What makes Call of Duty: Black Ops II’s depiction of the future so terrifying? Certainly the fact that its writers envision the world’s technology infrastructure as vulnerable, a digital fortress with the gate wide open. Certainly the hypothesis of Moore’s Law, one of the first angles Black Ops II was marketed from, which suggests that our weaponry in 2025 will possess capabilities unfathomable even by today’s standards.
But what Black Ops II clearly, and frighteningly wants to convey, as evidenced in the latest trailer above showing us the face of its new villain, is that the threat – the individual or individuals with the power to ignite a movement and overthrow the world – can truly be anonymous.
That would explain Raul Menendez. The 60-year old superterrorist is the most wanted man in the world in Black Ops II, hacking into the unmanned weaponry of the United States and China and pitting the two nations against each other. He doesn’t appear as an imposing super soldier a la Modern Warfare’s Makarov – in fact, he looks almost as beleaguered as the geriatric Frank Woods when the two are shown meeting in “The Vault” – and yet he’s amassed a worldwide following by the millions without a single public picture.
Black Ops II’s story is being created by The Dark Knight Rises co-writer David S. Goyer, and so perhaps that’s why we see many similar elements from the film woven into the first-person shooter: widespread anarchy; fearsome weapons of war; and an antagonist who appeals to the plight of “the 99%,” but (possibly) is exploiting them for his own rise to power.
Coincidentally – and the trailer makes note of it – just as we’re learning more about the man composing the eventual downfall of advanced civilization, USA Today has also revealed the men composing the soundtrack for such high-action drama.
Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, who recently composed soundtracks for The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo and The Social Network (a film for which he won an Oscar), has been nabbed to create the Blacks Ops II theme song. Duties for the entire soundtrack will go to Mass Effect 1 and 2 composer Jack Wall.
A man who describes himself as an “avid gamer,” Reznor isn’t a stranger to the industry’s music circles; he also worked with id Software on Quake and Doom 3. After investing himself heavily in two recent film scores, however, the proposal of a theme song collaboration was timed perfectly:
“I started dipping my toe into film scoring. That led me to film-scoring agents and whatnot, and a variety of projects start to get thrown at you to check your level of interest. And quite a while ago I had heard, ‘Would you be interested in a big franchise video game?’ Being an avid gamer my whole life, I said, ‘Yeah, I would be interested in that.
“Coming off of doing two films in a row, I wasn’t looking to really dive into a super big project, so the idea of scoring the theme song for this came up and it sounded interesting to me so I pursued it.”
“There is a lot of reservation and angst and sense of loss and regret and anger bubbling under the surface,” Reznor says about Black Ops II’s characters, and so he didn’t fashion the score to sound “gung ho” or “patriotic”:
“It has to feel weighty. There is a lot of remorse and apprehension here. So choosing to arrange it a bit more with guitars and drums and aggressively sounding, that struck a tone with [Activision].”
Ranters, Call of Duty is (in)famous for its multiplayer; but does Black Ops II appear to be upping the ante for storytelling and “weighty” narrative themes? Is the addition of Trent Reznor and the composer of Mass Effect 1 and 2, Jack Wall, a sign that Activision/Treyarch is placing significance on more than just sales?
Call of Duty: Black Ops II releases November 13, 2012 for the PS3, PC, and Xbox 360.
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Source: USA Today