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

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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.

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