Treyarch: Answering the Call of Duty

Greg Adler


What would it be like, to make $500 million in 24 hours? The video game developer, Treyarch, and parent company, Activision, will never have to wonder; because that is the record they set during the launch of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 on November 13, 2012.

With the respective studios financial forecasting departments anticipating hitting the $1 billion mark by the end of the year, a question must be asked: Is the game really that good? The fact of the matter is that there are three types of studios: studios that develop for the money, studios that develop for themselves as artists, and studios that develop for the fans. Somehow they were able to be all three.

The game continues to have such a high level of success based on the theme of three; the game contains three different modes for every style. The campaign mode provides a rich and well-woven story of courage and badass-ery that takes places in several different countries and time periods.

Multiplayer mode provides the over-the-top adrenaline rush that a majority of the franchise’s fans go hardcore for. And of course the game also packs enough intense “down to your last bullet and you don’t know where to go” Zombie madness that gamers might just become zombie-fied in front of their screens.

With several enhancements across the board, it is evident that the developers took a step back from the success of the first game and paid much needed attention to what that community was asking for. A Treyarch game developer explained that one of the biggest complaints of any multiplayer game is “spawn campers” (players who wait by the opposition’s starting point and prevent them from getting back into the action).

Treyarch’s response to this tainting issue was to constantly scan the lobby to see where players were dying on the map in order to change the spawn points. If it appears even slightly evident that a player is “camping,” that game lobby will make it a point to shift those spawns elsewhere. This is highly beneficial to less experienced players who are trying to get the overall feel of the multiplayer mode.

Another great feature of the game in both campaign and multiplayer mode is the players’ ability to tailor their loadouts to their particular playing style. Black Ops II gives players the ability to make sacrifices to certain areas in order to assist in others. Not big on grenades? Ditch them and add two additional attachments to the primary weapon. Constantly the last man standing and need an extra tool to get the job done? Players can simply unlock and add the “secondary gunfighter” wildcard and add a second primary weapon to their arsenal.

Treyarch also took into consideration that not every player is driven by kill to death ratio, and some players are more in tune with accomplishing objectives or taking the occasional enemy aircraft out of the sky. With this in mind, Treyarch retired the “killstreak” system and implemented a “scorestreak” system in its wake. Again, this adjustment is highly beneficial to less experienced players, thus providing them a potential edge to become better players as well as a more apparent threat to the competition.

Zombie mode is nothing to groan and walk lazily towards either. Treyarch added a new aspect to zombie mode by making it competitive as well as team based. By taking a brainless mode and giving it some serious thought and strategy they have made the game mode more enticing for those who are not familiar.

Playing as either the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) pits players against each other in a new and dynamic way. Running out of ammo might mean running to cover and hoping the zombies have a taste for your competitor’s brains instead of yours.

Having the previous title from developer Infinityward introduce a paid statistics tracking service called “Elite”. Treyarch has also taken a positive step back (hopefully in synch with Activision) in order to offer “Elite” membership to all who enjoy COD: Blops II for free. Overall COD: Blops II is a great value jamming three different modes into one game and guaranteeing players will be back for more. And with all of the advancements in the game and clear acknowledgement of the community that embraces COD, it is overly apparent that Treyarch has answered the Call of Duty.