Halo Reach isn't the only gigantic FPS releasing this year; Activision's latest Call of Duty money bomb, Black Ops is looming on the horizon, and we recently travelled to Los Angeles to see its impressive multiplayer mode unveiled for the first time.
In part two of our chat with Treyarch community man, Josh Olin (read part one here) we discuss changes and omissions made since Modern Warfare 2, how the community helped shape Black Ops and the final word on those multiplayer beta rumours.
Here's what he said...
You've clearly ADDED a lot to the series with this game, but is there anything that you've taken out?
Yes. We listened to the community so we know what they like and dislike. They're very vocal, they love to tell us what they hate and what they love.
One thing that was removed was the Commando and Commando Pro perk. Instead we replaced it with the ballistic knife, which you can either shoot with the right trigger or if you just knife with it you'll get that extra lunge. We understand there are still players that love to run around and be the knifing guy - there's actually someone with the tag 'Onlyuseknife' and that is all he does.
There are players who like that style so we needed to find a happy medium. You can use your standard knife and this will give you extra lunge action.
Were there any other features that the community demanded be removed?
There are other things, you'll notice in create a class there are no Deathstreaks.
Deathstreaks are out then?
That is correct.
Can you explain the thought process behind that?
To us it's not necessarily about rewarding people for dying. We looked at any sort of streak. Take killstreaks for example: we wanted it to be something that you controlled. All of our Killstreaks are much more interactive. Deathstreaks have no interaction.
The gunship is a fully controllable helicopter that you're flying around with the thumb-sticks, just like in the single-player mission Payback. Attack dogs not-so-much, they were really popular in World at War and we wanted to bring them back, they're a lot more powerful and can kill you in one bite - that's why they're an eleven kill streak reward.
To us the problem that death streak rewards tried to solve was the novice player and how they might feel overwhelmed. We have a new solution for that called combat training; that is going to help the players get to know the maps, weapons and load outs. I'd be remiss to remind you that combat training has completely separate progression than online, so anything you unlock in that cannot be brought over to online.
Is party chat back?
We're still working on that, we know it is a very controversial topic. Right now we're thinking it is going to be in every game mode except search and destroy, but we still have to figure out how that plays. There are definitely merits to having people in the lobby talking, it's just not as fun of a game if you get into a lobby and no one is conversing. Also it isn't as fun when you're in a lobby and there is some eleven year old screaming the entire time. We understand the pros and cons.
Can you talk about the contracts, the time-limited challenges and how those fit into the game?
These are dynamic. We can week by week, month by month or whenever we want rotate these out and introduce new contracts into the community and put new prices on them. We can remove contracts and rotate them out so players aren't getting the same contracts every time.