesn’t seem to be the case.
Why isn’t Black Ops 2 being remastered?
We believe there could be two strong reasons for Black Ops 2 not being remastered, one being that it would oversaturate the CoD market, and also that we’ve already seen a few of its maps recently.
One of the problems 2016’s Infinite Warfare suffered from is that it released with the full Call of Duty 4 remaster, and consequently, the player base was divided between the two games.
Furthermore, Black Ops Cold War featured no less than seven Black Ops 2 map remasters throughout its multiple seasons, and they feel too fresh in the memory to warrant a remaster of the multiplayer.
We could see a remaster of the Black Ops campaigns, following the successful rerelease of the Modern Warfare 2 campaign.
Activision may have some surprises and remasters up their sleeves, but for the time being, we can only speculate and ask you to keep checking in to see if anything becomes official.
Also, check out everything we know about Call of Duty: Vanguard.
Image Credit: Activision / Treyarch
Infinity Ward announces new Austin office as studio gears up for CoD 2022
The original Call of Duty developer, Infinity Ward, is expanding its operations via a new office in Austin, Texas for CoD 2022.
One of the three developers behind the Call of Duty franchise is getting a new office. Infinity Ward is expanding its operations via a new office in Austin, Texas, in preparation for CoD 2022.
Infinity Ward is the developer behind the original Call of Duty game. Activision founded Infinity Ward in 2002, with the first Call of Duty title being released in 2003. This birthed one of the most iconic video game franchises to date.
Infinity Ward would go on to develop Call of Duty 2 in 2005 before alternating developers. Now, Infinity Ward is known for developing the Modern Warfare titles, which are released roughly every three years.
With Infinity Ward releasing the last Modern Warfare title in 2019, the developer is gearing up for another release in 2022. We don’t know what CoD 2022 will be just yet, but we do know that Infinity Ward is expanding its operations with a new office.
Infinity Ward Austin Texas office
Today, Infinity Ward announced via Twitter that it would be opening a new office in Austin, Texas. This would be the fourth development hub for the company, with the other three being located in Los Angeles, Poland, and Mexico.
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This also means that Infinity Ward is hiring. According to Infinity Ward, the Austin office is currently hiring for all positions, and you can find all of the available jobs posted on the Infinity Ward website.
Call of Duty: Vanguard releases in less than a month. It’s taking players back to WWII, where Infinity Ward is expected to bring the franchise back to modern times, with CoD 2022 speculated to be a sequel to Modern Warfare 2019.
That being said, we have no official idea what to expect from Infinity Ward going into 2022, but with the significant success of Modern Warfare 2019, it will no doubt be a Call of Duty game plenty of players will love.
Regardless, Infinity Ward is planning something big, and the new office proves just that. So, if Vanguard isn’t your cup of tea, CoD 2022 is just a year away.
Image Credits: Infinity Ward / Activision
Biggest AAA video games coming in 2022: PS5, Xbox Series X, Switch, PC, Stadia & Steam
2022 could be a huge year for video games and here’s all the biggest titles coming to PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, and more – with dates.
2022 is shaping up to be a massive year for video games. Between franchises such as God of War, Gran Turismo, Horizon, Pokemon, and Harry Potter, the PS5, Xbox Series X, Switch, PC, and Stadia have some mammoth titles to host. Here’s an extensive look into the biggest games and potential release dates too.
The beginning of 2022 will signal over a year since the PS5, and Xbox Series X took video games to the ninth generation of consoles. Developers have had plenty of time to chew the fat and harness the power of the consoles to create immense AAA experiences.
There’s also plenty of mileage left for the Nintendo Switch, and of course, PC, Stadia, and Steam are always on the march.
PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC, Steam & Stadia video games in 2022
Some genuinely iconic franchises and household names are expected to launch video games in 2022, so here’s a look at the top AAA video games coming in 2022.
God of War: Ragnarok release date: 2022
Players got a juicy look at the next epic adventure in Santa Monica’s God of War franchise during the 2021 PlayStation Experience. Kratos and Atreus are set to battle with Freya, possibly Thor, and their own demons.
God of War Ragnarok looks like it’s expanded upon the reboot to incorporate more NPCs, more spectacular gameplay, and a gripping narrative that will test the bond between father and son.
Horizon Forbidden West release date: February 18, 2022
Aloy is one of the standout protagonists in gaming during modern times, and her post-apocalyptic adventures are set to continue in Horizon Forbidden West.
She seeks to uncover even more truth and learn about the state of the world she resides in, all the while battling even more dangerous robotic creatures and nature itself.
Elden Ring release date: January 21, 2022
One of the first games to arrive in 2022, Elden Ring is the next sinister and challenging game to come from the sadistic bunch at FromSoftware.
Their track record at producing brutal yet satisfying RPGs will be tested in the form of Elden Ring, their newest ‘Souls’ game. Unlike previous FromSoftware games, there seems to be a much deeper emphasis on the story with Game of Thrones creator George R. R. Martin on board to help with the narrative.
Pokemon Legends: Arceus release date: January 28, 2022
Unlike the typical dual-releases that Pokemon specializes in, Pokemon Legends: Arceus is a standalone game that continues the growth shown in recent, mainline Pokemon titles.
Embracing the open-world nature of 2020’s Pokemon Sword and Shield, Arceus is a brand new adventure that will involve all the familiar, beloved elements of Pokemon games: obtaining them, training them, leveling them, and catching them all!
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction release date: January 2022
Another spin-off, this time from the team at Ubisoft as they take a drastic turn away from the realism of simulated combat.
Instead, Rainbow Six Extraction delves into the world of the unknown, and non-human, as teams of three pull together to take down alien creatures called Archaeans. It will feature lots of the same gameplay mechanics and Operators from Siege, but with a darker, deadly twist.
Dying Light 2 release date: February 4, 2022
The long-awaited sequel to the hit 2015 survival-adventure game, Dying Light 2 promises to bring more parkour-zombie-survival action that made the first such a breakout success.
Offering more open-world exploration, the player must scavenge, forge friendships (and weapons), and deal with both friendly and hostile forces.
As with the first Dying Light, players need to make the most of the precious daylight before night strikes, as the undead gets a bit more fidgety and murderous.
Gran Turismo 7 release date: March 4, 2022
Polyphony Digital is infamous for taking their time between each Gran Turismo release to ensure every one is as polished as can be, and the PS5 looks set to make Gran Turismo 7 one of the best-looking games ever.
Like with God of War Ragnarok, the 2021 PlayStation Experience gave fans a glimpse into the high-speed action they can expect with Gran Turismo 7.
It’s learned from its predecessor’s mistakes and will launch with a complete career mode, and could be a bonafide system-seller for Sony and the PlayStation brand.
Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 release date: 2022
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 could easily be one of the most anticipated games of all time.
Breath of the Wild took the world by storm in 2017 with its rich, expressive world that deviated from the conventions of traditional Zelda games. Many millions of copies sold later, and fans everywhere are desperate for the next chapter for Link in this gorgeous, sprawling version of Hyrule.
Call of Duty 2022 release date: 2022
It wouldn’t be a year of video games without a major Call of Duty release, and we expect 2022 to be no different.
Given that there’s already a buzz about Call of Duty 2023, we would say it’s safe to assume that another Call of Duty game will release in 2022.
With Vanguard being set in World War 2, rumors are rife that the 2022 Call of Duty will be a Modern Warfare sequel.
Gotham Knights release date: 2022
A Gotham City without the caped crusader is a strange thought, but that’s the threat that faces it as Bruce Wayne is dead.
In Batman’s place, his former proteges need to step up and protect Gotham, batting away any threats of crime perpetrated by some of its most evil supervillains. Featuring co-operative mode, players can take control of these plucky heroes and hopefully do Batman proud.
Hogwarts Legacy release date: 2022
There have been many Harry Potter movie tie-in games, but there still hasn’t been an authentic RPG experience that lets you become your own wizard – until now.
Hogwarts Legacy will let fans worldwide finally live out their dream of attending Hogwarts, and the game allows players to select their House, the classes they do, and customize their character, all the while fighting monsters and completing quests.
That completes our guide to the biggest and most anticipated video games that are due to arrive in 2022.
For all the latest news and guides on these games and more, stay with us at Charlie INTEL!
Image Credit: Avalanche Software, WB Games Montreal, Nintendo, Polyphony Digital, Techland, Game Freak, FromSoftware, Guerrilla Games, Santa Monica Studios, Ubisoft
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