Call of Duty: Black Ops – The Ultimate Interview

Mega-chat with Treyarch’s Studio Head Mark Lamia and Community Manager Josh Olin on the seventh Call of Duty.

By Kikizo Staff, June 2, 2010

Lamia: Yeah, that was interesting too. We learned that rank was irrelevant. It was like, it might be someone of a lower rank – if he’d been in the normal military, hah! I mean, given the size of it, it’s all about rank, if you’ve been in the military you understand that. And what was interesting was that they would put together these teams, and it was all about who was the right leader, and that didn’t mean that a lower rank person… he would still address the higher ranked individual in the respectful way you’d expect, but he’d still be telling that person what to do, which is not necessarily what would happen in the original army.

Stuff explodes pretty good, we found.

Stuff explodes pretty good, we found.

It’s interesting to hear that you were talking to veterans. What was their view of the game?

Lamia: Well, it’s a great question and we have to do that with every game, and I think it’s something you approach with a great deal of respect, these people who have seen the reality of these things, explaining to them that we’re certainly not trying to portray what it is really like in war, because that’s hell, that’s horrific – we’re creating an entertainment experience, think of it like a movie.

We’re trying to speak with them about a medium that they don’t yet really, that many of the veterans don’t completely understand. The good news is that many of them have grandchildren who do, and tell them about Call of Duty and are playing it, and what they like about it and what Major John Plaster liked about it was, not only was he a veteran who fought during that era, he was in these black operations.

A lot of people don’t really know what these guys did, and while we’re not trying to create a historical account of anything, we do actually draw on real authentic elements to come up with what we’re coming up with, and he can appreciate that, and he sees it as it will most likely inspire people to learn about these sorts of things, as much as like I’m talking to you guys.

Smells like a bromance moment to us.

Smells like a bromance moment to us.

That’s why I spend so much time talking about what these guys really did and how it inspires – because it did! And I think that while it’s the furthest thing from our mind to create a history lesson for anyone, whether it’s been in our World War II games or these games – because we do our research in a similar fashion – I’m pretty sure it will inspire people to pick up his book, to read about these accounts, to learn about the bravery and the heroism that these people conducted on behalf of whatever their beliefs were.

Regardless of what anyone thinks about the politics behind whatever they were doing, these were incredible individuals, who demonstrated incredible bravery. And I think, having talked to him, that’s kind of what I took away. It was something that I could personally talk with them about, and I think it’s important.

It’s something for somebody to talk about their missions, and you know when they stop at certain points when they talk about things… Our job is we’re making an entertaining shooter, and then you talk to people who actually did it – no no no, we’re not trying to remake their memories, we’re trying to make a game.

Like its direct predecessor, the latest Call of Duty likes environmental detail.

Like its direct predecessor, the latest Call of Duty is fond of environmental detail.

The Call of Duty series is known for these huge action moments, and they seem to get bigger each time round. Is there much pressure to exceed the previous iteration?

Lamia: The answer is we put a ton of pressure on ourselves, to create the game that we want to make, and the game we want to make is the most epic Call of Duty game we possibly can, so yeah, we will create sequences. It’s not necessarily in comparison to anything else since we’ve been in development with this for the last year and a half, long before the other games have come out.

10 Responses to “Call of Duty: Black Ops – The Ultimate Interview”

  1. Fif says:

    whats up with zombies modes man?

  2. Dont bet on a zombie mode

    See you online!


  3. Zommb1e says:

    All we fellow cod players wanna see is good map control by this I meen each weapon has it’s best use such as shotguns in building snipers outside. We want to have to move around the map in a smart manner and make guns harder to use so skill level is needed stop helping noobs and make your game more challengeing.

  4. ZomBie says:

    Umm Look On The Ipod App It Says Zombies Will Be Back

  5. nils99 says:

    they better have the nagant and tokarev and they better make it realistic because guns arent even and if the gun was made cheaply with bad material like the arisaka and the m4 it should jam brake what ever i hope they make it reallistic and a simulation not arcadey and they better have zobies

  6. nils99 says:

    zombies my bad

  7. Cod6 is about to be comming out the Nov 11th god I cant freaking wait for it to come out. Add me on XBL my id is Globalthreat

  8. Black Ops was a big let down with all the constant PS3 freezes due to rage quitters leaving and leaving me and my friends stuck in Host Migration..

    Why not let people host their games at will? Why not ban people who constantly disconnect from the game from hosting? Great game, but poor implentation…

  9. Ots says:

    Thanks for the article! That’s what I was looking for.


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