Are you already dead set on picking up Call of Duty: Black Ops 2? Then you might be the sort of player intrigued by a shinier special edition ultro-box version. MP1st have word of two offerings, a "hardened" edition with a "collectible steelbook" and a "prestige" box which comes with an MD-27 Dragonfire Drone. That's not an in-game item. That's a drone that you can fly around and use to scare dogs. Attach a gun to it and you have a pretty close facsimile of the futuristic doom-bots we'll get to mess around with in Black Ops 2 (please don't do this).
Read on for a list explaining which extra bits come in which box, and a couple of pictures proving that they exist. No price announcement just yet.
Black Ops 2 is due out on November 13.
Bonus In-Game Content: Nuketown Zombies & Nuketown 2025 Exclusive Xbox Live CLAW Avatar Prop & Zombies Avatar Costume Limited Edition Challenge Coins Official Soundtrack by Jack Wall With Theme by Trent Reznor Collectible Steelbook Also Includes: Exclusive Weapon Camp & Exclusive Player Card Backgrounds
Bonus In-Game Content: Nuketown Zombies & Nuketown 2025 Exclusive PlayStation 3 System Multiplayer Theme & Zombie Theme MD-27 Dragonfire Drone with Remote Control Limited Edition Challenge Coins Official Soundtrack by Jack Wall With Theme by Trent Reznor Collectible Steelbook Also Included: Exclusive Weapon Camp & Exclusive Player Card Backgrounds
It's the future that's for sure. The riot shields all have lights on them, someone's finally realised that those quadrocopter toys could quite easily double as deadly recon drones, and humanity has become warped and warlike in its relentless quest to capture flags. The latest Black Ops 2 screenshots from Gamescom offer us a glimpse of this grim but probably quite fun dystopia. Absorb them below.
It's impossible to tell from looking, but there's an interesting "pick 10" character builder behind the loadouts of these futuristic soldiers. Treyarch have been talking about the highly customisable system at Gamescom.
When you shoot someone in Call of Duty, there’s a noise. It's positive feedback—a fwip-fwip-fwip to let you know that your bullet, knife, claymore, or phoned-in helicopter is hurting someone. While visiting Treyarch I asked the Black Ops 2 sound team about the creation of the simple-but-essential effect.
PCG: Why does it sound the way it does when I shoot someone in Call of Duty?
Brian Tuey, Audio Director: So... The sound has impact and it has meaning and it's useful and all that, but it's not a particularly pleasant sound, especially in isolation. There was a time recently where I was like, "You know? I'm gonna redo this with something else." So I kinda went a different direction, and it felt like this was going to be good. I checked it in, and within three hours, my email box was full of, like, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MY SOUND?" I'm like, "But it's so much better!"
Chris Cowell, Audio Lead: The other thing that you might not actually know, it's different every game.
Cowell: It has to be. They're all very similar, and they serve the same purpose, but the actual content and the creation of it is redone every game, because our guns sound differently, you know? The music's different, the situation's different...
Tuey: Our whole DSP chain in the engine is completely different. The same stuff doesn't sound the same anymore.
Cowell: Little things like that can be a really difficult sound to make. The last game, it took me weeks to get that little thing right, because you have to fire it, get the tick and hear it and know what it means.
Tuey: But it has to cut through the guns, the explosions, and give you the same exact feeling you had when you heard it last game.
Cowell: Yeah. It's the same experience. That experience needs to be consistent across all of them, but not the sound.
Tuey: And that's what the problem was with the new one I dropped in, it sounded different. So the experience was different, so people who were playing the game didn't even know I'd changed it, right? It's not like we make a big production about, "Hey, I changed this sound!" Well, sometimes we do. But usually we just want to see what people's reactions are.
What did it sound like when you changed it?
Tuey: I made it sound more like a bullet hitting somebody, as opposed to a tick. But it's more important for us that the gameplay aspect of it is supported, versus "Hey, now it sounds more real."
Shawn Jimmerson, Sound Designer: You want to know that your bullet has hit someone, especially in MP. You're firing and you want that immediate feedback that I am actually scoring hits. There's a lot of expectation, you know, even in films, when somebody punches somebody else, it's not a realistic sound...
Jimmerson: But people have that expectation. Within our community, there's that same sort of thing. There are certain things that you just don't want to mess with too much, because you just upset people who are playing your game.
About a year ago in Team Fortress 2 I changed my hit sound to the Sonic "ring." It’s pretty Pavlovian, it's a good incentive for shooting people.
Cowell: Yeah, that's a good one. That's another good classic sound that has a lot of meaning behind it. When you hear those sounds, that tink-tink-tink-tink, and you're like, "Yeah!"
Tuey: It probably took a sound designer weeks to make that just right.
Cowell: To get it just right, that stuff's really hard.
Tuey: Just for nobody to ever go, "Whoa, that's a really awesome sound."
Cowell: But then you know you love it, you know, when you put it in there. It's the same thing, you know? It's giving you that... "I know what that means" feeling.
Jimmerson: I was just going to say, one of our sound designers had a great observation the other day, that there's no correlation between the time it takes to work on a sound and the significance of the sound in the game in a visual sense. Like, a helicopter can crash, and I'm like, "Okay, I know this is going to have metal, an explosion, a fireball, all these different elements," but what does it sound like when you interface with this thing and say "Yes”? Or you push that button? What does that sound like? The simplest sound can take you so much longer to work on. And again, usually if you get it to a place where it's right, no one will ever think about it, necessarily. And that's good. People should be like, "Oh, of course it sounds like that when I interact with this future thing that I've never seen before and doesn't even exist."
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 details have been oozing out of Gamescom. VG247 have details of an updated "build a class" mode that will let us occupy ten gear slots with any combination of weapons, perks and killstreak rewards. Levelling up will mean choosing one of seven new pieces of kit to unlock. If you want to grab the six you missed, you'll have to prestige and reset your character.
You're not restricted to having to occupy certain slots with weapons, and other slots with perks. You can forgo your primary gun in favour of an extra perk, or a "wild card" ability that changes the way your weapon behaves, adding an alternative fire mode or letting you slot an extra attachment onto your weapon. Treyarch refer to the system as "pick 10."
It's not too far off Diablo 3's sideways levelling system that lets you slide any unlocked skill into a limited number of slots. Levelling grants you new tools with which to customise your loadout, which can then be swapped in for another skill whenever you fancy a change. It should introduce a significant element of choice to CoD's levelling system, and bring a bit of chin-stroking build pondering to the lull between Black Ops' frenzied fire fights.
There are more than a hundred kit items and powers to choose from, and VG247 have grabbed a handy list to give us an advanced look at the range of abilities on offer. Given that you'll need to prestige to get hold of all of them, we'll have to shoot a lot of men before we get access to the full weapons locker.
Type 25 M8A1 SA-58 SIG556 SCAR-H AN-94 SMR
M1216 Saiga-12 R-870 MCS
LSAT QBB LSW Mk 48
DSR 50 SVU-AS Ballista
MP7 Chicom CQB PDW-57 Skorpio EVO III MSMC
Assault Shield (Metal riot shield that can be planted into the ground as makeshift cover)
Reflex sight ACOG sight Target Finder (Paints red squares around hostiles) Hybrid Optic Suppressor Fast Mag Fore Grip Laser Sight Adjustable Stock Quickdraw Millimetre Scanner Grenade Launcher Select Fire Mode FMJ Rounds Extended Clip
Black Hat PDA (Get close to enemy equipment and point this data pad at it to hack it and turn it against enemies. Takes ages to hack though!) Smoke grenade Sensor grenade Flashbang Concussion grenade Shock charge (a throwable stick that emits an electric shock across a surface, rooting targets to the spot) Tactical Insertion
Perk 1 Greed (Lets you choose a second perk from tier 1) Perk 2 Greed Perk 3 Greed Primary Gunfighter Secondary Gunfighter Overkill Danger Close Tactician
Ghost (Now only hides you from UAVs when you are moving) Lightweight Flak Jacket Blind Eye Hardline Lightweight
Cold Blooded Hard Wired Scavenger Toughness Fast Hands
Dead Silence Engineer Tactical Mask Extreme Conditioning Awareness Dexterity
Strap on your flame-retardant suits, comment soldiers -- there's Call of Duty news. Activision has released the Call of Duty: Black Ops II multiplayer reveal trailer. You've got your running, your gunning, your microwave (or some other wave?) emitters, your remote-controlled kill streak rewards, and a stinger teasing a shoutcasted multi-team team deathmatch (assumption: three or more teams with more than one person per team). What do you think?
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.
The sentiment is all nice, but it's hard not to laugh a little at the juxtaposition when the featurette's medium-championing monologues give way to a gravely voice instructing us to get the Nuketown 2025 pre-order bonus map.
Black Ops 2's far future setting feels like a good backdrop for Call of Duty's mad action movie plotlines. The latest trailer profiles Raul Menendez, the big baddie we'll be hunting down in the sequel. He's a widely loved, poplular sort, but beneath that charming exterior there lies "an insidious mastermind hell bent on global insurrection."
He's a cat, basically. A cat with access to America's entire arsenal of automated drone weapons. Time to strap into a jetpack and divebomb out of the clouds through a storm of scorching flak. That's just one of the scenes that awaits you in the latest trailer below.
Hey, remember how we always say Call of Duty DLC is overpriced? Well VG247 are reporting that Activision have just launched a great big sale, offering 50% any Black Ops or Modern Warfare 3 Map Pack for the next week. That takes the price down from an exorbitant £11.49/$14.99 to a much more reasonable £5.74/$7.49.
There's something else to, a portion all sales will go to the Call of Duty Endowment, a charity launched by Activision back in 2009 that helps veterans find jobs when their tours of duty are over.
The full list of discounted DLC is as follows:
Call of Duty: Black Ops First Strike Call of Duty: Black Ops Escalation Call of Duty: Black Ops Annihilation Call of Duty: Black Ops Rezurrection Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Content Collection 1 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 content collection 2
Activision have long been seen as the 'Evil Empire' by gamers, but this is a good thing. £5.74 is a much more sensible price for a map bundle than £11.49. And money going to charity is a nice thing.
If you're thinking of picking one of these out you can check out our Black Ops: First Strike review, our Black Ops: Annihilation review and our Black Ops: Rezurrection review.
Nuketown was one of the most popular maps in Call of Duty: Black Ops' back shooting filling multiplayer, and a favourite of fans. Now an IGN reader has spotted a poster at Irish game store Xtravision that indicates the beloved map is coming back, but not for everyone.
The redesigned map is called 'Nuketown 2025' and will be updated to fit with Black Ops 2's more futuristic approach. It's unclear if the Nuketown will be a special edition bonus (the sign does say 'limited edition') a pre-order bonus (it also says 'driving pre-orders... and day 1') or an retailer specific bonus. Either way it's described as the 'biggest incentive in Call of Duty history', which while it will no doubt excite retailers, is just an additional annoyance for fans.
Maps are always a controversial choice when it comes to bonus incentives, as EA and DICE found out last year when gamers attempted to organise a boycott in the mistaken belief that Battlefield 3's Back to Karkand would be day one DLC for pre-order customers. The fear is that it will unnecessarily split the community, although given that Black Ops sold 20 million map packs, Activision could probably split their community several times over and still have more players than almost every other FPS.
Bonus maps aside, the new Call of Duty actually looks like it's trying some new and interesting things. Check out our Black Ops 2 preview for more.
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.
Last week brought the news that Neversoft, the studio behind the Tony Hawk and latter Guitar Hero games, are at work on Call of Duty. Check out the E3 trailer for the first extended look at the game, in which terrorists steal the keys to the robots of the future. I'm not sure why robots would have keys, unless the robot owned something that needed to be locked like a house or a car. A robust moral compass would probably be a better way of preventing a drone army from laying waste to Los Angeles, ultimately.
Is the news of proper PC server support enough to get you excited for Black Ops 2, readers?