Treyarch’s studio design director David Vonderhaar discusses the storyline for Activision’s upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, describing it as twisted and unsettling.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is set to truly embrace its nature as a game about covert ops specialists. Although Treyarch is giving players the option of skipping to the last story mission as soon as they load up the game, that doesn’t mean the campaign isn’t worth the investment. Vonderhaar described the game’s story as something that isn’t hard to understand, but offers players the chance to experience a deep, dark narrative that looks to provide some unexpected twists and turns along the way.
“You’re a Black Ops operative. Your counterparts have gone off the grid in a world where you’re connected and wired all the time. There’s a huge leak of military intelligence and you’re sent to investigate that…along the way, we untangle a huge weavy story; a very deep, very dark, and sometimes really twisted narrative experience.”
Apart from the “screwed up mind-f***ery” that Vonderhaar promises, it appears that Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 will look to provide a deeper narrative than its predecessors without sacrificing realism. That’s unsurprising for a game that’s so dedicated to mirroring real life that it has a “Realistic” setting where players can die from a single bullet, and Vonderhaar elaborated on the kind of philosophy the development team has subscribed to in creating Black Ops 3:
“Plausible, feasible, and grounded in reality are actually our mantras, they’re really important parts of what we do…obviously, the DNI and neural interface stuff [is an example of this]. All the augmentation in the game, and that whole theme, is not unrealistic.”
Vonderhaar also pointed out that people have very different ideas about what 2065, the year Black Ops 3 is set in, might look like, and that the storyline is kept strongly tethered to the idea of believability. So even if gamers disagree with Treyarch’s interpretation of the future, they will at least find it feasible. Activision and Treyarch have already demonstrated their dedication to making their franchise seem real, sometimes to unfavorable criticism on social media outlets.
Publicity stunts aside, Black Ops 3‘s story is set in the same world as Black Ops 2, just 40 years later. Fans of the series can likely expect some references to or guest appearances from characters from the previous game, although last-gen gamers will be left out in the cold. Treyarch recently announced that Black Ops 3 would not have a campaign mode on last-gen consoles.
Call of Duty has a bit of an unfair reputation when it comes to modern storytelling. Although the series has featured some breath-taking moments of emotional insight in its past, gamers still largely believe the franchise’s worth is based almost entirely around its thriving multiplayer scene. With the promise of a twisted, deep narrative and an emphasis on realism, it appears Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is primed to take a run at creating another impactful story experience, one that, hopefully, doesn’t entice gamers to use their newfound ability to skip right to the end.
How do you feel about the narrative experience in Call of Duty? Is realism a key element in making a story memorable to you?
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 releases on November 6, 2015 for PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC.