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

But we do put a lot of pressure on ourselves to create epic experiences, I think the city is a good example of that, in the Slaughterhouse level – we had a milestone back in October where that level was good, it was really good, and it probably would have shipped in years past, we would have finished it off and shipped it. But it wasn’t quite the level of intensity that we wanted.

Aerial insertions: Halo popularised 'em, and they aren't going anywhere soon.

Aerial insertions: Halo popularised 'em, and they aren't going anywhere soon.

You only saw part of it, [the PR member] was playing the demo in god mode, she was blazing through it, but that level is – you’re sweating when you play that level. It’s white-knuckle the whole way through, and that intense battle stuff is coming at you…

Olin: You really crash through a window – [the demo] is just where it starts!

Lamia: Yeah! And we really want to ratchet up the intensity, we want to take it a new place, so I think to your point, Call of Duty really does create these experiences and that’s why people are so excited about it, about seeing what we’ll do next. For us, it is about raising the bar on everything we’ve done before, period. But it’s also about creating intense moments where we’re not dialing it up to 11.

It’s also intense periods where we’re going to bring you other forms of gameplay, just varieties of experience, the excitement. It’s all about keeping the player moving, and excited – what are they going to do around the next corner? Oh my god, this time when I’m rappelling down it’s actually gameplay, I’m actually doing it! Oh wait, this time when I’m rappelling I’m in the middle of a breach sequence! It’s mixing it up for the player.

The excitement of coming up to the SR71 and getting in the cockpit and hearing the radio chatter that’s really going on, and then being able to go up in it, commanding troops on the ground, it’s all about variety. And then you’re on the ground and it’s like, ‘wait, what’s my ammo? That’s a crossbow. And wait, there’s an alternative ammo configuration?’ So yeah, lot of different stuff.

Character models definitely pass muster.

Character models definitely pass muster.

What can you tell us about the multiplayer?

Lamia: Well what I can tell you is that there’s a huge effort at the studio behind it. As you may know, I’m not sure how familiar you are with World at War, but we supported that really heavily post-launch, both with content and technical updates and just really stay active with the community, really listen to what they had to say, and that was really good because while that was going on we were in pre-production on this multiplayer, with our dedicated multiplayer team, and we learned a lot about things that we wanted to do, that players were liking.

Are you leading on a specific platform, with multiplayer?

Lamia: No, just in general. So with that we learned a lot about what players liked and didn’t like – was it the creative they didn’t like, or was it the execution of the creative they didn’t like, that was imbalanced? Or whatever it was. And those served as excellent information sources for us in terms of what we wanted to do in this, but also I think we really put a focus on customisation for players – players like to play Call of Duty in certain maps in particular ways, so we’re going to give them particular tools to let them do that inside the game, without getting specific.

Besides bombing people in your SR71, you can order allied forces around.

Besides bombing people in your SR71, you can order allied forces around.

So we’re going deep on that, and we also know that players inside the game and outside the game want to have the tools to socialise about their Call of Duty experiences, and we’re going to put a great deal of investment into allowing players to do that, and again we’re not going into specifics. I can tell you that we’re taking it to lengths that we’ve never taken it.

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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