Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Call of Duty Goes Futuristic- Does it Matter?

With the trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 now out in the wild, the speculation has ended- the Black Ops sequel will take place in the future, the year 2025, to be exact.  Rock takes a look at the series as a whole, and why going to the future might be the most interesting thing the series has done yet.

Let me be clear about something right away- I don't play Call of Duty. The last game in the series that I played was the first Modern Warfare on PC back in 2007. While I found the campaign to be pretty cool and the multiplayer to be irresistible, I felt that I'd had my fill after my time with MW1 was through. I don't hate the series and I can understand why people like it so much, but I guess it's just not really for me. More CoD games came and went, and I had an interesting realization: each subsequent Modern Warfare release has done less and less to pull me in.  On the other side of that coin, the games from Treyarch, Activision's traditional "B" team, have been continually setting themselves apart. When the proper Call of Duty series went Modern Warfare, Treyarch used the new engine to make WW2 look amazing all over again with World at War.  When Modern Warfare...stayed Modern Warfare, Treyarch took the war to the 60s and 70s with Black Ops.  And when Modern Warfare...continued being Modern Warfare, Treyarch decided to jump things up a notch with Black Ops 2 by going into the effing future! That's not to say that everything Treyarch does is great, but at least they're differentiating themselves.

The fact that the next Black Ops game is taking place a little more than a decade into the future has been an insanely polarizing topic. Some hail the decision as being just what the series needs to revitalize itself, while others claim  that this is simply old hat, dressed up in a slightly futuristic skin. Let me say again that, while I'm not really a huge fan of the Call of Duty series in general, I haven't completely written the series off either and I'm actually pretty excited by this new direction. And since I haven't played CoD in a while, this will mostly just be a breakdown of setting, with a bit of speculation thrown in. Before we really get down to it, let's watch the trailer, shall we?


Ok, so what do we have? A slightly futuristic setting, with implications that the same hi tech doodads we rely on for war will be turned against us. But what amazing doodads they are! It looks like there will be some advanced aircraft, as well as remote controlled drones with mounted guns. But that's not all! There appears to be one of the awesomest implements of war ever devised- mechs! In the trailer, we can see two types of mech: one, a four-legged troop transport type, the other a bipedal, more heavily weaponized version.  The addition of mechs to the game is huge if they're usable, even more so if they're somehow available in multiplayer, maybe as killstreaks? Just check something out for me, yes?


That's the 2nd generation Sarcos suit, and it's pretty effing awesome! It essentially magnifies a person's strength, enabling them to carry much more than they normally would.  The important thing to glean from that video is that the estimated deployment for that thing is only a few years from now. I guess my point is that the mechs we see in the Black Ops 2 trailer really aren't too farfetched. Basically just take a Sarcos and add armor and weapons! And that's the heart of this topic- any amount of distance into the future makes a game immediately more interesting to me. Why is that? Because it allows us to explore the unknown! Even a modern warfare setting seems a bit drab and boring when compared to the possibilities presented by a jump of just over ten years!

And so for the first time in years, I find myself becoming excited about a series that's done little to engage me in the past. Black Ops 2 is quite possibly the most important game in the Call of Duty series since the first Modern Warfare. The new, slightly futuristic setting is intensely interesting to me, and I can't wait to see exactly how  far Treyarch pushes this theme.

So now I'll turn to the readers, what do you think about the new setting? Are you excited by this new direction, does it matter to you? Answer in the comments!

Rock loves the future. Shame about the Mayan prophecy, though..

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