Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Black Ops II: answering critics, ignoring competition

1:00 PM on 06.12.2012 // Jim Sterling

It could be fair to say that Call of Duty, as a franchise, has a large target painted on its back. There's been a very real backlash from the hardcore gamer community in recent months, as the series' popularity and installment frequency has led to a marked souring of opinions. Call of Duty is regarded, by some, as the epitome of everything that's wrong with modern gaming. 

From within the industry, would-be rivals are gunning for the shooter's position. For the past few years, Electronic Arts has attempted to snipe the crown from COD's head and position itself as the publisher of the dominant first-person shooter in the market. It's not been shy about its intention, and it's not been afraid to take any potshot it can at the competition. 

How does Treyarch feel about the detractors? Suffice it to say that studio boss Mark Lamia is not deaf to the outcry, but he has a positive view of the situation, and he remains confident that former fans of Call of Duty may come back to the fold with Black Ops II.

"First off, if you're making a Call of Duty game, you better have a lot of strength in your conviction," confessed Mark. "There are a lot of voices out there, I think it comes with the territory. I do try to listen to as much of it as I can, but you have to believe in what you're creating. 

"There are so many people that love this game, and there are its critics, and I do actually try to pay attention to the critics -- not because I'm necessarily going to do what they tell me, but because oftentimes it's symptomatic of something I might want to pay attention to. If somebody says, 'I don't play COD's campaign anymore,' I want to know why that is. It tells me at one point that they did, that they really enjoyed it. I try to glean what I can from the criticism.

"Sometimes it's really well articulated and sometimes it takes a little more [to try and understand], but everyone's got an opinion, and that's fine. It's art and it's entertainment. It's mature-rated, sixty dollar content, so it's not like it's easily gotten to. You have to opt in to get it, and if people don't want it, they can voice their opinions, and we know there's a lot of people that do."

For those yet to form their opinion, remaining on the fence, Lamia reiterated his belief that Black Ops II will provide the fresh take on the series that fans have been waiting for. 

"If you liked or like Call of Duty but are looking for a team to mix up the formula and bring new stuff, that's been very important to us, it's something we're trying to do with this game. If you are looking for a new fresh take on Call of Duty, that's what we're doing. We're doing it not just in the campaign -- we're doing it in the multiplayer, and Zombies has [always] been pretty different, but we're opening that up. We're adding new game modes, so there's going to be some versus modes, it's going to be a bigger world. We're going for that on pretty much every front.

"So for those guys who are critics of Call of Duty, I think they'll be pleasantly surprised by what we're putting on the table, and if you're a fan Call of Duty, it's great because there's enough of what you love here but there's going to be a lot of great new stuff that we're trying to push the franchise forward."

Before E3 kicked off, Electronic Arts began what seems to be a yearly tradition of comparing its games to Call of Duty in an attempt to stoke some rivalry. EA is positioning Medal of Honor: Warfighter as the "only" military first-person shooter worth getting this year, and while it is not Treyarch's policy to get involved in a fight, Lamia did touch upon the comparisons, adding that he doesn't really take much stock in the attempts to compare opposing titles. 

"Look, I don't think anyone's going to mistake our game for their game," he nonchalantly declared. "If you've seen the campaigns, we're doing something different. I'm making an entertainment experience, I think they're going for something different over there. Ours is a first-person shooter with military themes in it, and also a lot of other themes that we're spent a lot of time working on and developing, so it's a different game and I don't think anybody will confuse those two games when they come out, aside from some settings.

"Then there's our multiplayer. I don't think anybody will be confusing that either, and I don't think anybody's going to be mistaking Zombies with anything else. Now I play all those games, and just because something's a first-person shooter and might have a similar theme, are they really the same game? I think gamers know the difference. They provide different emotional experiences. That team's going for a different creative expression."

They say it's lonely at the top, and there's no denying that, for all its criticism, Call of Duty is still at the head of the pile. Lonely, perhaps, but quite confident that it still has what it takes. I'm eager to see whether Black Ops II can truly revitalize the series the way Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare did when the first-person shooter genre was in a real lull. I hope it does, because a good game is always nice, no matter what franchise name may be attached.

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure JimSterling Tips
Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Call of Duty: Black Ops II

  Jul 11

Vengeance comes to Black Ops II on PS3 and PC next month

Four multiplayer maps plus another zombies level

  Jun 26

Black Ops II kicks off another Double XP weekend

Treyarch is celebrating the impending release of the Vengeance DLC pack

  Jun 18

Black Ops II nails down July release for Vengeance DLC

Third DLC pack out first on Xbox 360 next month

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

Emily Wants To Play has come to mobile (and I wish it would go away again)

Six Reasons Why YOU Should Buy Soul Sacrifice Delta For $8!

Mega Man X Drinking Game: The Super Smashed Bros

Video Gaming Bits -- Rampage: Total Destruction

Roses are black, PS4 lights are blue; This is a game, and it has valkyries too?

Cblogs of 02/10/16 and WONDER-isms

Modern face of survival horror

Discussion Discussion on Games

PStoid Episode 38: Doomed from the Box Art

Cblogs of 2/9/16 - Only Slightly Late Edition

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

TheKodu avatarTheKodu
So I'm hearing the UN called Japan in to discus "Banning the sale of video games or cartoons involving sexual violence against women " Which by Anita's standards = any Violence able to be done. Japan sent a 40 page long NO back to the UN in reply.
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Why did I have to read that Austin Grossman was going to be one of the writers on a cancelled Half-Life 2 episode?
Parismio avatarParismio
Dammit its 3 and i cant stop reading cute gay romance mangas.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Going to be honest; I love out-of-context anime screenshots. They're... kind of incredible.
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Retweet of the year goes to President of Worldwide Studios, Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc., Shuhei Yoshida.
Voodoome avatarVoodoome
Just got home from Deadpool and ... it's not good. I liked the jabs at Green Lantern and the previous movie Deadpool, but that was about it. The rest was just painfully forced dick jokes. Wife fell asleep.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
Larxinostic rule34
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Looks like I'm not gonna be able to 100% Tearaway Unfolded until Monday at the least. I'm definitely writing about it this weekend and am trying my hardest to get my screenshots off of my PS4 (especially hard as I don't do social media anymore)
Darth Wachen avatarDarth Wachen
I've never done a blog before, so I may as well try one with a review of Stranger of Sword City....well, when I get entered into that contest of course
ikiryou avatarikiryou
Shakedown Hawaii is giving me good GTA vibes. I missed the topdown GTA games when they were a thing. I have to decide what platform to get it for since it's coming to 3DS/Vita/PS4/PC (probably the Vita version for moi).
TheBlondeBass avatarTheBlondeBass
You think your art sucks? Here's the rule34 I made of Larx yesterday. Look at it and despair.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Hey Dreamweaver? If you think your art sucks, you should have a look at my magnum opus. It's of Cloud from the popular game, Final Fantasy: All the Bravest.
Agent9 avatarAgent9
I never thought this would happen, but here I am. all of my 700+ pokemon gone in one day. My cart stopped working and there's nothing I can do. I quit, you can't just rebuild all that. Time to find something else.
taterchimp avatartaterchimp
Tom Collins is a pretty great drink, and well suited for poutine. consumption
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
It may be because I've been drinking but... We need some dung beetles from ark for the front page. Move that dung on out.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Does anyone know how to get PS4 screenshots onto a PC without needing a flash drive? I don't have a spare.
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
This is an example of how bad my drawings are. I honestly think drawing stick figures would've been easier on the eyes. :( The worst thing about this image is that this was made after I got BETTER. Trust me, you don't want to see my earlier stuff. T^T
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
So I received a mysterious box in the mail today. When I opened it I was blown away...The friends I've made here on Destructoid are amazing (More pics in the comments).
Parismio avatarParismio
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
Woe is me. This month's Cblog theme is basically an excuse to draw pretty girls, and here I am with no time.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -