Call of Duty: Black Ops II (PC/PS3/360 - November 13th)
In a surefire bid to reinvigorate a quickly stagnating property, Activision and Treyarch are embracing something rather uncommon in the Call of Duty series: change. The biggest retooling would be the developer’s use of choice-oriented tactical missions that are spread throughout the story campaign. These Strike Force missions are more than interesting distractions, as their outcomes and your performance in them changes the overarching story, even down to who makes it through the war alive. There’s several different branches to take during a Strike Force mission, finally promoting single-player replay.
Co-written by one of Hollywood’s favorite genre screenwriters, David S. Goyer, the narrative pushes forward with the events of the 2010 original, bringing back familiar faces Mason and Woods (Sam Worthington and James Burns reprising their roles respectively) in covert ops taking place in the ‘80’s, while the bulk of the campaign sees Mason’s offspring, David, fending off the escalating conflict between the U.S. and China in the year 2025 (where you will fight literal fuck tons of enemy robot drones).
Mum’s the word on multiplayer, although it has been mentioned that Treyarch is shaking the cobwebs out of the totem feature in order to liven up the joint. It should be noted combat online will take place solely in the future, not the ‘80’s, so as to avoid time collapsing in on itself.
Oh, and by the by, they’re fleshing out zombies mode. Running on the multiplayer engine and decked with dedicated matchmaking, Zombies returns with its own set of unspecified modes (yeah, plural), and more than we’ve ever experienced from what once started as an Easter Egg.
Black Ops 2 is Definitely Our Call of Duty This Year
Sent into the site by an IGN reader, the above Target pre-order card officially confirms what the dull roar of the internet has been saying for weeks: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is Activision and Treyarch’s next annual release.
Set for an official reveal May 1st during the NBA play-offs, Black Ops 2 is rumored to actually take place in a near-future setting rather than carry on with the first game’s Cold War backdrop. Whether this places continuity after Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare timeline is yet to be determined. More than likely — just as in the first title — we’ll see a narrative that hops from date to date in an effort to tell a more encompassing story; something that Treyarch is getting better at pulling off.
I know Modern Warfare 3's staleness left a lot of dour fans out there but I'm personally leaving my misgivings for that game and its now fractured development team at the door. Treyarch, a studio once famous for shitty ports and forgettable sequels, acts as if they have something big to prove every time the CoD ball is in their court. I’m hoping when Black Ops 2 drops on November 13th this year — in response to MW3's dulled edge — that Treyarch once again comes out swinging.
Now excuse me while I mourn another year without Space Warfare (you’re fucking killing me, Activision).
Place Your Bets, What’s Call of Duty's Big Reveal Going To Be?
Rumors galore have been floating about in reference to 2012’s contractually obligated Call of Duty release. Seeing as how Treyarch has been the series’ off-season developers every other year way back since the games were about real wars, everyone’s been bracing for a Black Ops 2 (which would have the potential of completing the World at War Trilogy that no one cared was a trilogy).
Well, folks, we’ve been through these motions before and it was only a matter of time before Activision would part the curtains for Call of Duty 2012 (let’s just go by years now — it’s easier). On the series official website, the above teaser can be viewed pointing towards a big unveiling on May 1st during some kind of sports telecast on the Dynamite Channel.
While Black Ops 2 is the most likely successor, the moniker Call of Duty: Eclipse being tossed around the industry muddies odds, though it should be noted that CoD carries brand recognition all on its own enough for Treyarch to call even a direct sequel whatever the hell they want.
My two cents? I want Activision to succumb to the delightful insanity (or correct dose of acid) it would take to bring Call of Duty: Space Warfare back to life. I picture satellite strike killstreaks, headshots leaving enemies merciless to the vacuum, and motherfuckin’ laser guns. Come on, Activision, don’t be afraid to aim for total righteousness this year.