Video game superpower ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops’ embraces its history and returns to Cold War in newest episode


    The video game Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War comes to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on Nov. 13, and on Xbox Series X and PS5 when they launch.

    The next Call of Duty video game returns to the setting of the original Black Ops, when Cold War intrigue dominated global relations.

    Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, out Nov. 13, will be available for Sony PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PCs on – and for PS5 and Xbox One X this upcoming holiday season when the systems are released. 

    The action takes place during the Cold War in 1981, which was “a year that saw two global superpowers locked in a nuclear arms race, conspiracies about presidential elections, illegal military operations on both sides, the paranoia of spies living next door, and looming over all of this was the fear and shadow of World War III, » said Dan Vondrak, creative developer at Raven Software.

    An image from the video game Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, out Nov. 13, for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on Version for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will be released in Holiday 2020 when the new consoles are available. (Photo: Activision)

    Raven worked on all previous Black Ops games and, for the new game, teamed up with another Activision-owned studio Treyarch, which has spearheaded the previous Black Ops releases.

    Black Ops Cold War is a direct sequel to the original Black Ops, which was set in the Sixties and included action in Cuba and the Vietnam War. This new story involves the search for a Soviet agent code-named Perseus, who has infiltrated the U.S. government and who is suspected to have stolen plans for the atomic bomb.

    Screenwriter David Goyer (« The Dark Knight »), who collaborated on the first Black Ops game, returned « to make sure we were crafting something that was going to be worthy of that sequel to Black Ops 1, » Vondrak said.

    Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, out Nov. 13, will be available for Sony PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PCs on – and for PS5 and Xbox One X this upcoming holiday season when the systems are released. (Photo: Activision)

    The fictional story is enhanced by the use of recently declassified U.S. government documents, says lead writer Murray Kraft. « When I was researching this game I was shocked that some of things I was learning actually happened. I’m sure some of our players will be. too. »

    Scenes in the game take place in Asia, Europe, North America and Latin America. A flashback mission also returns to the Vietnam War. « This is a pure Black Ops game, a geopolitical globe-trotting battle set in the early 1980s where players will come face to face with historical figures, » said Treyarch co-studio head Dan Bunting.

    Several characters from the previous games return in this new adventure: CIA operative Alex Mason, Master Sergeant Frank Woods and CIA agent Jason Hudson. Early sneak peaks of Black Ops Cold War show that clandestine team meeting with President Ronald Reagan and Secretary of State Alexander Haig.

    Some new twists await players. They will be able to create their own character and choose to play as a male, female or a gender-neutral protagonist, a character who’s identity is “classified” and will be referred to with pronouns such as « they » as opposed to « him » or « her. »Â A gender neutral character’s voice also won’t be heard in the game.

    You can also augment your character’s psychological profile in a way that will reflect how they react. For instance, you can describe your character as reliable, loyal or unstable with violent tendencies.

    Players can also unlock two optional side missions by uncovering various materials in the main story campaign. How you play the game can lead to different endings for the game, Vondrak says.

    « This was something that was really important to us to make sure the player could feel those earlier decisions mattered, » he said. « We didn’t want to go crazy and dilute it with too many endings, but we added enough where they can feel the impact on the world and feel some ownership over the game. »

    Players can go back later and replay the game and take different actions to see how the ending might change, the developers say.


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