Call of Duty: Black Ops II is dramatically changing the multiplayer formula in a big way, specifically with the new Pick 10 system over the traditional Create-a-Class feature. It's not a decision the team just decided overnight, however.
"It was really important for us to challenge our assumptions about all versions of Create-a-Class," game design director David Vonderhaar told us at a recent press event. The Create-a-Class system is such a huge part of the multiplayer experience that's been taken for granted after so many sequels. So it was important for the team to "look at the assumptions about how that system works and explore them."
So Treyarch went all the way back to the basics by making a board game. "We made several board games. In fact, we iterated on all the systems, create a class being one of them, with this kind of core philosophy designed paper level. This let us try various types of ideas, throw them out, play the game, and test it all before we wrote a single line of code, or made a single user-interface screen."
The team got to go wild with all sorts of possibilities, freeing them from the constraints they would have encountered otherwise. This approach showed them the issues that have been introduced into the Call of Duty system, taught them what was important as a team and as players, and where they want to go next. "I will never ever design videogames again without going through this process because it really taught us a lot," explained Vonderhaar.
There's a ton of new info on Black Ops II today. Check out our hands-on preview, and first look at the eSports features. Be sure to check back later today for some first-hand video looks at all this new content too.