How Three-Year Dev Cycle Helped Make ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 3’ Better

By | 1 year ago 

Over the years, Call of Duty went from the undisputed king of the first person shooters to one of the gaming community’s most divisive titles. On one hand, the game’s still a regular fixture at the top of the sales charts. At the same time, a growing number of players complain that Call of Duty’s gameplay is getting stale, as annual releases and the developers’ slavish dedication to an established formula keep the series from truly moving forward.

Call of Duty’s publisher, Activision, hears these complaints. Recently, the company moved the Call of Duty series from a two year to a three year development cycle (meaning that three studios will work on Call of Duty games in order to meet the franchise’s yearly release dates), in hopes that the extra time will allow its developers to “to envision and innovate for each title.”

The first title to emerge from this arrangement, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, shook up the Call of Duty formula by introducing movement altering exo-suits. This year’s entry, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, should be similarly innovative, at least if Treyarch studio head Mark Lamia has his way.

Call of Duty Black Ops Sniper Scope

In an interview with the Official PlayStation Magazine, Lamia said, “Without a three-year cycle, we wouldn’t have been able to take the kind of risks that we took on this game.” And while Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is, as the title indicates, the third entry in Call of Duty’s Black Ops subseries, Lamia argues that the new game won’t just be more of the same. Treyarch completely overhauled enemies’ artificial intelligence to “support the kind of engagements in an open-playspace like we have.” Environments will be significantly larger than they were in past Call of Duty games, and Treyarch’s designers were able to devote over a year and a half to refining the game’s maps.

More time doesn’t just mean newer features – it means deeper ones, too. Lamia says, “We wouldn’t have gone as… deep as we have in every single area of the game” without the extra development time, and the game’s underlying engine can support a greater “volume and density of activity and art,” thanks to technological improvements.

In short, the three year development cycle doesn’t mean that Call of Duty will just look better than ever – it should play differently, too, giving the franchise a much needed shot in the arm. While Call of Duty is still a juggernaut at the marketplace, year-on-year sales are dropping. If Activision has its way, the series will remain on top for at least a few more years; time will tell if the company can pull it off. After all, nothing lasts forever.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 comes out on November 6th for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

Source: Games Radar