Black Ops 2: Here’s What We Know So Far
* PC Specific features… Maybe, but maybe not.
There are a lot of people who will prefer to play Black Ops 2 on PC. We call those people “perfect Americans” or if you prefer, “awesome people”. Naturally, the PC gamer is a little more demanding than console players, owing to their superior intellect and the fact that they sunk a lot of money into their gaming rigs. So what are Treyarch’s plans for PC-specific features? Unfortunately, it’s looking like they’re not making PC gamers a priority.
Speaking to PC gamer, Treyarch’s Mark Lamia played coy, only hinting that they’re considering dedicated servers at this time. “We had [dedicated servers] with Black Ops, so the architecture exists,” he said. “But we haven’t yet announced exactly what that setup is going to be with Black Ops 2. The goal, for us, really, is to… We like the flexibility, just philosophically, of the dedicated server.”
He did hint that part of their consideration is concern about multiplayer cheating, and it’s heartening to hear they’re concerned about it. “One of the things I know that the team has been focused on for the PC is, in particular, anti-cheat mechanisms,” he said. “We know it’s a huge issue in PC gaming, for online gaming… Look—you want to do that stuff in a custom, private game, that’s your business, but if you’re playing out there in the world, in the community, we are going to try to make it fun for as many people as possible. So we have some proprietary schemes the team has been working on. I think that will be unique to this title, since it’s not off-the-shelf software. We’re working on that.”
It seems likely that devoted black hats will figure out a way to cheat regardless of how multiplayer is supported. If they don’t go with dedicated servers there are likely other reasons in play. Note that Call of Duty Elite still doesn’t work right on PC. Asked about that, Lamia said “[the question is] one that Activision has to answer for us. Right now it’s not a technical limitation on our engines… It’s more of an Elite question that’s going to be answered for people later.”
Related to this, Lamia was also coy about LAN, saying “Yeah, so we’ll talk about, like, what network architectures and stuff we’re going to give you a little bit later.” Hopefully, all of this doesn’t mean they’re quietly downgrading expectations PC gamers might have in advance of giving them the short shrift like last year. Presumably, more details will come, and you can bet we’ll be asking at E3.
* No beta
Not specific to PC, in the same interview with PC gamer, Lamia completely ruled out an open or closed beta, due to the quick turn-around time for these games. “The problem with a beta, in particular on our time frame, it’s just not practical,” he said. “We’re coming out this year, we’re not taking four years to make this game or three years to make this game.” So make a note, people: You are not allowed to point any of the game’s flaws out until after it is released.
* Activision is making it rain.
Finally, as you’d guess, given the mindbending success of Black Ops, Activision has allotted a huge amount of resources to Black Ops 2. Speaking to Venturebeat, Lamia said “There’s over 250 people at Treyarch, but there’s over 300 people working on the project.” Yes, that’s more people than actually work at Treyarch, signaling a huge commitment from Activision. Fear not guys: you’ll be making your money back.