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

How Treyarch created a realistic premise in Black Ops II

1:00 PM on 11.19.2012 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
  @CTZ

Rare earth elements are the new oil

Up until now, Treyarch had history to play with in crafting their stories. History is given an entertainment spin to fit their needs, sure, but a lot of what you see and do in their games are grounded in reality, to some extent. Black Ops II, however, is a first for the studio as it's a tale of the unknown future intertwined with the past. Dave Anthony, Head of Story at Treyarch, still wanted to present a realistic story, so he used a resource that governments all around the world use to craft the game's 2025 setting.

"The thing that was most important for me working on this thing is that I wanted it to feel real," David told me. "I didn’t want it to feel like it was Star Wars or something. Star Wars is a great movie, but it has a certain feel to it. It’s all shiny and laser beams everywhere, and it’s very very far in the future. I didn’t want it to feel like that. I wanted it to feel grounded, gritty, and authentic like it could actually be an extension to what could happen to today’s world. We take the real world, and we either present stories which happened in the real world that you weren't aware of or we extrapolate the real world outwards. And then present what we think that looks like.

"The first place we started was I worked with a consultant called Peter Singer. He’s an amazing guy, a Senior fellow at the Brookings Institute in Washington. That is essentially a think tank for the US Government. In a weird way, it’s funny when you think about it in these terms, it’ll sound a little bizarre, but it’s actually true -- the Government kind of has the same problem as I do, or I did when I started making this game. The Government needs to know what’s going to happen to the world in the next 10-15 years. Because that’s how they’re planning what’s going to happen to the country. That’s how they plan military budget, and defense strategies, and those kinds of things. So who do they go to when figuring out what to do? They don’t know themselves, they actually use consultants."

"The person they go to, is actually Peter at Brookings," David continued. "He meets with world leaders all the time -- literally meets with world leaders. That’s benefit number one with Peter. The second thing is that before we even started working on this game, he’s an author and he wrote this book called Wired for War -- which is just awesome, you should read it, it’s an easy read based around what’s technology going to look like in the next 10-15 years, weapons, robotics, all that kind of stuff. So he’s an expert in that. He’s also an expert in geopolitics. What’s happening politically with the world right now, where is the world trending in the next 10-15 years. So we get the benefit of the technology with him: weapons and vehicles, and that sort of thing. Plus he can actually describe to us what our world is going to look like in 15 years -- what is the conflict going to be over?

"This is one of the first places we started because look at conflict today, it’s all kind of about oil. You look at a country like Iran, which controls about 10% of the oil, and look at what a problem that is, controlling 10%. Right now there are these things called rare earth elements -- any sort of new technology has rare earth elements in it. Not just consumer goods. It’s things like military technology, drones, robotics, things that kill people -- it’s all built from rare earth elements. So right now you’ve got Iran controlling 10% of the oil, and what a problem that is -- as of today, China controls over 95% of the rare earth elements.

"In fact, the funny thing was, in March of this year, President Obama gave a live telecast saying how he’s filing a case with the World Trade Organization against China -- live on CNN, because they are monopolizing rare earth elements. So we’d actually started working on this a year before that. We’re into the story and excited about it, and I’m watching this thing on CNN and I’m just like …'What the fuck is going on?!' It’s all unfolding around us, while we’re writing this story that’s based in this conflict around rare earth elements between America and China."

David wouldn't be surprised if the Obama administration had consulted Peter directly about this issue. "That’s how this game I think is rooted in authenticity. The best way to do it is to get someone who lives it. And that’s what we did with Peter."

Check back tomorrow for an in-depth interview with David on how the story of Black Ops II was created.






 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 *.disqus.com 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!


Conquest of Elysium 4 - Review

The PlayStation Vita: Twice as Bright

Video Gaming Bits -- Magical Date: Doki Doki Kokuhaku Daisakusen

Cheat Codes Ep. 83: Shut Up

Comments of the Week - Love Love Love

Sonic Generations Mod Retrospective 2 - COLORS

The meaning of The Witness (Part 2 of 3)

Venture into the Borderlands - Epilogue

Pokémon X Review - Fairy Enough

Kitten Bowl x Puppy Bowl Stream Starts NOW!

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Gore Magala set complete! That only took like 15 or 16 tries!
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
AT LAST, THE FOUL SEEDS OF RAGE BORN FROM THE WITHERED PLANT OF LOVE BREAK THROUGH THE EARTHS CRUST TO GIVE RISE TO A HARVEST OF RAGE. A NEW BLOG WILL BE THE GRAIN AND THE BREAD, TO FEED THE GNAWING HUNGER OF HATRED ALL VITA LOVERS HARBOR.
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
I'm glad that the Amiibo stock situation got much better. Because Hasbro sure as hell didn't get the memo with their Marvel Legends figures. These two seem more elusive than a western Lucina Amiibo!
taterchimp avatartaterchimp
Yay, finally beat the Necrodancer!
Jinx 01 avatarJinx 01
The next time you're getting riled up about game news, politics, drama, etc. just step back and be like The Dude.
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
So #TeamCap or #TeamIronMan ?
Gundy avatarGundy
*Neps Internally*
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Seeing as how SMT is nowhere near as massively popular as Pokemon, this probably won't become a thing. Still, I'm curious about whoever's favorite demon/persona. Mine's probably Trumpeter! Without 'em, I would've never aced P4G on Very Hard.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Playing Tearaway Unfolded without glasses on makes it looks even prettier, gives it a glossy papercraft or almost dreamlike feel to it.
Parismio avatarParismio
eating cold pizza RN. i would warm it up but eeeeeeeeeehhhhh.
Kieronpowell14 avatarKieronpowell14
Just some Marvel stuff
EAPidgeon avatarEAPidgeon
Have a good one everyone. May you enjoy bountiful carbs and fats this Super Bowl Day.
Heat avatarHeat
someone asked me what i am going to do on my vacations... "playing like 6 hours of XCOM 2 daily, then some Diablo 3. Later, Darkest Dungeon and some beers, and to end the night, i'll watch some anime and eat instant noodles" "Perfect"
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
I've beaten the Gaping Dragon and finally got the key to Blight town, whats the first thing I immediately did when I got there? Fall right into a endless pit and died.
Bardley avatarBardley
I scanned some pages from issues of Nintendo Power from the early 90's and saw this back cover ad. I thought it would be appropriate to post today. Who's everyone rooting for tonight?
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Came home pissed off for some reason, hopped on Rocket League and played the best games of my life. New tactic!
ScionVyse avatarScionVyse
10 hours into the Witness, I've solved 350 puzzles, and activated 8 lasers. So, that's about 35 puzzles an hour, I think that's a pretty good pace. I have no idea how many more puzzles there are, but I think I'll be getting towards the first ending soon.
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
Shoot, I have made the awful mistake of watching 50 First Dates while doing Comments of the Week. The comedy in the beginning gave me energy, but all of the sad drama is making me cry and it's hard to see through all the tears. WHY YOU DO THIS TO ME!? 8^8
Zatsune avatarZatsune
I'm eating EDO's rn. Leftovers. Yum. 🍱🍣🍜🍲
ikiryou avatarikiryou
Kotobukiya's making a Xenoblade Chronicles X Formula skell model that looks great but I'd rather have a Lailah model. And I would name it Tharja just like my Lailah in the game.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

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 -