The inevitable explosion of internet kerfuffledom (it’s a word) has happened, the mercury has been loosed upon the world and is now spilling over the edges like so many Tweets from undisciplined journalists: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 has been announced.
While Activision are now likely to let this initial uppercut to the face of a PR campaign simmer for a bit so as not to tarnish the launch in a couple of weeks of Blizzard’s latest opus du jour, it bares noting that a trailer for a Call of Duty game is markedly different than for any other title. Similar to the release of the Grand Theft Auto V trailer of late last year, the footage we’ve just seen is designed to give us the setting so as to let our imaginations run wild with fervour as we explore the possibilities for new toys and gameplay mechanics this milieu will allow.
While Asura’s Wrath, Dragon’s Dogma and other new IP titles for 2012 have to explain the premise of their gameplay to us, titles such as Call of Duty can take a certain amount for granted. They know damn well we understand the game, have likely played a predecessor and get the gist of what to expect.
With that in mind, Activision has to find a way to demonstrate the ways in which the latest title will change the subtler, more nuanced elements of the gameplay. How are Treyarch improving the matchmaking over Modern Warfare 3? Is Call of Duty: Elite being upgraded for the new outing? These are all things which are impossible to visualise, so the tool Activision has up its sleeve is more insidious – a trailer designed specifically to show off the new toys and trick of the trade which will be available to us in multiplayer, but in the cunning disguise of a single-player trailer.
If you’re like me, you parse the single player of a Call of Duty game, but know that the addictive element which has made the series stand the test of time (well, in videogameland standing the test of the time means surviving a whole generation and still being popular, so it’s not like it’s a wonder of the ancient world or anything). The setting in the Black Ops 2 trailer is merely a front for letting us guess at the newest toys for that eternal and everlasting multiplayer addict-a-thon.
What I’d like to propose is a shared list of predictions for which of the devastating devices we’ve just witnessed will become a part of the multiplayer experience.
Will we be able to fly the drones while hiding our fragile, physical bodies in a corner somewhere? Will the new range of tactical warheads alter the way we call in airstrikes? For that matter, how much more effective can an airstrike be than the carpet-bomb-a-thon it already is?
So to get us started, I’ll assert the following:
1) Drones which hover near you and act as droids, helping you shoot at nearby enemies.
2) X-Ray vision making some kind of appearance as far as weapons are concerned (if only to highlight nearby dropped weapons available to nab).
3) Pilotable mechs.
4) Those rad little mini-tank things roaming around as enemies in whatever the wave-after-wave combat mechanic is for this one.
It’s fun to speculate, and we may well be wrong, but of the cavalcade of awesome sci-fi bits and pieces showcased in the latest trailer, which do you think are more than just single-player set pieces and are bound for the grand arena?
By Leigh Harris