Black Ops 2 Trailer: Blow stuff up in Los Angeles, future style

As an objective writer, I have to say one thing about the new trailer for “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2″:

It looks pretty amazing.

The trailer appears to show, among other things, future special forces operatives fighting drones in Los Angeles. It’s very Terminator-esque, and a nice break from the “Kill Russians!” theme of we’ve seen in recent video games that seem to have been made by people who don’t realize the Cold War ended more than two decades ago. (I’m looking at you, “Bad Company,” “Ace Combat: Assault Horizon” and well, “Call of Duty.”)

Being someone who plays games for their single-player than multi-player modes, I haven’t really been excited about a Call of Duty game since the series was still set in World War II and I played Call of Duty 2′s demo at the Circuit City in Newport Beach. I thought that game, as well as original “Call of Duty and its “United Offensive” expansion pack for the PC did a great job of allowing players to imagine the chaos of a World War 2 battle from American, British and Russian perspectives.

I have yet to even get around to playing “Call of Duty 3″ or “World at War. Regarding the games set in the modern era, I think “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare” deserves much of its praise whereas the storyline for “Modern Warfare 2″ didn’t make any sense to me and Black Ops was OK, except I thought the twist at the end was pretty ridiculous. I’ll probably eventually find time to try “Modern Warfare 3″

I know judging recent Call of Duty games for single-player is kind of missing the point, but I don’t have enough time to play multi-player to compete with all the players who take it seriously.

I’m sure Black Ops 2 will continue to emphasize multiplayer, since that’s what the games biggest fans like most. But giving the game a drastically different setting from its predecessors should allow some opportunities for gameplay innovations and wild new weapons. The futuristic setting should give the developers an incentive to be creative, as opposed to “realistic,” and I’m all for it.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Reveal

As if you didn’t know that this was coming out.

It looks like the new Black Ops is going to take place in 2025, the world having survived past 2012 to live in a future wonderland filled with drones and walking tanks.

It’s due out November 13th of this year, just in time to put the crunch on your holiday wallet and dominate your online fun. And that’s also a week after Halo 4 is supposed to come out which will make things very interesting on the Xbox 360. Which side will you pick in this battle? Call of Duty? Master Chief? Or both at the same time?
 

Rant: Playing a video game doesn’t actually mean you’re a soldier

“Modern Warfare 3,”the latest edition of the “Call of Duty” series is in stores today.  That means a few things:

1. Activision, the game’s publisher, is going to make a lot of money.

2. People are going to argue on the Internet over whether the game is any good or not.

3. The game’s advertising campaign will tell potential buyers that “there’s a soldier in all of us,” which is absurd.

The third item – the commercial-  is the only one that I have a problem with. I think the way the advertisement pokes fun at the “noob’s” initial challenge in playing a competitive first-person shooter is actually kind of clever, but the silly tagline needs to go away.

Although I can understand why some people would be offended by the idea of a war-themed game, I don’t see anything inherently wrong with using a game to tell a story about war, which has been a fact of life throughout human history.

For example, I thought “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare,” (2007) generally did a good job of imagining what could happen in a modern conflict in the Middle East and Russia. Although the story was definitely told with Hollywood sensibilities, the concept of U.S. Marines and British commandos fighting against members of revolutionary movements in not-Saudi Arabia and Russia, seemed to be a reasonable reflection of the anxieties of our time.

But the game is still, as the saying goes, only entertainment. I have never served in the military nor reported from a war zone, but I nonetheless think Activision’s “there’s a soldier in all of us,” is ridiculous. The soldiers and Marines who have been to Iraq and Afghanistan, have chosen to do so knowing not only that the United States of America is at war, but that the wars have become decreasingly popular among the general public.

Combat troops also have to meet physical requirements, pass basic training and be strong enough to actually fight. All you need to do to play Call of Duty is pay $60 for a copy.

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t play the game if they enjoy doing so. But if the advertising team for Madden claimed that playing that game somehow meant players are NFL-caliber athletes, every one would realize how ridiculous that statement would be.

Given that no one is likely to lose their lives or limbs playing Call of Duty, Activision needs to get a new tagline.

“Call of Duty” battles continue in legal system

News today on the legal battle between Activision and Electronic Arts over the former lead creators of the highly-lucrative “Call of Duty” series. 

Kotaku.com reports a new legal filing from Activision reveals the publisher is demanding $400 million from its rival. Activision claims that Electronic Arts improperly courted Infinity Ward founders Jason West and Vince Zampella in 2009, while the pair were still working on CoD: Modern Warfare 2 and under contract to Activision.

The nasty lawsuits between Call of Duty publisher Activision and the ousted lead creators of that hit series got nastier today with accusations that the president of rival EA was instrumental in trying to “hijack” the Call of Duty developers.

And there’s more mud being slung. Activision also says the makers of Modern Warfare gleefully sabotaged the sister studio behind this year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops.

Activision spelled this out in a legal filing today through which they intend to add Medal of Honor and Battlefield publisher EA — their Coke-vs-Pepsi rival — to their lawsuit against Jason West and Vince Zampella, the founders of original CoD studio Infinity Ward. West and Zampella were fired by Activision in March for alleged acts of insubordination, just months after the studio the men founded finished and released the huge hit Modern Warfare 2.

(snip)

(After this story was originally filed, Kotaku heard back from both West and Zampella’s attorney and a spokesperson for EA. Both shot down the claims, the attorney calling them “a pathetic mash-up of false and reckless assertions.” EA called them “deliberate misdirection” but declined to specifically address the actions the company is accused of having taken.)

Infinity Ward, of course, developed the original Call of Duty game. Pretty much anyone reading this post remembers the first CoD game was a World War 2-themed FPS that emerged as a rival to EA’s “Medal of Honor” series. The first CoD came out way back in 2003 with an outstanding single-player campaign, something some gamers (the ones who considered to be lacking in more recent CoD offerings. 

“Medal of Honor: Allied Assault” and its expansion packs were good games in their own right, but “CoD” improved upon the other series by placing players in the midst of American, British and Soviet units. In this writer’s view, CoD and CoD 2 provided more immersive experiences than MoH games, which sometimes made it seem as if the player was in the role of the only soldier fighting the Nazis.

But that’s all in the past. The real-life fighting also includes allegations that West and Zampella tried to sabotage another studio’s marketing efforts. Treyarch, the alleged target, has developed other CoD titles, including the most recent offering, “Black Ops.”

Kotaku reports the case is expected to proceed in mid-2011. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether legal scholars will view either sides’ filings as examples of innovative legal strategies or whether the publishers’ attorneys will be accused of basically rehashing and repackaging previous efforts.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Trailer

As promised, the new trailer for Treyarch’s take on the Call of Duty series slated for release in November this year is out in the wild. It drops quite a few hints as to what might be going on, such as that it could be taking place during Cold War.

And don’t forget to catch what looks like a flight suit for the SR-71 Blackbird which appears towards the end. I thought it looked like a Mercury space suit, but if it’s a hint that there’s going to be some kind of mini-game where you take spy shots at three times the speed of sound, I’d like to see how they pull that off.

Speculation? Well, from what we’ve heard, the game isn’t restricted only to Vietnam thanks to a leak by a UK retailer’s listing of the game mentioning Cuba and the Arctic.

Coupled with what’s seen in the trailer, I’d guess that we’re going to see the Cold War from a sort of “black ops” history lesson done FPS style, via the memories of whoever is being tortured for them by whoever is looking for whatever dirty laundry might still be relevant today.

And, being that this is Treyarch’s baby, we haven’t seen the zombies yet. But something tells me that I wouldn’t be surprised to see Soviet ones this time around.

Modern Warfare release

Gamers rejoice, the much anticipated Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 game is finally out. Over 150 people waited out side the Best Buy store in San Bernardino for the Midnight release.

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Dominic Diaz of Highland waits outside the San Bernardino Best Buy for the midnight release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

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Lines wrap around the Best Buy in San Bernardino during the Midnight release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

Remember…no Russians

This year’s GDC (Game Developer’s Conference) had a host of amazing announcements from the floor, not the least of which was the keynote by MGS maestro, Hideo Kojima, as he touched on subjects ranging from his own development philosophy to what the future might hold for the legendary franchise.

But FPS fans were probably more riveted by the teaser Infinity Ward had put together revealing the impending release on 11.10.09 of Modern Combat 2. It also didn’t take long for the ‘net to provide plenty of analysis on the imagery the trailer hints at with a strong suspicion that one of the locations may be Rio De Janeiro along with new perks. The hint that the gunmen in the trailer don’t want to take a chance in shooting any Russians may also tie back to what had gone down in the first game, making this part of an ongoing storyline.

And here’s the trailer, courtesy of Gametrailers.