Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Story Preview -- Back to the Future WarfareBy Eric Eckstein - Posted May 01, 2012
Yes folks, the Call of Duty rumors are true, and this Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 story preview will share the first details on the futuristic setting and narrative on Treyarch's. If you want more on how BO2 will play, check out our Black Ops 2 gameplay preview or our Black Ops 2 multiplayer preview for all the details.
Those Quadcopter videos (via that wild and crazy FPS Russian fella) were just a glimpse of the setting BO2 will offer, a future set primarily in a fictionalized, albeit painstakingly researched, 2025. The military employs a variety of future-tech weaponry, including optics that allow gun sights to see through walls and inside vehicles, electronic charges that control projectile grenades, and drones...lots and lots of drones.
Drone warfare and advanced robotics are a huge component of the fiction developer Treyarch has crafted, but not in a vacuum; they consulted with P.W. Singer, author of the New York Times bestseller, Wired for War, which explores the robotics revolution in the 21st century.
Aerial drones like the quadcopters will be common place for small squad warfare, while unmanned but piloted craft (as seen in the Black Ops 2 trailer) will launch strikes on bigger targets. In addition, expect to see four-legged land-based units with guns mounted to their backs. The future…it is terrifying.
Earth’s precious resource is no longer oil, but rare earth elements (REE). Before you think “science fiction,” studio head Mark Lamia is quick to share that these are “not minerals you harvest in StarCraft.” Instead, rare earth elements are real, used in smartphones and consumer electronics, renewable energy technology and, wait for it, critical military-based technology.
So the world wants REEs, but China controls 95 percent of the market, emerging as the next economic superpower and causing tension around the globe. An authentic future is incredibly important in keeping Black Ops 2 in the vein of historical fiction vs. sci-fi.
While the game will mostly revolve around the year 2025, Black Ops 2 is a time-spanning narrative that also has gamers playing in the past, flashing back to the second Cold War during the 1980s. The Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan, and the U.S. government was actively backing local insurgents, and the CIA was dealing with a Panamanian dictator/drug lord named Manuel Noriega that it had put into power.
It’s purely speculation that Noriega will be a plot point or ‘Fidel Castro-esque’ mission in Black Ops 2 , but it was mentioned in our briefing by Treyarch, and was a significant CIA milestone in the 80s. Further speculation would have you crossing paths with Osama Bin Laden at some point as well given his involvement in military operations in Afghanistan during this time period and don't even get us started on playable Ronald Reagan in zombie mode!
The story, crafted by game director Dave Anthony and The Dark Knight scribe David Goyer, is a direct sequel to BLOPS, and will once again feature Alex Mason, our ‘hero’ from Black Ops, as voiced by Sam Worthington. However, it’s his son, David, that will lead the majority of the 2025 narrative. Rather, Frank Woods, whom we last thought was dead at the hands of the Viet Cong, will be our bridge between the two time periods. Alex and Frank are characters born out of the first Cold War, with the audience still unsure whether or not Alex was truly compromised.
Equally important to bringing back fan favorites was the introduction of a memorable villain in which Anthony and Goyer are determined to paint a better picture of how a villain is created. Thanks to the time-switching narrative device, we will get real insight into the new bad guy, Raul Menendez, and why he wants to set nations against one another. Considering the success of Goyer’s Joker, as portrayed by Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, expectations are high on that front, though little else is known as yet.
Other than a scenario from our BO2 gameplay preview, where Menendez takes control of the U.S. drone fleet and sets it against the nation, the rest of the storyline is still classified. Treyarch wants fans to know that they’re not resting on their laurels, but that they’ve done their homework to really push the boundaries on what players expect from a Call of Duty narrative. From what we’ve seen, Black Ops 2 could be the most ambitious Call of Duty game ever.