| Call of Duty: Black Ops
| File:CoD Black Ops|
North American box art
| Developer(s) || Treyarch|
| Publisher(s) || Activision
| Designer(s) || Mark Lamia (studio head), David Vonderhaar (multiplayer design director)
| Writer(s) || David S. Goyer
| Series || Call of Duty
| Platform(s) || Main version: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii
Separate version: Nintendo DS
| Release date(s) || November 9, 2010
| Genre(s) || First-person shooter
| Mode(s) || Single-player, multiplayer, co-op
| Rating(s) ||
| Media || Blu-ray Disc, DVD-DL, Nintendo optical disc, Steam
Call of Duty: Black Ops is a first-person shooter video game developed by Treyarch, published by Activision and due for release on November 9, 2010 for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Nintendo DS (separate version developed by n-Space) consoles. Officially announced on April 30, 2010, the game is the seventh installment of the Call of Duty series and the third game in the series to be developed by Treyarch. It is a sequel to the developer's previous title in the series, Call of Duty: World at War. It is the first Call of Duty title set during the Cold War era.
Black Ops is a first-person shooter. The player assumes the role of a foot soldier and thus has access to various firearms, of which two at a time can be carried, as well as explosives such as grenades and other equipment to fight enemies. When players are close enough to an enemy, they can perform a melee attack which ensures a one-hit-kill.
A character can be positioned in one of the three stances: standing, crouching, or prone; each affecting the character's rate of movement, accuracy, and stealth. The player can directly dive prone from a standing position. The player can momentarily run faster before getting tired. When the character has taken damage, the screen glows red. Health regenerates by avoiding damage. When the character is within the blast radius of a live grenade, a marker indicates the direction of the grenade, helping the player to either flee or throw it back.
[[File:|left|thumb|Newly introduced crossbow.]]
The game features weapons like crossbows (with alternative explosive ammunition), Dragon's Breath rounds and ballistic knives. Brutality and gore are present, with a dismemberment feature.
The player assumes the role of various characters during the single-player campaign, changing perspectives throughout the story. The playable characters are special forces operatives conducting black operations behind enemy lines. In this way, the player's characters will have their own traits such as voices and shadows.
Each mission features a series of objectives that are displayed on the head up display, which marks the direction and distance towards and from such objectives. The player is accompanied by friendly troops who cannot be issued orders.
Although primarily a first-person shooter, the player will get to pilot a Hind helicopter and guide friendly troops from an SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft.
The campaign is filled with scripted cinematic moments. One of them is a bullet time effect during the "Victor Charlie" level, activated when the player fires toward the last enemy of a Viet Cong squad.
[[File:|thumb|A customized FAMAS.]]
The online multiplayer mode of Black Ops retains the experience points and unlockable reward system that has been kept since Call of Duty 4. The game's multiplayer focuses on socialization and customization. "Create-a-Class 2.0" will allow enhanced personalization with appearance items as well as upgradable perks: weapons will be extensively customizable with clan tag writing, emblems, attachments and camouflage painting. Even reticles can be modified. There will be more than one style for an attachment, which allows for a lot more personalized weaponry; for example, the player can choose between a Red Dot Sight or a Reflex Sight, both of which share the same traits only visually look different. Character models will depend on the first tier perk instead of the weapon's type. Furthermore, face paints can be unlocked.
A currency system has been implemented allowing players to buy weapons, accessories and clothes. Players can gamble with their "COD Points" in a free-for-all based playlist called "Wager Match", which is composed of four game modes. Time limited objectives known as "Contracts" can be purchased to gain more currency and experience points. New custom killstreak rewards include RC explosive cars, guided missiles and controllable attack helicopters. For the first time in the series, clips from online gameplay can be recorded. Players will be able to play alone or with friends against AI opponents in "Combat Training" with a separate progression system.
Some PC specific features that were taken away from Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare 2 will return, such as lean, mod tools, the developer console and dedicated servers. Dedicated servers will be exclusively provided by Game Servers. Steam will be the exclusive platform for Black Ops on PC, so the game will be protected by Valve Anti-Cheat.
The zombie mode of World at War will return as a four-player online and two-player split screen co-op mode. Limited editions of the game will offer four zombies maps from World at War.
Call of Duty: Black Ops takes place during the Cold War. The player mainly controls two characters: Alex Mason and Jason Hudson who are Studies and Observations Group operatives on missions behind enemy lines, in locations such as the Ural Mountains, Laos, Cuba, and Vietnam.
One of the characters from the Soviet campaign of World at War, Reznov (voiced by Gary Oldman), is returning. Ed Harris will play Hudson.
In May 2009, publisher Activision was rumored to be looking for licensing regarding Vietnam War-era music which led to speculation that Call of Duty 7 would be set in Vietnam. In May 2009, Treyarch employee David Kim revealed on his LinkedIn profile that he will work as a senior animator on Call of Duty 7. In November 2009, only a few days before Modern Warfare 2's release, Activision officially announced a new Call of Duty title for 2010 through their third quarter financial call. In February 2010, a casting call for Call of Duty 7 led to speculation that the game would be taking place during the Cold War era with some battles taking place in South Vietnam. On April 30, 2010, Black Ops was officially announced.
For Black Ops, Treyarch is focusing only on this game unlike past practice. However, it has different teams, each working on separate game modes. Treyarch is using a motion capture technology similar to the one used in James Cameron's film Avatar, which allows accurate facial expressions, capturing the whole performance of the actor. The studio also consulted special forces veterans from both belligerents of the Cold War: Major John Plaster (US Army-Ret.) who served in the MACV-SOG during the Vietnam War, and former Soviet special forces operative Sonny Puzikas. The latter taught Treyarch how Spetsnaz soldiers would react in combat, such as rolling out of the line of fire. Spetsnaz AIs in the game have been modeled after him, from his tactics and his movements to his face. Although having a historical background, the classified aspect of these Cold War black operations allowed the studio to create its own fictional story.
The game runs on an enhanced World at War engine (which itself was improved from Call of Duty 4's) at 60 frames per second on consoles. It features a streaming texture technology (also seen in Modern Warfare 2), making bigger levels possible such as "Payback" where the player controls a helicopter. Lighting effects have been improved as well.
Call of Duty: Black Ops will support 3-D imaging rendered by the engine itself. However, the required hardware for this feature will depend on the platform (except the Wii which does not support it).
Black Ops was first officially unveiled when the website for the game went live on April 30, 2010 prior to the release of its debut teaser trailer on GameTrailers TV Episode 310. In early April 2010, an unmarked envelope was sent to various gaming news publications as well as high profile Call of Duty fans via mail. It contained a USB flash drive with sound and text files. These files were codes to be decrypted, only to find a mysterious teaser site for an unknown game. Other codes were updated periodically. Much evidence proving that the site is related to Call of Duty: Black Ops and Treyarch were found as the codes were decrypted.
Similarly to Modern Warfare 2's marketing, the first full-length trailer of Black Ops was aired after the 3rd Quarter on ESPN during the NBA Eastern Conference Finals on May 18, 2010. During E3 2010, studio head Mark Lamia opened the Microsoft conference by playing Black Ops on stage. It was also announced that the timed Xbox 360 exclusivity for additional content of Call of Duty titles, which began with Modern Warfare 2, extends until 2012. A remixed version of the ESPN trailer with Eminem's "Won't Back Down" was released on June 14, prior to the E3 Activision conference for which he also performed. A multiplayer teaser trailer was released on August 9, 2010 revealing killstreaks, weapons, and other in-game multiplayer features. A full multiplayer reveal took place on on September 1, 2010, and revealed many multiplayer features from the game.
Chrysler will produce a limited-edition Call of Duty Jeep as the Wrangler will be featured in Black Ops.
In late September, viral site GKNOVA6 was updated revealing fuzzy footages of zombies.
On October 11, a single player trailer aired on ESPN during the New York Jets versus Minnesota Vikings NFL Monday Night Football game.
Like Modern Warfare 2, "Hardened" and "Prestige" limited editions will be available: the Hardened Edition will include a SteelBook case, a medal with its display case, four exclusive co-op levels and an Xbox Live or PlayStation Home avatar outfit. The Prestige Edition will offer, in addition to the Hardened Edition's content, a real RC-XD remote-control vehicle modeled after the in-game killstreak reward, which gives video and audio feedback to its controller.
In Japan, the game will be distributed by Square Enix. Two versions will be available: subtitled or dubbed, released respectively on November 18, 2010 and December 16, 2010. Both will have dismemberment censored. Gore will be censored as well in Germany in addition to the removal of The Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" and symbols considered "anti-constitutional" in the country.
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