Black Ops II – Weapons Are “Balanced From The Ground Up,” More on Map Design and Social Integration

Treyarch Studio Head Mark Lamia discusses Black Ops II multiplayer, including how maps are conceptualized, Treyarch’s interest in the social aspects of multiplayer, and most importantly, weapon balance.

“We really enjoy creating distinct, unique locations,” Mark Lamia tells Now Gamer. Many Treyarch fans might not know that story and background play a large role when it comes to the conceptualization of multiplayer maps within the Treyarch studio. Lamia discusses further, “we have a story for each of these locations that we come up with. Whether or not the player knows it, that’s part of our conceptual process when coming up with our maps.”

This also carries over to locations within the maps as well. Lamia explains, “we place a lot of emphasis on wanting to have distinct locations within a map so that, as much as possible, you could say where you’re at.” This greatly benefits players who use “call-outs” while playing with others in Call of Duty’s multiplayer.” We think that not only is that artistically interesting for us, but also from a gameplay point of view, there’s a real nice benefit to having that,” Lamia adds. Fans can also expect much more life-like maps thanks to the many engine upgrades and new lighting techniques that Treyarch will be implementing.

Treyarch took a giant leap forward in the original Black Ops when they introduced Theater Mode to the Call of Duty franchise. Lamia states that it played a large role in adding a unique and creative element to Call of Duty’s multiplayer, something that he explains we can expect more of in Black Ops II. “We also like that there is a creative element inside of Black Ops,” says Lamia when referring to the introduction of Player Cards, Theater Mode and other tools that allow players to “show off in unique and interesting ways.” He added, “It has this unique social implication but also just in terms of being able to share the experience with other people.”

Again, we can most likely expect further improvements to the Theater Mode and Elite Integration in Black Ops II, something Lamia touched on earlier here.

“Weapon balance is critical” explains Lamia. “With Black Ops’ multiplayer, there was a certain balance of gunplay and gameplay that we wanted to strike,” which for the most part, many would argue the team got right, minus a few odd weapons like the FAMAS, for example. Generally, Black Ops was praised as one of the more balanced titles in the later half of Call of Duty’s history. Lamia stresses, “we really enjoyed the gunfight that occurs,” and it seems to have showed.

When it comes to Black Ops II, Lamia reveals that players can expect a brand new weapon balance system built from the ground up which falls in line with Treyarch’s general multiplayer philosophy this time around. Earlier, Treyarch noted that Black Ops II’s multiplayer will be “stripped back to the core” and that they will be “challenging some long held assumptions.” Lamia adds, “I think our weapons and our balance are going to be unique to Black Ops II. Any conception you have about any weapons in the Call of Duty franchise, you set aside when you’re playing Black Ops II. It’s being balanced from the ground up for this game that we’re creating.”

What sort of things are you most looking forward to in Black Ops II’s multiplayer? Better maps, new engine upgrades, improved Theater Mode/Elite or the revamped weapon balance system? Let us know in the comments below!

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