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

We started a little bit with World at War, doing some different things in terms of both in-game and the statistics that we keep, and the way we keep players together, the kind of filters, things like that, but just taking it to an entirely different place in terms of allowing people to create and engage and participate in communities that is directly relevant to the gameplay, in really interesting ways.

Wrecked tenements are a genre staple.

Wrecked tenements are a genre staple.

Also, I think lots has gone into our map development, we really iterate on these maps – I can tell you that all the maps that we are making get iterated on literally every day, the guys have play sessions every day, they have a little microcosm of the gaming community where they bitch about things they don’t like.

Olin: All the new maps we make are unique to MP, they’re 100% for multiplayer, there’s nothing reproduced from single player. The MP guys actually, they love to talk to us… Some of the MP content made it into single player – it was online so early in the MP design cycle, that it came over to single player. The crossbow’s an example of that…

Lamia: Yeah, that was initially created inside the multiplayer context, some of the environments… Often times what we’ve done is we’ve created a single player environment and we’ve modified it for multiplayer, but a lot of it’s been the other way round. The Slaughterhouse city level was initially created inside of multiplayer. It’s different in the single player experience, but the point is it started there. So we’ve been so aggressive about multiplayer, we know how big a deal it is, so hopefully you guys can come to our multiplayer event when we do it…

Playable? Your guess is as good as ours.

Playable? Your guess is as good as ours.

Olin: The other focus in multiplayer as well besides the social stuff is the customisation. We know that players want to play the game the way they want to play it, they want to make it their own, so we’re going to give them those tools. I think the genre as a whole has sort of moved that way. One specific example we can hint at is the ‘creating a class’ feature, there’s a lot of stuff to fiddle with there but that’s just one area where we’re talking about personalisation.

Lamia: One thing people have asked and we’ve told them about is there will be some vehicle gameplay, but not in the way we had it in World at War. It’ll be different.

Parts of the game seem to take place in the 1980s…

Lamia: How’s that?

The weaponry in one of the levels you showed seemed to date from the 80s – am I wrong about that?

Lamia: Our game does not extend into that era. Whether or not these people had access to weaponry before the masses had access to them – that’s a different question.

So you’re not going into the 1980s?

Lamia: No.

The Black Ops campaign will take you all over the Earth. And under it.

The Black Ops campaign will take you all over the Earth. And under it.

Given the breadth of the Black Ops premise, the range of ideas at your disposal, have you had difficulty bringing the whole project together?

Lamia: We did try to streamline ideas, so yeah. We’re not doing World War II, guys, so what do you want to make? And by the way we’re doing black ops, and we have all these different missions, all these different locations, so what kind of gameplay do you want to create? Anything from high altitude jumping to – what do you want to do? So yeah, making those decisions is difficult but it’s also fun, I don’t know how else to say 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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