It’s a rare thing to look at Call of Duty news and think to oneself that they are actually innovating here. That appears though to be what has happened, as Treyarch has taken their 3 year development cycle as license to innovate it appears with the new installment of Call of Duty. Treyarch being given 3 years in fact, was innovation of itself by Activision who decided to experiment by for once not forcing a studio to create the next game in 2 years or less. It appears that the dwindling sales of Call of Duty has forced Activision to let the developers play around some, and after Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare introduced jet packs to change things up a little, Black Ops 3 promises to change things up even more. While some of it was shown at the Sony E3 presser, more details have come to light since.
The campaign mode got a big overhaul as they have decided to go with a co-op playable game with up to 4 people able to join in. Each of the players will be able to choose their own weapons, gear, and their individual progression providing a more complete campaign experience. However, going co-op wasn’t enough for Treyarch on overhauling the campaign mode, instead they’ve also decided to re-examine their map ideas. Gone according to the documents are the famous corridors that Call of Duty has used, for a more open and dynamic map that players can use multiple routes to get to a location. AI was also given a revamping to take advantage of this and to create more dynamic game play by having encounters evolve differently depending on what has happened.
Upgrades though go beyond just level ups as to take advantage of the continued future setting Black Ops 3 has put in Cyber Cores and Tactical Rigs. Cyber Cores are useful in allowing a character more skills like remote hacking and drone control or the ability to chain melee attacks. Tactical Rigs are more defensive and passive in nature compared to Cyber Cores more offensive and utility basis. Tactical Rigs can grant advanced movement options, like jet packs one imagines, and defensive capabilities – perhaps armor or something to create cover. These help beyond a level progression grant a level of unseen customization in a Call of Duty game.
Now we’ve heard that Marshawn Lynch is going to be in the game as a character as well, so I went to look for a Marshawn Lynch press conference to see if there was any hints of this upcoming partnership and what it means…
Multiplayer is far from being left alone – already impacted more by the changes of Advanced Warfare, even more is coming here. The movement system has been revamped to focus more on momentum and precision, while always allowing full control of your weapon. Thrust jumps, power slides, and fast mantling all make appearances and can be used in combination to reach new areas and move in new ways. Maps are designed to take advantage of this, and presumably a focus has continued on verticality… which the details of at least one of 4 maps we have some information on promises to.
The biggest change though is likely the new specialist system. There will be nine elite specialists with their own look, appearance, weapons, and abilities you can choose between in multiplayer. Each of them can be leveled up in addition to the global XP and the weapons XP.
Each specialist comes with a special weapon and ability to separate them mechanically. The use of callsigns also allows for a cute way of naming the various classes and letting the characters speak some potentially. 6 of them have been revealed so far:
- Ruin, who focuses on speed and gravity with his overdrive ability and gravity spikes weapon
- Seraph, who focuses on multiple kills with high powered weapons, using his Annihilator AP revolver, and combat focus which creates a bonus multiplier for earning Scorestreaks
- Outrider, who sharpshoots with Sparrow, a compound bow with explosive heads, and a radar styled vision pulse ability that also tags where enemies are.
- Reaper, who is a robot, with his weapon being Scythe where he can transform one of his arms into a minigun, and his special ability Psychosis allows you to create decoys of himself
- Prophet, is about temporal manipulation in ways, as he uses Tempest a shock gun that is based on charged shots and chains to nearby enemies, and his ability Glitch lets you move back to a place you previously were.
- Nomad, is about deception in many ways, as his weapon is H.I.V.E. where he can set up nanobot traps for enemies, and his ability Rejack lets him come back from near-death to continue to be a pain.
3 more are to come, and each promise some different ways of playing though implementation will be key.
They’ve also announced a new Gunsmith system. I’m not sure based on reading at this point how much of it is purely cosmetic, though at least a portion is. It promises more customization for guns with more attachments, more models, more camos, and custom emblems. Multiple attachments, as well as an optic can be added to weapons. On Playstation 4, XBox One, and PC there will even be a new Weapon Paint Shop to create custom graphics for your gun with up to 64 layers and 3 sides to design. It may be reasonable to assume from that, that there isn’t much plans for cosmetic gun DLC.
Zombies will also be making a return to the game, and have their own story and XP-Based progression system – though we don’t know more than that at this time.