In fact, Black Ops started development a full year before Modern Warfare 2.
Treyarch executive, Mark Lamia spoke to CVG and had this to say:
"We started Black Ops a year before Modern Warfare 2 came out. So we didn't ask ourselves that question because they were making their game and we make our game. We're two totally different developments, two totally different creatives.What we did think was we're going to make a Call of Duty game and people expect another great experience.
We obviously had a lot of confidence that Infinity Ward would make a great game but that game hadn't come out yet so we couldn't draw anything from it and weren't going to.It was all about what we wanted to create and what that was is something new and fresh - give players some variety, give people a reason to come back to Call of Duty and get some new experiences."
Treyarch is showing a lot of confidence in their product and rightfully so, the game is impressive.
I'm looking at Black Ops as a separate experience all together from Modern Warfare 2 - which is what Lamia wants for any gamer interested in the title. The design philosophy, of giving gamers something fresh (yet still familiar) looks like a successful strategy. I can't wait to play it and I'm sure you can't either.