PC Gamer

Neither Treyarch nor Activision said much about Black Ops 3 yesterday, aside from confirming (eventually) that it will in fact be the next Call of Duty game. Activision did say that "new intel" may be released prior to the full reveal on April 26, however, and apparently it wasn't kidding: The source code for the Call of Duty webpage contains a description of the game, which will take place in a "dark, twisted future."

The full bit:

"Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is the first title for next-gen hardware in the critically acclaimed Black Ops series. Developed by Treyarch, the award-winning creator of the two most-played games in Call of Duty history. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 deploys players into a dark, twisted future where a new breed of Black Ops soldier emerges and the lines are blurred between our own humanity and the technology we created to stay ahead, in a world where cutting-edge military robotics define warfare. With three unique game modes: Campaign, Multiplayer and Zombies, providing fans with the deepest and most ambitious Call of Duty ever."

It all sounds kind of Deus Ex-y, doesn't it? And as noted by Polygon, recent posts to the Treyarch Facebook page have covered topics including "biohacking," implantable technology, and laser weaponry, all relevant to the sort of future that Black Ops 3 appears set to present.

A new, purportedly-official Black Ops 3 image also came out yesterday, courtesy of Twitter user @ThaTiemsz, featuring a heavily armored soldier mimicking the pose of the guy on the original Black Ops cover in front of the III logo. Its actual officialdom hasn't been confirmed, but it's worth remembering that this whole business began yesterday with the posting of an unattributed teaser by YouTuber TmarTn. (And since we're basically conspiracy-theorizing here anyway, I can't help but notice the excess of Ts in "ThaTiemsz" and "TmarTn." What could it mean?)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Philippa Warr)

There are three things because this is Black Ops 3. Are you following this?

Activision and Treyarch have announced the worldwide reveal date for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 – it’s April 26th.

As you might expect from a teaser for an announcement, it’s all swishy CGI and some echoey near future military-industrial philosophy wiffle and no actual game details. BUT you can watch it:

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

It's starting to look very much like the next Call of Duty will be Black Ops 3.

The suggestion that the next Call of Duty will be Black Ops 3 first came to light earlier this week, thanks to a viral marketing effort on the part of Activision. Now we've got this trailer, leaked [Update: posted by, that is, though Activision hasn't confirmed its source] YouTube user TmarTn, and it seems pretty clear: Blops is back!

As Shaun mentioned on Monday, it's not entirely surprising: Treyarch is the Call of Duty studio for 2015, and Treyarch, as we know, does Black Ops. The teaser looks awfully legit, too, and fits with our expectations. It's not official confirmation of Blops 3, but I think it's fair to say we're getting there.

Update 2: Treyarch has all but confirmed that Black Ops 3 is coming, and that the April 26 reveal date is legit. "It feels good to be back," the studio tweeted a few minutes ago, accompanied by an image of the "III" that appeared in the trailer. "It feels even better to be #BackInBlack. Let's do this."

Update 3: And now Activision has nailed it down with a tweet of its own. "It's official—@CallofDuty Black Ops III is coming this year from @Treyarch," it wrote. The tweet also contained a link to an Activision blog post confirming the April 26 reveal date, and hinted that, while the cat is now out of the bag, "new intel" may continue to turn up between now and then.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Philippa Warr)

OH NO IT IS A GHOST

Ah good, it’s time to start talking about Next Call Of Duty and how it’s probably going to be Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 because a Snapchat campaign – yes Snapchat, shut up – implies as much.

While streaming some Black Ops 2, YouTuber Drift0r picked up on the addition of one of those QR code ghost things Snapchat introduced so you can befriend #brands and #engage with their #content easily.

“I have a feeling this is going to be like a viral marketing campaign,” he notes on the video. “Like in a couple of days if you follow the little ghosty you will get a picture of Black Ops 3 tweeted out or Snapchatted out? I don’t really Snapchat so I don’t know how that works.”

He was right.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

No need to act surprised, but there's almost certainly gonna be a new Call of Duty game this year. That's not news per se because for all I know, the apocalypse will arrive tomorrow (hopefully after breakfast!), but there's little doubt that the world's most reliable franchise will arrive again this November. The big question is: what sub-brand will it be? Modern Warfare? Advanced Warfare? Ghosts? A return to World War 2?

It looks like we'll see a return to the Black Ops series, if new viral marketing evidence is anything to go by. Activision has sprinkled Snapchat links throughout Black Ops 2 during a recent update, according to the above video by YouTuber Drift0r. The Snapchat link which works like a QR code links to the official Call of Duty Snapchat account which suggests that maybe, just maybe, we'll get an announcement via that social media platform at some point in the future. Could it be true?

It makes sense: Black Ops studio Treyarch is developing Call of Duty in 2015. The big question, after ten years of annual Call of Duty games, is whether it will feature an actual dog. That'd be cool. Perhaps a German Shepherd, with realistic fur. Wouldn't that be something.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Philippa Warr)

Inspired by Liberace

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare [official site] has introduced Master Prestige ranks which are another way to earn elite weapon drops and culminate in a Grand Master Prestige gear set which kind of makes you look like your character has been mistaken for a couch and upholstered.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

Paradox CEO Fredrik Wester and COO Susana Meza Graham discussed the future of the games industry at a media round table last week, focusing particularly on the viability of big-budget game development, the challenges facing an exploding digital market, and why a game about pinging a goat off a trampoline is preferable to the biggest shooter series in the world.

"Competition is really fierce," said Wester. "You have to have an edge in there, and that's why I say 'more Goat Simulator and less Call of Duty' for Paradox, because we need the edge. It's easier to get out and market, it's easier to show what you're doing.

"People are tired of explosions and dubstep music. We've seen it a million times now, like, stop doing it. No more."

Paradox' bosses aren't planning to muscle in on the farmyard animal flap-about genre any time soon, but they are thinking hard about how to stand out in increasingly packed market of small and mid-tier releases. It's not surprising that they'd look favourably on a quickly produced viral hit like Goat Simulator, they've had success building niche games with relatively small teams, and are wary of the one-upmanship that accompanies big-budget blockbuster development. Susana Meza Graham thinks the arms race can't last.

"I think we're going to see a little bit of a scaling back as well. As an industry we've just tried to top each other every single time we release something, it's going to be bigger, better, bigger productions, bigger marketing budgets, whatever, whatever. Then all of a sudden it's released and we still can't meet consumers' expectations because some things don't work maybe as planned, the plans were too ambitious."

 People are tired of explosions and dubstep music. We've seen it a million times now, like, stop doing it. No more.

Assassin's Creed Unity provides a recent example. Wester has another that highlights the sky-high expectations developers and publishers set around their landmark releases.

"One signal there is when Square Enix shipped [Tomb Raider], the latest edition of that, it's like 'it's a new record for Square Enix! Shipping 5.3 million units day one!' And it's still 1.2 million units under their target. Then I feel like 'okay your target is 30 percent more than you've ever done before ever ever ever, and that's your target' There's something that's a bit strange here."

"You can always dream," Susana adds. "And there's reality, and at some point the two need to start meshing together a little bit more. Maybe it's easy to sit here and say—we don't face those realities on a day to day basis—but I just think it's gotten to a point where it's a rollercoaster, it's not going to be able to continue like this."

Paradox has had its own setback recently, cancelling their Norse mythology RPG, Runemaster, to refocus their efforts on other projects. Said projects include the wizardy co-op game, Magicka 2, Cities: Skylines, Hearts of Iron 4 and a new expansion for Europa Universalis IV. They're also publishing Obsidian's Pillars of Eternity, due out next month.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Yes, it still needs to have guns.

Activision have started vaguely muttering about this year’s Call of Duty, which is the first from Cod Blops folks Treyarch on the series’ new three-year development cycle. We knew that was happening, and all Activision had to say in an earnings conference call yesterday is that it’ll be “loaded with innovation”. Right-o. The FPS is now a decade into annual sequels and quite set on that path, so I wonder: what would you do with Call of Duty?

You can reboot, resurrect, reinvent, fragment, and spin-off all you like, but let’s assume you won’t get the green light from Activision without releasing a core FPS. Past, present, future, revolutions, invasions, operations, robots, dinosaurs, spacemen – go. Dream. Me, I’m thinking episodic.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

In thoroughly unsurprising news, Activision has confirmed that Treyarch will develop this year's installment in the Call of Duty series. Best known for their Black Ops installments, 2013's Black Ops 2 was their last effort before the series transitioned to a three-year development cycle with the addition of Sledgehammer into the mix. 

Activision confirmed the news during an investor's call today (via IGN). It follows studio boss Mark Lamia's appearance at the DICE Summit earlier this week, where he delivered a presentation about the team's first effort in the series, Call of Duty: World at War.

While investors are privy to information like this, it's unlikely us lowly consumers will hear anything solid about the next COD until May, if previous announcements are anything to go by. Will it be Black Ops 3? Will it have zombies? Will it be set in outback Australia? Only time will tell.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Ben Barrett)

Well, if you're going to go out, might as well be leaping through the air dual-wielding ... something huge.

Heya, Call of Duty, buddy, how are you doing? Breakups are hard, aren’t they? Ex-friends Respawn are off doing their own thing and that big bully Battlefield‘s still swanning about, making your life difficult. You wanna look cool and hip, so at Gamescom yesterday you showed off your hottest new clothes, spruced up versions of the last-season garbage those losers are wearing. Double-jumps and cloaking, maps that modify themselves over time – you’ve taken the best of them and mixed it in with your own feel. Plus, for some reason, Unreal Tournament dodging. That one’s a bit off the wall.

… [visit site to read more]

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