After months of whispers, the industry's worst kept secret is confirmed: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is coming in November. CVG was lucky enough to be one of the first websites in the world to go eyes-on with the reveal demo and, as you'll see below, Black Ops 2 definitely isn't what you think.
1. IT'S SET IN THE FUTURE
2025 to be exact: far enough in the future to bring newfangled equipment into play, but not too distant to weigh you down with 'pew pew' laser handguns, plasma rifles and death rays. Thirteen years is a long time in the world of technology - thirteen years ago there were giant super computers costing millions of dollars that wouldn't be able to hold a candle to the PS3, for instance - and in the time between 2012 and Black Ops 2's setting it's clear tech companies haven't eased up on their R&D budgets.
From a warfare point of view we're talking drones, primarily. No longer will humans be your only enemy: plodding and rolling assault drones with rifles/chainguns/rocket launchers strapped onto their sides are common foes, as are aerial mechs in the form of weaponised quadrotors. Luckily you'll have all of this equipment at your disposal too, along with limited command abilities courtesy of some timely d-pad pressing.
Weapons showcase a mix of the familiar and new. Rocket launchers haven't really progressed much beyond 'fire rocket at bad guy, rocket go boom, bad guy goes splat'. Why spoil a winning formula? On the other hand, certain rifles now have the ability to punch through cover with a railgun-like effect thanks to charged, multi-bullet shots, while grenades are quickly and effortlessly launched over huge distances thanks to sleek handcannons.
Examples of tech progression aren't limited to just the killing gear, either. As early as the mission select screen (although we were quickly whisked through it, we made out a command centre with a holographic 3D map in the middle) future tech is on show by way of glasses that display all the info you'd normally associate with an FPS HUD. This technology extends to vehicles too: looking ahead during an early on-rails van ride through Downtown Los Angeles gives us ample time to make out speedometer and fuel gauge displays in the corners of the windshield. Above the freeway, computerised displays point commuter traffic in the right direction.
But it's important to point out that developers Treyarch haven't gone overboard with holograms and virtual signage: regular lamppost street signs are still metal and paint, for instance. Black Ops 2's vision of the future hints at the worlds we've come to associate with the likes of Deus Ex and Syndicate without fully stepping into the realms of the fantastical. Strip away the collapsing skyscrapers, the jets on bombing runs and the drones mowing down anyone and everyone, and Black Ops 2 presents a credible prediction of what the cities of 2025 might look like.