Treyarch is “Taking E-Sports to the Mainstream” With Black Ops 2 Multiplayer, More on MP Design and Zombies

Studio Head at Treyarch Mark Lamia and Game Design Director David Vonderhaar discuss Black Ops 2 multiplayer, E-Sports and everyone’s favorite: Zombies.

In case you haven’t heard, Black Ops is kind of a big deal again, what with the recent Black Ops 2 reveal trailer which we highly recommend checking out. If that’s not enough for you, be sure to check out our in-depth trailer analysis where we take a look at potential killstreaks and high-tech weapons included in this near-future sequel.

Though the single player is said to take place during missions spanning the 80’s all the way up to the year 2025, Treyarch has stated that the multiplayer will take place exclusively in the near-future setting of the year 2025. This gives developers a near-endless amount of opportunities to do something truly unique with the gameplay in Black Ops 2’s multiplayer.

“The weaponry and the advancements in technology over the next decade play really well in a game space,” explains Mark Lamia to CVG in a recent interview. He adds, “…also, advancements in technology will allow us to add new technology to the weapons that are going to be coming out. So, whether it’s totally innovative optics that people haven’t ever experienced or played, or weapons that are on the drawing boards today but not yet having been manufactured or just technologies that are on the drawing boards today – to be able to see, to be able to realize that and authentically portray that in the future and allow players to experience that will be totally a new experience for Call of Duty players and something that is at the heart of what we wanted to do.”

Visually, the near-future setting could also play a large role in the way the game looks and feels. In fact, this directly ties in to the way David Vonderhaar plans to bring Black Ops 2’s multiplayer into the the E-Sports scene. Speaking with The Verge Vonderhaar explains, “E-sports is a big agenda for us,” something that the team at Treyarch has had a growing appreciation for ever since the original Black Ops. “More importantly, taking e-sports to the mainstream is a really key thing, but in order to do that you have to make the game fun to watch,” says Vonderhaar. Bringing Black Ops 2 to the year 2025 could be a fantastic way to add an interesting visual flare to the gameplay.

Of course, one of Call of Duty’s biggest gameplay assets that really gives it the edge over other first-person shooters is its feel. Vonderhaar comments on the importance of keeping the game running at a solid 60 frames a second. He stresses, “60 frames a second, whether you see it or not, you feel it.” He adds, “there’s no hitching. It’s that zen you feel when your brain feeds into the controller and back… that’s why 60fps is important to us.”

The Verge also detailed two multiplayer maps that they had the chance to experience: one taking place on a small Yemen island called Socotra while the second taking place in downtown Los Angeles after a devastating drone attack. The first is described as being reminiscent of Modern Warfare 3’s DLC map Piazza while the second interestingly takes place near the E3 convention center. It could also be described as a more vertical take on the Wall Street map also featured in Modern Warfare 3. The toppled buildings make for manic geometry as players make their way through debris, smoke and fire. When it comes to engine upgrades, The Verge was told that the complex shadows casted by branches in the former Yemen map could not have been rendered by the older version of the game’s engine, as an example.

New modes will also be introduced to Treyarch’s ever-so-popular Zombie game type. Those worried about a lack of attention to their favorite game mode need not worry. Lamia has described it as Treyarch’s “biggest, most-ambitious zombies ever.” Interestingly, this will also be the first time that Zombies will run on the same engine used for the multiplayer. Previously, Zombies ran on a jury rigged campaign engine.

A legitimate concern of many Call of Duty fans is that Black Ops 2 will lose its realistic and gritty tone while being set in the near-future. Luckily, Lamia stresses that staying believable is a top priority for the Treyarch team. “We gotta be grounded,” explains Lamia. Words to live by.

So far, things are looking promising for the future of Black Ops 2 (literally). Of course, this is only the beginning. Make sure to follow MP1st on Twitter and Facebook as we dive deeper into Treyarch’s vision for one of this year most anticipated FPS experiences.

  • boomjunk

    Take Modern Warfare 3, add shadows, ship it.

    • Lol, oh wow

      The fact that morons even ‘liked’ the retarded comment above just highlights the ignorance that is currently plaguing the gaming community.

    • The game looks nothing like MW3. Try again.

    • Spiritghidorah

      Take a stale joke about how COD is uninovative. Add a few more words. Post it.

  • J_Cob

    Yea, 60fps is important except when they develop the game for the PS3.

    • rtmoose

      ps3 gets 12 FPS its all good

    • PS3 version will be fine just like BO and MW3.

      • J_Cob

        Yea, the PS3 frame rate issue wasn’t that bad. It still sucked since the game ran at an even lower resolution than the Xbox 360 version and still had the frame rate problem. Hopefully Treyarch knows what they’re doing this time around. In an interview I saw with Mark Lamia he said when making Black Ops during the first year of development half of the dev team were working on other games. Then the second year they started hitting their stride. With Black Ops II the entire team has been working on the game since day one. So with that I have my fingers crossed.

        Digital Foundry’s Black Ops analysis:

        Lens of Truth’s Black Ops analysis:

  • asd

    When will they stop bragging about 60fps on consoles? It’s not hard at all with a engine with shitty graphics.

    E-sports huh? I bet us PC players can expect mod-tools, dev-console, local dedicated servers etc. Or can we?

    Fuck Activision.

    • Stef

       60fps is what makes fps good, only call of duty brings the perfect fluidity. Battlefield also had good controller until the catastrophe of BF3. All new fps games that comes out has shitty response time. God bless call of duty.

      • asd

        HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF A THING CALLED PC-GAMING? IT’S PRETTY COOL, 250FPS on CoD, dedicated servers, mod-tools, and other shit.

        Who the fuck even plays CoD or BF3 on consoles? The graphics sucks and 60fps is actually too low for most of PC-Gamers.

        • KillerSparrowThing

          … your post is repulsive. Your attitude reeks of ‘better then thou’. You go beyond smug.

          BF3 players deal with Origin, and still don’t have mod tools. COD players get shafted and no prospect of mod tools. Both have a despicable amount of hacking. PC gamers get shafted, for what, better graphics and the possibility of begging for mod tools? I’ve been gaming on the computer for a long time and today’s scene is garbage.

          My rig has a 3930k and two 7970s. 32gb of ram, over 1.5tb of hdd and sdd space. Add a Asus Rampage iv extreme to that and you have a total beast. It me cost over $3500 to build it myself. Not everyone has that to put out on a PC, let alone pay someone to do it. Don’t even give me the $1500 build response, that is still a lot of money.

          A console is a cheap, reliable, and casual way to game.I play games on PC and 360, both have their advantages, and the COD 360 crowd doesn’t get the shaft that the PC crowd does. Take your elitist attitude and shove it.

          • Stef

             I like you 🙂

          • Arendsb

            Is that tb of HDD space helping you game faster? Lol.

            Bet he has a 5200rpm HDD.


            I need to upgrade to get a nice pc myself

        • Jaskdavis

          “Who the fuck even plays CoD or BF3 on consoles? The graphics sucks and 60fps is actually too low for most of PC-Gamers.”
          I hate to break the News to ya, but the average human can only see up to 65 FPS! If you don’t believe me wave your hand back in forth in front of your Face and tell me how much “delay” or “screen Tearing” you encounter. lol

          • J_mckay93

            yes but it just makes it more fluid  please do research before posting.

          • Jaskdavis

            I do my research since i work for Comcast and Test these Things ALL DAY, your Pixel Refresh Rate 5.2ms to 4.8ms is a HUGE difference believe it or not is what keeps your “fluidity” in Gaming and NO FR drops helps as well. You can’t tell some one to do there research who Job is Research lol, You  probably gonna believe  that 1080i is better than 720p also, huh? 😛

          • J_mckay93

            you work for a cable company so you test tvs refresh rates what in the shit? and noone is that stupid.

          • Jaskdavis

            Shit? i am certified and went to go to school for my job, all i was implying is that IT DOES NOT MATTER IF YOU PLAY AT 200FPS BECAUSE YOU CANT TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 90 AND 200FPS/HZ ON A TV OR COMPUTER MONITOR. Besides i was replying to ASD and you had to jump in and ACT like you know what your Talking about!

          • Arendsb

            The blink of an eye is ~400 ms.

            You’re going to tell me you can detect 1/400th of the blink of an eye?

            Lol. Go troll moar.

        • Stef

           I got no money for a pc..

        • Who plays COD and BF3 on consoles? Everyone who isn’t a nerd.

      • asgaro

        You can have good fluidity on 40 fps.

    •  true i rather have a brand new engine and 30  FPS instead of 60 FPS and old engine

      • Jd9982

        No way in hell

      • Stick to your boring BF and MoH then.
        Stay out of COD articles.

        • SCR3AMINGS1L3NCE

          Well, seeing as I don’t wish to start anything, I’ll just keep this breif: Call of Duty has just as many “Fun” elements to it as Battlefield and Medal of Honor. If anyone would like to disagree, reply and I’ll explain my thoughts behind this statement.

        •  so just because i want a newer engine for COD i should leave……

    • It’s not hard? Well then why don’t we see EA trying to compete directly with COD and make a 60FPS “shitty graphics” game?
      All EA games do its  pretty graphics. They know they can’t compete with the gameplay so they just lure you in with their graphics.

  • Guest

    If you watch that interview vid, with them testing, the gfx look awesome. (tester shooting scar with dust flowing and bursting off the ground like never before) cant wait!

  • non

    E-sports? I’m sorry no matter how it looks, watching someone else play is boring. Even FIFA is boring watching someone else play.

    • lol *even* fifa? Soccer is boring to watch irl, why would I want to watch it virtually? I love to watch videos of other people playing, an entire youtube generation disagrees with you.

      • Guest

         What?! Football is not boring to watch. The entire globe disagrees with you (except maybe USA).

        •  i think ts boring but im not a sports fan so what do i know XD

          • Arendsb

            I like watching the real thing, but can’t stand watching fake FIFA. With the exception of 2 actual field-participants, the rest are AI controlled. Boring-!

  • Well ‘if’ they provide mod tools, map editor and dedi files then it ‘may’ interest me again. otherwise COD will stay in the bin for me.

  • “More importantly, taking e-sports to the mainstream is a really key thing, but in order to do that you have to make the game fun to watch,” — comon 3arc, spectator mode, pleeeaaasseee?

  • Must be really easy to take down one of those choppers or whatever they are. They’re HUGE lol..

  • vhati

    Its still call of duty,  more than enough for me to not play it.  Perhaps when they go back to their roots, or if they ever innovate ill buy again.

    2142 is a much cooler sci fi setpiece though.

    • thebulky1cometh

      “if they ever innovate i’ll buy again.”

      Soooo…jumping ahead into a future setting isn’t innovative?  They still want to keep their roots, to a certain extent, so they don’t want to become a completely different game.  Personally, I don’t see how BLOPS2 could be MORE innovative without losing the COD identity (actually, I’m even a bit worried about how the “future” will affect the whole COD “feel” that we all know).  One thing’s for sure, BLOPS >MW3 in just about every way possible, so I’m cautiously optimistic that Treyarch knows what it’s doing and will make another spectacular game.

      • vhati

        no, a future setting is not innovative.  The fact is that changes a few textures to look futuristic is pretty simple.  Its not like the guns will be different, they will be the exact same hitscan they have always been.  The killstreaks will be the same bull, but with a future twist, its not like the current killstreaks arent already futuristic.

        I trust treyarch to not rock the boat and keep going down the path cod has been going down, and I drove off that road a couple games ago.  Its fine for the people that want that, go for it, but i want something more.

  • I want to know more about the technical side.  Anyone know if they’re using a new engine? or pushing the boundaries at all? (sorry i don’t consider a new facade of buildings pushing the boundaries).  So far it looks like the usual washed out engine, with a slight bump in shadows and contrast.

  • Korflock

    Lamia stresses that staying believable is a top priority for the Treyarch team.”

    Are you kidding me?
    This is the most unbelievable, unrealistic looking COD to date.
    It looks like 2100s not 2020s.
    Treyarch hitting it off, once again.

  • Artdafoo

    E sports and Call It Doodie, thats done funny shit Treyarch. With ur laggy ass no dedicated servers, thrown together maps, horrible hit detection, etc. Come up with a good game first then talk about E sports. Take MW3 replace Russians with Robots and you got Wack Ops 2. Who the hell you trying to kid ?

    • Jd9982

      Get a life you loser trol

    • Get. A. Life.

      • G1

         Way to reply to yourself, faggot.

  • MrBossFTW

    This is an analysis video that I made. Tried to point out some things one might miss the first time viewing the trailer. 😀

  • Soldier

    Yeah… E-Sports will sure be plausible with no dedicated servers and the host always being the best =/

  • “60 frames a second, whether you see it or not, you feel it.”

    how come black ops FPS would drop alot randomly??

    • Skrying


    • Stay mad dude.
      Black Ops 2. Day 1.

      • Oh really…

        Cool story bro.

        • im his publisher & its a damn good story.

          • KillerSparrowThing

            Pulitzer material?

  • I’m not sure how giving zombies the same engine as multiplayer is beneficial. Not saying it hurts but I don’t see how it helps. 

    • I guess it means they plan on bringing the multiplayer maps into the Zombie mode just like Modern Warfare 3 did with Spec Ops Survival.

  • Jackwlam

    All of this is good but they truly need to work on the lag/lag compensation. 60fps doesn’t matter if you are lagging. Dedicated servers would help but that would be asking too much of a company that has made millions from us.

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  • Love how ppl bitch about the future aspect”its not realistic” but the stay behind zombies”i guess there everwhere”

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  • Battlefielder

    Looks like battlefield 2142

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    …I’m just saying, COD runs on a very old ass engine. THEY NEED A NEW ONE!