Black Ops 2
Clearly Activision have been made aware of a small pocket of the population that are yet to have a Strong Opinion on their unstoppable FPS franchise. In which case, there's only one thing for it: deploy a free Steam weekend in the hope of tempting the last remaining vestiges of Call of Duty innocents to invite Black Ops 2 through their bandwidth.
It's good news for veterans, too: this influx of new recruits handily coincides with a Double XP weekend, which will be running from now until Monday.
Some scant early details of the first Black Ops 2 DLC have been divulged in the form of a retail display poster. Spotted by Reddit, the poster rounds up the contents for the as yet undated "Revolution" content pack. So, will it be the standard collection of maps, or will it do what the title suggests and add something more unexpected? Place your bets now...
In most years, the idea that space wizards had manipulated the outcome of the American war of independence would probably count as the most fanciful reappraisal of historical fact. But not in a year in which a Black Ops game gets released!
As is now the tradition, Activision announced today that the latest game in the Call of Duty franchise made... kind of a lot of money. Black Ops 2 netted (places pinky at corner of mouth) one billion dollars in 15 days, hitting the mark a day faster than its predecessor, Modern Warfare 3.
Treyarch took chances with Black Ops 2's campaign, and in this video critique, Evan and Tyler discuss which of those undertakings succeed, which flounder, and why they feel just one cutscene was able to invalidate the story and belittle the developer's creative effort. Opinions are levied in the video inside.
It's hard to imagine the circumstances in which yoinking your pre-order bonus less than a week after launch would be considered a really good PR move. Nonetheless, this is the peculiar position Treyarch found themselves in when they removed the Nuketown 2025 playlist last night - a multiplayer mode dedicated to the exclusive bonus map - leaving the content only playable in unranked custom games.
As Treyarch's game design director David Vonderhaar tweeted yesterday: "Double XP weekend is official over. That means Nuketown 2025 / 24-7 is as well. I know. RIGHT? Don't kill the messenger. [...] Nuketown 2025 / 24-7 will be back for special events. You can always play it with your friends in Custom Games."
I haven't experienced any ping-related dysfunction in Black Ops 2 multiplayer yet, but to stay safe, here's a quick tip which may improve your matchmaking connections.
Everybody’s second-favourite Call of Duty sub-franchise returns, picking through the carnage of the preceding game’s CIA conspiracy while simultaneously barrelling onward into the cyber-enhanced future-war of 2025.
The game flits between control of David Mason, son of the first Blops’ protagonist, and flashbacks to (not terribly) covert missions taking place during the conflicts of the late 20th century. For the most part, it follows familiar Call of Duty rote: enemies swarm out and you pop their heads and push forward. Like Whack-a-mole, but with foreigners. You shoot men in 1980s Afghanistan. You shoot men and robots in future-LA. Hither and thither, men are shot, their demise serving a globe-trotting anti-terrorism yarn that would be amusingly ludicrous if it weren’t laser-targeted to evoke actual middle-American paranoia.
Treyarch has posted a Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 behind-the-scenes trailer featuring composer Trent Reznor, who is best known for being Trent Reznor, and writer David S. Goyer, who consulted on the first Black Ops game, and is best known for his credit as co-story writer on Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight films. Jump into this post's guts for the trailer.
Treyarch director of technology Cesar Stastny has confirmed on Twitter that the latest Call of Duty will feature dedicated ranked multiplayer servers on PC.
Confirmed: Ranked Dedicated Servers for #BlackOps2— pcdev (@pcdev) June 16, 2012
It's good news, and more than a little overdue. Dedicated servers made a return with Modern Warfare 3, but were unranked and therefore didn't contribute to your overall progress. It seems like reliable, full-featured servers have crawled back bit by bit since they originally vanished from the series.
The introduction of the Frostbite 2 with Battlefield 3 last year threw down the gauntlet to other shooters. Visually, things have taken a step up, so it's interesting to see how the other big shooter franchises like Call of Duty respond. Black Ops 2 was revealed just a few weeks ago, and while it's been updated, it's still running on the modified version of the id Tech 3 engine that the series has been using for years. Treyarch aren't concerned.
Court documents obtained by Game Informer suggest that the near-future setting of Treyarch's upcoming Black Ops 2 could violate the agreement between Activision and Modern Warfare developer Infinity Ward.
Infinity Ward's Memorandum of Understanding includes a cause that grants the developer authority over 'any Call of Duty title set in modern day (post Vietnam), the near future or distant future.'
Evan mentioned this in his Black Ops 2 preview, but we thought it was worth highlighting.
Treyarch have been motion capturing horses ridden by men with toy AK-47s. You can see the results of the tech in their recent trailer, which is embedded below. Read on for a larger image of the horse and rider, along with a few screenshots of some in-game horse action, grabbed for your convenience.
Our initial verdict? Excellent equine rendering. Whether it's up to the high standards set by the probably-never-coming-to-PC Red Dead Redemption is yet to be confirmed. Which animal would you most like to motion capture?
We really like grilling developers.* Hard Questions embodies our commitment to addressing the creative, technical, or customer service decisions made by developers that PC gamers care about.
*PC Gamer's legal representation would like to remind you that our regret for the lives lost by our prototype Interview Barbeque is not an admission of guilt.
I spent a day with Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 last week. After Treyarch's presentation, I borrowed a breaching charge from the studio's kitchen (the place is lousy with C4) to blast open the office door of its studio head, Mark Lamia. Entering in slow-mo with Inquiry Guns akimbo, I complimented Mark on the presidential red rotary telephone on his desk. Through a fog of drywall dust and poisonous florescent lightblub particulate, my interrogation began.
PCG: Will Black Ops 2 have dedicated servers on PC?
Stick around -- later tonight we'll have quotes from our interview with Treyarch Studio Head Mark Lamia and our first impressions of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. In the meantime, the reveal trailer offers the gist: men fight machines in a manly battle of man and metal. Also, horses!