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.
Call of Duty players want a Battlefield Portal inspired mode in the future
After FPS fans were blown away by Battlefield Portal’s reveal, Call of Duty fans want to see a similar mode in the future.
Battlefield 2042’s REDACTED mode was finally announced at EA Play: Battlefield Portal. This is a hub for content from previous Battlefield games, and Call of Duty players want to see a similar mode in the future.
Like Battlefield, Call of Duty has depicted various theatres of war over the years, both real and fictional. Although Battlefield 2042 is set in the near future, as a throwback for long-time fans of the franchise, they’ve included Battlefield Portal.
This brings weapons, maps, vehicles, and more from Battlefield 1942, Bad Company 2, and Battlefield 3 into one, ultimate sandbox experience. Impressed with the new mode, Call of Duty fans have been asking for a similar experience.
Call of Duty fans have been desperate for remasters of their favorite games from the franchise, with Modern Warfare 2’s multiplayer being the most prominent. Black Ops Cold War is chock-full of maps from Black Ops 2, but players still want to see more content from the games they grew up with.
Battlefield 2042 found the solution to this with their new Portal mode. With access to a ton of content from previous Battlefield games, players can create almost any custom game mode they can dream up.
“And that’s how you incorporate remastered content into your game,” said renowned industry insider Tom Henderson after seeing the reveal. He followed this by theorizing that Call of Duty will create something similar in the “next 5 years.”
His theory was met with resounding excitement, with many Call of Duty players wanting to see their favorite multiplayer and Zombies experiences return in the same way.
Battlefield Portal “truly could be the next BIG THING for creators,” said popular YouTuber Chaosxsilencer. “Imagine a Call of Duty Portal with BO2, BO3, WaW, MW2, MW3 assets all usable and customizable.”
“The custom game options available with #BATTLEFIELD2042 and the Battlefield Portal are amazing. So many options and ways to be creative and have fun,” said Call of Duty news account ModernWarzone. “@RavenSoftware we need things like this in Warzone, especially with Battlefield announcing this today.”
With how extensive of a backlog Call of Duty has, it’s very likely that Activision will take inspiration from Battlefield’s exciting new mode – and the demand for it is certainly there.
If you can’t wait to play Battlefield 2042, you can check out how to get access to the Open Beta in September.
Image Credit: Activision / EA
Zombies World Record beaten after nearly 300 hours of Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
It took one Twitch streamer nearly 300 hours of gameplay to beat the World Record for Black Ops 3’s Nacht Der Untoten Zombies.
One player has done the unthinkable and beaten the Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 Nacht Der Untoten Zombies World Record by reaching round 255.
Zombies has a storied history dating all the way back to 2008 when Call of Duty: World at War came bundled with a bonus mini-game called ‘Nacht der Untoten.’ The legendary Nazi Zombies mode would go on to reach ridiculous levels of popularity to the point that Treyarch had to make extra Zombies maps.
Since then, virtually every single CoD title has included new versions and variations of the Zombies formula. Black Ops Cold War is currently enjoying the launch of Mauer Der Toten, the freshest Zombies experience.
However, one Twitch streamer has overlooked modern Zombies in favor of a previous game – Black Ops 3. After 20 days of playing the same game of Nacht Der Untoten on and off, a new World Record was set.
The feat was accomplished by CoD Zombies Twitch streamer TomPhantasy as he smashed the previous record by a staggering 40 rounds to reach Round 255.
Beginning his run on July 2, he spent the next 20 days clocking up nearly 300 hours of game time to obliterate the previous Nacht Der Untoten record.
Remarkably, he was only downed twice, and they both came once he’d surpassed the record figure anyway.
The final seconds of the footage are of the streamer clearing up the last few dregs of Zombies until the round icon in the bottom-left changes to 255.
This absolutely smashes the previous record of 216 rounds set by user Chihiro-516, and may never be beaten.
Dexerto was even able to secure an exclusive word with the streamer to get more reaction to his feat: “The Zombies community has been supporting me for months when I have been attempting this record through the highs and lows,” he said.
He continued: “I knew I had to keep going, because after 24.8 days the game freezes, This meant I had to play 13+ hours per day for those 25 days.”
Massive congratulations need to go to the player who was able to gut his way through an arduous three weeks of Zombies. With Mauer Der Toten very much the new Zombies craze, we wonder if he will one day attempt to set the record for it.
Also, for some more incredible accomplishments, check out the Cold War player who reached 10th Prestige without killing a single player.
Image Credit: Activision / TomPhantasy
How much are COD Points? How to buy, price, how to spend & more
COD Points are the currency of Call of Duty. Here’s a guide on their price, how you can buy them, where to spend them, and what you can buy.
COD Points have become an integral part of Call of Duty games as they can buy some great cosmetics and other items to show off. So here’s a quick guide to tell you how much points cost, how you can buy them, where you can spend them, and what you can get.
The gaming landscape has changed over the years with the incorporation of microtransactions and live-gaming services. Many games offer extra content – with cosmetics being a big proponent of this. With Cold War and Warzone offering special Rambo and John McClane skins and bringing back legendary Operators like Soap and Captain Price, it becomes easy to see why players would want to spend COD Points.
Call of Duty offers a huge palette of extra goodies you can add to your game and requires COD Points to do so.
So with our detailed guide today, we’re going to run through the basics of COD Points to help you understand them, tell you what they do, and more.
What is the price of COD Points?
There are different amounts and bundles you can opt for when buying COD Points that are tailored to different needs.
Some players just need to top up their account with a few hundred points to get the latest bundle. Whereas some need a big restock with the intention of spending many points. The more points you want, the bigger the discounts grow.
Here are the different prices for the various COD Points bundles:
- 200 COD Points for $1.99 or £1.79
- 500 COD Points for $4.99 or £4.31
- 1,000 (+100 Bonus) COD Points for $9.99 or £8.49
- 2,000 (+400 Bonus) COD Points for $19.99 or £16.79
- 4,000 (+1,000 Bonus) COD Points for $39.99 or £34.99
- 7,000 (+2,500 Bonus) COD Points for $74.99 or £69.99
- 10,000 (+3,000 Bonus) COD Points for $99.99 or £84.99
How do I buy COD Points?
You can be very flexible with how you buy COD Points as there are a few different ways to do so. To make sure you’re buying them for the right platform, just double-check with our guide on transferring COD Points across platforms.
These are the various ways you can procure COD Points.
This method is only for PC players.
A quick visit to the Battle.net shop will take you to the aforementioned COD Points bundles, and you can take your pick.
This method is only for PlayStation players.
Head to the PlayStation Store either on your PS4, PS5, or on the Official website and you’ll find the same selection of COD Points bundles.
You will be able to purchase them using money or PSN credit.
Xbox Microsoft Store
This method is only for Xbox players.
Head to the Microsoft Store either on your Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, or on the Official website and you’ll find the same selection of COD Points bundles.
You will be able to purchase them using money or Xbox Gift cards.
Online or select physical retailers will have copious amounts of COD Points vouchers and gift cards for you to purchase. There will be no difference between official sales and retails sales as they will all sell the same bundles.
Where do I spend my COD Points?
Now that you have a nice bundle of COD Points, where do you actually go to spend them? Well, the answer is rather simple: head to the in-game store for the game you’re playing, browse, and buy.
What can I buy with COD Points?
Call of Duty’s currency is used to primarily buy two things: the Battle Pass for the current season and Bundles containing a variety of items.
A Battle Pass is a paid Tier system that allows regular players to earn dozens of extra rewards and cosmetics for essentially playing the game.
Black Ops Cold War and Warzone are currently in Season Two of their respective lifecycles at the moment. Both titles are currently running in tandem with each other and share the same Battle Pass.
It features 100 Tiers for players to smash their way through the course of Season 2, and if players are committed enough, they can actually earn enough COD Points, through leveling up the pass, to get the next one for free.
You can buy the Cold War & Warzone Season 4 Battle Pass via a couple of different methods:
- Purchase it from the Official Call of Duty website
- Buy it from the in-game store on your respective platform
The other main content you can buy is a wide range of Bundles and Operator Bundles. These special bundles vary in price, and each comes with its own unique items.
The collectibles you can expect to find are Calling Cards, Emblems, Operator Skins, Weapon Blueprints, Weapon Charms, and more.
Image credits: Activision / Treyarch / Raven Software
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