Treyarch’s Studio Design Director took to Reddit overnight to answer a few questions from community members in different threads throughout the site.
In one of those threads, a user asked about League Play’s delay and asked why Treyarch just cannot bring Black Ops 2’s system back into Black Ops 4.
Vahn started by saying that Black Ops 2’s system not being considered broken in some ways is “inaccurate.”
I like that you liked League Play [in Black Ops 2] but to say it wasn’t broken is inaccurate. I chose to accept the word broken in this context as having things in it that didn’t work so well. It had plenty of design defects and it was this community that gave us feedback on those design decisions that we banked both THEN and then again more recently.
Vahn continued that Treyarch wants to address the topic of League Play and what they’ve done with the mode in an upcoming developer video.
We hope to address this topic head-on in more detail in a video developer update soon.
He then continued by talking about why League Play was delayed and what changed during the development process that caused them to make the decisions to move League Play’s release around. The main reason behind it was changing League Play based on the community feedback to the announcement of the mode and ensure that it has the features the community wants when it launches.
League Play is taking/took longer than we expected, because we are addressing the community feedback on it in advance of launching it. …thus when it does come out it will more closely match your expectations of what it is and how you think it should work.
We are doing the very things you gave us feedback on that we agreed made sense for the game we now have versus the game we had when I stood on stage and told you League Play was coming back at the MP reveal event.
It’s simply a software development reality that can be hard to understand if you aren’t a software developer. The development of major game systems like this one takes a lot more time than most other features. The people who can develop this type of system are not the same that develop other features. The argument “don’t do <this thing> and do League Play” is rarely a solution to getting something faster. The people who do “this” are doing it. The people who do “that” are doing other things that they are experienced and qualified to do.
Vahn made an edit to his comment to add additional context of his own opinion more so into the situation and said he’s not making excuses, but providing more transparency as to what happened.
No excuses here. We designed our competitive features with a goal of expanding the competitive audience and players. We got feedback from that community on our approach. We are adjusting accordingly.
…we’ve invested a great deal of time, effort, and resources in our competitive features and systems over the years and with this game … we keep pushing and trying to find new ways to make it bigger still while not overly alienating the current competitive community. This is very hard to get right. The very nature of competition can also make it inaccessible to the mainstream.
In another Reddit comment, Vahn followed up by saying he takes accountability for being the one to reveal League Play at the Black Ops 4’s reveal event without stating a date for its launch. He believed, at the time, that the mode would be available and on track, but the development and internal process for the mode changed as time went on.
Here’s the full response after a fan asked about excuses:
We teased League Play at the reveal. That happened. I take accountability for it. I was the one who said it. I did it because I believed in our plan and our ability to execute our plan. I’ve stood on stage before and said “we are doing this” and we did it. I’ve stood on stage before and said “we are doing this” and then something happened where we couldn’t.
I truly and completely understand the frustrations around it. All of us do. I’m so sorry that you feel let down here. Things happen. Tough decisions on priorities have to made. Things change that are not always totally within our control.
We also can’t have it both ways. We can either never talk about anything until it’s done. More than a few people in the organization think this is the best approach right now.
Or…We can talk about what we’d like to do, what we want to do, what we are doing, what you want us to do, whether we will or will not and why. However, transparency is not a promise. It requires an understanding that all things are subject to change, that what you want, what others want, what the studio or business wants or demands are not always the same. You will not like everything you hear. You have to be ok with that and you have to be ok with expressing that in a constructive and helpful way.
I’m so sorry that you feel let down. Whether you choose to believe me or not, you didn’t get sold vaporware. The studio is working its ass off to make good on it’s commitments to our fans. Things are going to happen that get in the way of that. All any of us can do is just keep driving forward.
The latest news from Treyarch on League Play is that the mode is expected to go live in mid-February on PS4. More details are expected soon.