Ahead of the global drop for the hotly anticipated Season 3 of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
, which has high-impact updates added across all modes, sees massive movement in the games’ rolling narrative and counts down to a live community event of explosive proportions, we got to speak with some key people behind all of that fun.
Miles Leslie, Creative Specialist at Treyarch and Amos Hodge, Associate Creative Director at Raven Software joined us for a quick Q&A about the new content, challenges that come with Seasonal updates, keeping people interested, and what it means if you miss out.
AusGamers: Commitment to expansion of post-release support for Cold War is unprecedented against the usual annual release cadence of Call of Duty, how are you approaching this from a perspective of maintaining this player-base versus the likely shift to the next Call of Duty instalment later this year?
You know, it's funny because while we are “yearly” in the sense there will always
be a Call of Duty, we don't think about that because we just try to really engage the audience we have now that are engaging
with us through Cold War and Warzone.
"Our strategy has always been the same, but in uncharted territory between Warzone and the premium game is [where we] go wide, but make sure that it has high quality...”
We're really respectful of the fact that players have a lot of choices by the way -- when you talk about free-to-play in Warzone, and even premium games ... we want to give them the best bang for buck. And like you said, we are really trying to engage all types of players, Zombies, Multiplayer and Warzone. Our strategy has always been the same, but in uncharted territory between Warzone and the premium game is [where we] go wide, but make sure that it has high quality so that players feel like they're getting the best value from their time. That's the key. And they want to invest in the game. We're not worried about what happens at the end of the year. We're focused on now in that sense.
AusGamers: It’s great that a consistent narrative permeates the seasonal releases, is there any reason the story wasn’t continued solely in single-player Campaign as additional story beats? Or with the inclusion of single-player chapters as part of the overall update(s)?
Something we talked about was “what's the best way to continue telling the story?”.
For us continuing the narrative into multiplayer is brand new. And when I say multiplayer, I mean across Cold War and Warzone.
What was really interesting for us was our campaign really set up the world of Cold War and this really intriguing story with Perseus and everything that happened. And we wanted to use, again, Multiplayer and Warzone in really new ways to engage players in the story.
"We know not all players care about the story. We do know there's a lot of players that do care about the story, but if you're delivering really cool content and then there's also a narrative, you get the best of both worlds...”
That's why we wanted each of the seasons to have their own identity in terms of the Operators that are coming out, the narrative and the stories and how that content ties [into] that in really interesting ways. We know not all players care about the story. We do know there's a lot of players that do care about the story, but if you're delivering really cool content and then there's also a narrative, you get the best of both worlds and that's been really the driving factor across the post-ship seasons. How can you self-contain a season to deliver content wrapped in a really cool story? And then how do you loosely tie them together for the players that want to engage that?
So to us, it was a new way to tell stories and we're really excited to see that players are responding well to that and [we’ll] continue to do that and learn from that [so] we can carry on throughout the seasons.
AusGamers: What’s the concern for players who can’t commit wholly to the live and timed events? Obviously the idea is to create dynamic events that engage and draw in players, but one of the beautiful things about games of this nature is picking and choosing when you want to play, is there a system in place that still rewards the stragglers who’ve paid for the Call of Duty experience?
"We feel it's important to create a moment in time for the community to come together...”
We really want to create a community event where there's a moment in time where the community can come together and experience the same story, same narrative; be a part of the narrative, be active participants, be able to hit the button that sets off a nuclear device. Those are really cool moments, but it's a moment in time and we want everyone to come in and play it. But if they can't, we hope that they're able to view it online. We'll have people streaming it on Twitch. We'll have our YouTube videos up. So hopefully if they can’t experience it in-game they can view it online after the fact.
But we feel it's important to create a moment in time for the community to come together, experience something awesome together
. I think it's just going to bring the community together.
AusGamers: Is there anything that was on the S3 (or even S2 for that matter) ideation whiteboard that didn’t make it in, and has no chance of ever being given life as part of the game?
There are lists and lists of ideas that didn't make it in. There’s a mountain of them. You could go swimming in all of the ideas. But that's a well we always pull from, so if we would say something now it might give away a cool idea and ideas come from anywhere and they spur other ideas… that's really the key thing as well.
Good ideas don't disappear. They just get pushed to next season. And next season. Or go in the vault. It's not a problem of a lack of ideas that we have. It's just, we have limited resources, limited amounts of time like everybody has, and we can only execute on so many ideas, but we've got a wealth of knowledge.
"It definitely has that community feel to it and it makes the game better. It's not just one person's game and one person's view...”
One of the things I really love about Warzone is that it's multi-studio and multi-department. A lot of our best ideas come from animators and VFX artists. They're not all just designers coming up with ideas. We take ideas from everybody and it feels like everybody's game. Everybody gets together, everyone playtests together. They give their feedback and it feels like everyone's a part of the game and everyone's designing it together. So it definitely has that community feel to it and it makes the game better. It's not just one person's game and one person's view. Everyone's playing it, you're getting multiple perspectives. We have hardcore snipers who play and the casual guys who play and the guys in the middle. So you get everyone's perspective that way and it makes the game better.
Season 3 for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Warzone is available now on all platforms.