The story of Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 began just a couple of weeks ago, when developer Treyarch and publisher Activision released a tantalizing teaser trailer announcing the game, as well as pointing towards April 26th for the official reveal.
Following the teaser trailer, a second teaser was released in the days leading to the world reveal on the 26th. Whereas the first teaser trailer more or less simply confirmed the existence of Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, this new trailer offered a glimpse into the story’s tone and setting, using live-action footage to paint a bleak, depressing picture of a future gone awry.
Before the official reveal came to pass, details on the game began to leak, as they’re apt to do in situations like these in the gaming industry. Information on the game’s campaign, multiplayer, and co-op zombie mode were all over the Internet just a day before the planned reveal.
Regardless of the leaks, Activision and Treyarch still released the first official gameplay trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 on April 26th. This explosive trailer revealed a Call of Duty game both familiar yet very different, to the point that it seems to be the biggest departure from the franchise’s core formula ever.
Now fresh, concrete details on what exactly Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is bringing to the table have been revealed as Activision and Treyarch have offered demos to the press, pulling back the curtain on what is sure to be one of the hottest games of 2015.
The first aspect of Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 that should be explained is the campaign. The campaign has often been a point of criticism from gamers in regards to the series, as most Call of Duty campaigns amount to little more than “follow me” simulators, shoving players down long, usually dull, hallways.
Black Ops 3 is ditching this formula entirely, replacing these long, linear segments with open, arena-style levels. This is a significant shift for the series and how the campaign plays, so to compensate, Treyarch has had to create brand new animation and AI systems.
Another major change comes with the game’s focus on co-op. Co-op in Call of Duty campaigns aren’t unheard of; in fact, Treyarch’s own Call of Duty: World at War featured online co-op. However, the option hasn’t returned until now, as Black Ops 3 will support 4-player online co-op. Those that appreciate couch co-op will be happy to know that the game will also allow 2-player split-screen through the campaign.
This new focus on co-op results in a number of other changes to the standard Call of Duty campaign formula. One such new addition that is particularly interesting is the Tactical Mode View. When playing co-op, the Tactical Mode View allows players to see the exact view that their co-op partners are witnessing, allowing for unprecedented coordination and strategy.
One of the major reasons that Treyarch has decided to make co-op such an integral part of the Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 campaign experience is to increase replayability. Replayability is also being achieved through the inclusion of 40 upgradeable special abilities, such as the ability to control nanoswarm robots, or the ability to detonate all nearby explosives at once.
These upgraded abilities can be taken back to previous levels of the campaign, which is yet another way that Treyarch is hopping to add replayability to the experience. Furthermore, those that want to play with their friends, but may not be quite as far along in the campaign, will still be able to jump into the later levels and play. Don’t worry about these players being underpowered, as it’s possible to share upgraded weapons and gear to friends.
Another way that Treyarch is hoping to inject more replayability into the campaign experience is through customization. For the first time in the history of the series, players will be able to choose whether they want to play through the campaign as male or female.
The customization in the campaign doesn’t stop there. A new social space called the Safe House will allow players to further tweak their campaign character and apply upgrades to them as well. The Safe House will be explorable, with a private bunk that can be decorated, and medals earned from playing the campaign that can be viewed. If Destiny is any indication, social areas can turn out to be fairly popular in shooters.
As for the actual plot of the campaign, new details beyond what was shared in the trailer are not readily available, though more on the campaign’s story will likely be revealed at E3. In the meantime, the game’s time period of 2065 has been confirmed, along with the fact that the branching story paths introduced in Black Ops 2 are not returning for the third game in the trilogy.