At E3, I was treated to a behind closed door presentation of Call of Duty: Blacks Ops III. The preview expanded on the campaign demonstration seen at Sony’s press conference. With staple developers Treyarch again at the helm, the studio are taking advantage of the new three-year development cycle to keep the enduring series fresh and in line with fans ever-growing expectations.
The most publicised change to come from E3 is Call of Duty‘s alignment with the PlayStation brand. The shooter has been synonymous with Xbox for years. However, now PS4 owners shall be getting early access to downloadable contact and even the multiplayer beta later this year.
The other major announcement is, like many other games at E3 including Halo 5 Guardians and Ghost Recon, a renewed focus on cooperative play (of course, the game can still be players solo). Treyarch has built the campaign entirely with four-player co-op primarily in mind. Gamers shall be able to play the entire story with up to three people locally or online. The developers also hope this shall also encourage newer, inexperienced players to team with the more veteran Call of Duty community.
Call of Duty: Blacks Ops III further spurs the series into the future, with armoured walkers, drones, robots and more joining the battlefield. Players can assume the role of a male or female soldier that, conversely, has also received a technological upgrade. Unlike the Exosuits of Advanced Warfare, players have been augmented with a Cyber Core, which incorporates a number of upgradeable abilities into the normal shooting gameplay. According to the Black Ops III master of ceremonies, it isn’t just about guns any more, as “your mind is the most important weapon”.
Cyber core abilities including hacking into enemy robots or a delivering a temporary sensory overload to blind enemy human players. The suite of abilities can be used to approach battlefield scenarios differently, or changed to add greater replay value to the campaign. Our extended demonstration illustrated how four players were each using a different skill-set in the heat of a classic Call of Duty cinematic warzone. For instance, one character was sniping from afar while another was assuming control of enemy drones and turning them back on the opposing side.
The new cyber core do not simply come off as a new ‘hook’ in the way the Exosuit did. Treyarch demonstrated how it played a major role in gameplay over the course of the behind closed door presentation. The high number of upgrades on offer also differentiate Black Ops III to the one or two temporary abilities you could gain in Advanced Warfare. While I didn’t get the opportunity to try it firsthand, I look forward to seeing how the cyber core abilities further evolve Call of Duty‘s multiplayer gameplay.
In addition to the Blacks Ops III‘s multiplayer and campaign, Treyarch have stated that a fully flesh-out version of the fan favourite zombies mode will be again be included. Call of Duty: Blacks Ops 3 on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PC is scheduled to hit planet Earth everywhere on November 6.