That is a pretty core feature and is broken up into three categories; kill-based, Killstreak and then specialist. They will cost COD points but are an investment so you'll get COD points back. For example it could cost you 50 COD points and last for an hour and twenty minutes in game and you have to steal an enemy crate. If you don't accomplish it within the time limit you'll lost your invested points, if you do you may get 250 back. Some will give XP as well as COD points.
The contracts are another way to expedite your route, pick your own path and play how you want to play it. It's also yet another way to spend the new form of currency in the game.
Are there any features or surprises left to be shown?
This is pretty much it. There are still some other little things that we haven't talked about yet but will at a later date, but this is pretty much the whole caboodle.
As far as substantial features this is it?
Yes, this is what we've been working on for the past two years.
Are there any big control differences?
There are some key differences to the controls now; we made changes to the way you can configure the controls. You can pick how you want the sticks and buttons to be laid out separately. There's a button layout called 'Charlie' which is for handicapped gamers, that is something to make the game more accessible.
Once you're in the game, there's a new core mechanic called 'dive to prone'. While you're sprinting if you hold down B you're going to take a dive. It's a great defensive manoeuvre to get out of fire and get to cover. People were concerned when they saw this in single player, they were concerned it was going to create an opportunity for dolphin diving or increased drop-shotting. People who drop-shot still go prone; we have a designer who is a serious drop-shotter, he is the most frustrating player to go up against. He never dives to prone because it doesn't help him, there's a slight bit of recoil when you dive to prone where you can't shoot - there's a half a second delay, kind of like when you're switching weapons. In the middle of a gunfight you really wouldn't switch weapons, so you really wouldn't dive to prone as an offensive attack manoeuvre.
How many maps will Black Ops launch with?
We're not 100% sure, we're still working on things, things always get cut so we wouldn't want to commit to anything and then have it cut and get all the hate from the forums.
There will be plenty of maps, a wide variety featuring snow, jungle urban - all the different types a player would want.
Any tiny free-for-all maps, remakes or homage maps?
There aren't any remakes, every level is a brand new level for Black Ops. There are different sizes; small maps and big maps. It's all part of the variety we want to prove.
In wager matches, because they're 6v6 free-for-all, any of the maps you're playing on get cut down into smaller sized versions - we block off paths to keep the gameplay tight and make sure you're not running around for 20 minutes looking for something to do.
A core focus of the MP team is to make sure the combat distances and battle spaces are all very fast and well balanced. That plays out well for single-player as well, whether you're fighting AI or other players. The single player team obviously saw value in using some of the multiplayer battle spaces.
Your games are clearly deeply shaped by the community. Are there any features in Black Ops that you're nervous about, in terms of how fans will react to them?
Everything is a risk, but nothing that we're too worried about.