Posts in "PC Gamer" channel about:
Call of Duty®: Black Ops
Feb 23, 2012
The Verge have reported on a top secret Call of Duty game that was in development five months before the release of the first Modern Warfare. Call of Duty: Devil’s Brigade was cancelled nine months in to development, was a third-person affair, and focused on the “superheroes” of WWII who later inspired the formation of the Green Berets and the Canadian Special Operations forces Command.
Activision cancelled the project in 2007. The dev team included Jason VandenBerghe, current creative director on Far Cry 3, along with Scott Bandy and Trevor Jalowitz, who now work for Activision. They called themselves Underground Development.
VandenBerghe quotes Infinity Ward’s dominance as one of the reasons for the cancellation: "If the IW guys say they want to control the Call of Duty IP, they don't even have to say our name. We just got sideswiped. And that happens. I don't begrudge them for that."
Lead designer, Kyle Brink says the Vivendi/Blizzard merger was also a factor: “As is normal in a merger, you do everything you can to clean up your balance sheet. A studio that isn't in full production on a title with major revenue attached to it, which is about to ask for tens of millions in development dollars, is a great candidate for closure.”
Here are a bundle of screenshots and a few seconds of footage. Warning: console commands feature below. As do low-res textures and basic geometry.
Can you imagine an alternate reality where Devil's Brigade exists? What's it like?
Cancelled COD by u64backup
The rumour mill is awash with whispers of a sequel to Treyarch's Call of Duty: Black Ops. Last month it was noted that Activision had bought up a series of Black Ops 2 domain names, a hint compounded by the recent appearance of an Amazon listing for Black Ops 2. The ad has since been pulled, but not before a screenshot appeared on Gameblog, spotted on Joystiq. That's not the only place that Black Ops 2 has appeared recently.
On LinkedIn, the profile of an artist at Nerve Software listed Black Ops 2 as a recent project. Nerve's last project is listed as Call of Duty: Black Ops. The LinkedIn profile has since been taken down.
Treyarch and Infinity Ward have taken it in turns to churn out annual editions of Call of Duty over the last few years, so it's likely that Treyarch are working on the next one right now. Given how well the first Black Ops sold, a sequel would make complete sense. Would you be interested in a Black Ops 2?
After the success of Call of Duty: Black Ops, it seems sensible for Treyarch to use their next turn developing CoD to turn out a sequel. Gamesradar mention a Fusible report indicating that publishers, Activision have managed to secure the Black Ops 2 domain name.
Activision bought up a series of domain names up to Blackops6.com, but Black Ops 2 was held by a private owner until now. Fusible mention that the Call of Duty publisher has managed to buy it up through brand protection agency, MarkMonitor, suggesting that Activision are keen to secure rights to a site for the sequel. They could be protecting the Black Ops brand in the long term, but given the first game's sales figures a second game would be no surprise. Would you be interested in more BLOPS?
Nov 24, 2011
Do you hear that faint wailing in the background? That's the sound of a thousand bank accounts going "noooo!" at the appearance of the Autumn Steam Sale. Thankfully for our wallets, it only lasts until Sunday, with dozens of new deals every day. Consider it a warm up for the monolithic Steam Christmas sale next month.
The sale kicked off yesterday, but you've still got six hours to grab some of the fantastic day one deals. The marvellous Orcs Must Die is just £2.99 / $3.74 (we gave it a score of 90 in our Orcs Must Die review). Portal 2 is selling for just £6.79 / $10.19. If you haven't played Mass Effect yet, the first game is £2.49 / $4.99, and Mass Effect 2 is 75% off at £4.99 / $12.49.
If you're more partial to an arcade explodathon starring Gordon Freeman, Renegade Ops is £4.99 / $7.49 (or you can grab a four pack for £9.99 / $14.99). All of Dejobaan's games are also on sale as well, including AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! for the Awesome.
These games are also on sale for the next few hours:
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Duke Nukem Forever
Test Drive Unlimited 2
Sam & Max series
Men of War series
These deals will switch out in 5 hours and 42 minutes from the time of writing. Keep an eye on the Steam front page for the next set of deals then.
Nov 15, 2011
Remember the Call of Duty social network, matchmaking and stat-tracking service, Call of Duty Elite? The one that was available on Xbox and PS3 at Modern Warfare 3's launch? The one that Activision described as a "necessity" for games? It might not make it to PC.
Beachhead Studio head Chacko Sonny implied that we were getting it a few weeks ago, abeit later than the console kids: “We’re as committed as ever to the PC, but the need to ensure a safe PC environment is greater than ever,” he said. “It’s really extensive. We need more time to get there, so Elite on PC will not launch on Day 1. We’re working our butts off to make it happen, but we won’t release it until we know that PC gamers can enjoy Elite as it’s meant to be.”
It seems the situation has changed. As Eurogamer spotted on the official Call of Duty Elite Twitter feed, we might not be getting the service at all. EVER.
"We are working towards a universal Elite experience but we cannot guarantee if or when a version will be available for the PC," read a tweet posted a few hours ago. The "if" makes me suspicious.
Call of Duty Elite's console launch has been plagued with technical issues and users have even been given 30 days free use of the service to compensate. We were told that the PC version of Elite wouldn't require a subscription fee. We were also told that we'd be testing it around now. And that it would eventually get released on PC, hence all the coverage. I don't know who to believe any more.
Nov 15, 2011
We didn't like Black Ops as much as Modern Warfare 3 but didn't hate it either, awarding Treyarch's game with a solid 64% Not that it mattered though. Black Ops sold more copies in its first week than the superior Modern Warfare 3, which we liked a whole 15% more. Graham even described Infinity Ward's game as "fun."
David Vonderhaar, game design director at Treyarch has admitted that he regrets some of Black Ops features. In particular, he doesn't like the Second Chance Perk that let's downed players pull out a pistol and take a few pot shots before respawning. A more advanced version of the perk even let friendlies revive each other. It looked cool but broke the game for competitive play.
Last night, Sticktwiddlers spotted this tweet from Vonderhaar: "See that gun to my head in my pic? That's how I feel about 2nd Chance. We meant well. I fucked up. Enough spam. Goodnight.
Nov 14, 2011
Modern Warfare 3 publishers Activision have been banging on about how their latest face-shooter has made more money than the GDP of a small country - but it seems it’s shifted fewer units than its predecessor, Call of Duty: Black Ops.
According to Eurogamer, Modern Warfare 3 has sold “just under” two million copies in the UK - 1.6 per cent less than Black Ops sold last year. Despite selling fewer units, Modern Warfare 3 has somehow made more money for Activision, bringing in £83.1 million for the uber publisher - 15 per cent more than Black Ops.
It also seems that these figures only account for PS3 and Xbox 360 copies of the game, so it’s unknown how much Activision have made from PC copies of the game - the majority of which are presumably downloads via Steam. We’re guessing many, many millions more though.
As reported on IGN, Studio head of Sledgehammer Games, Glen Schofield isn't happy with the way Modern Warfare 3 is getting treated on Metacritic.
It's currently got a metacritic of 82. That's a reasonable average, sitting just above our Modern Warfare 3 review score.
Glen was more upset by the user rating (formed by the public, not critics). At the time it was sitting at 1.7. Metacritic's users were making a statement. Not necessarily a truthful statement, but a statement nonetheless.
Schofield wasn't happy about this, so he hit his twitter feed and posted: "I don't usually do this but, if u like MW3 go 2 Metacritic.com & help our user score. It's suspiciously low. Be honest but help if u agree."
He's since deleted the tweet. Probably because it got him into trouble. Later on, after some negative feedback and accusations unfair boosting, he attempted to justify his original comments by posting that he "know it's better than a 1.7."
It seems the users agree; Modern Warfare 3's user rating currently stands at 1.8.
Nov 12, 2011
I remember storming the beaches of Normandy five years ago in one of CoD 2’s most tense and memorable levels. Yesterday in Black Ops I shot a zombie on the moon with a gun that made it vomit blood then explode. What the hell has happened to Call of Duty?
Whatever our memories of the shooter series, the zombie survival mode introduced by Treyarch in World at War has frequently been the best part of the regular Call of Duty: Black Ops packs. It follows, then, that a DLC pack made up of five zombie levels should be the best. It is, but not by much.
Moon is the centrepiece. You and three friends start out in a facility in Area 51, with zombies rising from the mud around you. Every few minutes a horn will sound and the zombies become faster and more powerful. Anyone frustrated by the boredom of the first few waves of a zombie map will greatly prefer this frantic opening. Within two minutes, the swarms will force you to take the cackling teleporter to the lunar surface.
You’ll find yourself in low gravity, gasping for air. Snatching an HEV mask will give you oxygen and eerily mute the sound of gunfire and incoming zombies. Like all of Black Ops’ zombie maps, you must use the points you’ve gained popping zombies to open doors to new parts of the level. Your first task is to turn on the power generator to restore gravity and oxygen to the warren of creepy moon-base corridors. If you fight deep enough into the facility you’ll get the wave gun that cooks zombies inside out. Restoring power also enables you to tear off your HEV mask so you can hear where the zombies are coming from, but it can be more fun to stay outside where a shotgun blast can send a nearby zombie flying into space. Low gravity is brilliant.
The other four maps aren’t so inventive. They’re almost identical versions of the four World at War zombie maps that Black Ops limited edition owners have been playing for months, with some upgraded lighting and slightly reshuffled weapons. The basic ruined house of Nacht der Untoten and the gloomy swamps of Shi No Numa represent the Zombies mode in its most skeletal and boring form. The huge Tesla coils of the experimental Nazi facility in Der Reise are more fun, but the real star of the resurrected maps is Verrückt . This splits your squad of four into two teams who must fight through a building to reunite, shooting zombies off each other’s backs across a large central square.
It’s telling that of all the Black Ops DLC packs the most worthwhile is 80% recycled material. Rezurrection is the best of a miserable bunch. Moon is good, but not £11.50 good, and it all seems moot when you can shell out an extra £2.50 and get Left 4 Dead 2 or Killing Floor for some more substantial, meatier zombie slaying.
In case we'd forgotten how mind numbingly huge Call of Duty is, last night's Activision earnings call dropped some massive sales figures to jog our memories. Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg announced that Modern Warfare 3 "drove the largest day one shipments in our history and in the industry's history."
That follows the fact that "Pre-orders for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 outpaced pre-orders for Call of Duty: Black Ops by a wide margin, setting a new industry record in making it the most pre-ordered game of all time."
The continued success of Black Ops is even more surprising. On the same call, Activision last night revealed that they've 20 million Black Ops expansion packs, at £11.50 each. That's a cool £230 million in sales. "The revenues generated from map packs alone would make it the third largest console title of the year," said Hirshberg.
Activision announce that they made $148 million this year between July and September, up from $51 million last year. There was no mention in the conference call of enormous money hats or swimming pools filled with gold bullion, but Activision did announce that they plan to make more money next year, with even more map packs for Modern Warfare 3. Now I have to go and grab a cup of tea and stop trying to imagine what $148 million looks like in dollar bill form.