Call of Duty: Black Ops II is real, and at last MCV can discuss some of the juicier elements of the game.
Firstly, as we all know by now, the game adopts a Tom Clancy style near-future setting – 2025, to be exact.
This means very high-tech gadgetry based on real-world prototype military designs. The AI quadcopter drones have already been mentioned, but expect robotic claw-tanks too.
The past isn't forgotten completely, of course, with some levels and characters set in the 1980s, with Afghanistan confirmed as one of the historical locales – featuring a gun battle on horseback!
Perhaps the most interesting addition is that of branching storylines and open gameplay.
The Call of Duty series is renowned for its linear gameplay. Indeed, one could argue it is its strength. But Black Ops II takes a leaf out of the wider modern FPS textbook by offering more choice and variety.
At key points in the game player actions will dictate the direction in which the overall narrative follows, with success or failure at key moment (i.e. the success or failure of saving a key character) affecting the wider story arch.
In addition, some of the single player levels (called Strike Force) are built to an almost multiplayer spec, with players free to choose the order in which they approach directives. Enemies will spawn and react according to these decisions, meaning the level will never play out the same way twice.
Oh, and zombies are back too. This is Treyarch (amongst others), after all.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II will be released on November 13th.