November is around the corner and as it happens every year, so is the next instalment of the mighty Call of Duty franchise. For those who are unfamiliar with the first person shooter, each Activision led installment alternates every year, between the Infinity Ward (now Sledgehammer) led Modern Warfare story arc and more gritty, Black Ops story arc headed by Treyarch.

The latest episode, Black Ops III, follows on from where Black Ops II left off. The campaign will feature a more complex narrative. Black Ops III will push the series forward in terms of storytelling, fiction, setting, and lore. Mark Lamia, Treyarch studio head, said in an interview with Polygon “We create a very rich fiction. We look at Black Ops II and say, ‘OK, these drone strikes in 2025 occurred. What happens next in the world?’,” said Lamia. “We have a detailed wiki-like thing in the game. You might remember. You could hack into the computer in Black Ops. It’s in your safe house. We have detailed out the world. We have a full history of where the EU goes. It’s our fiction, but it’s as we have projected it out, literally, in more detail than we’ve ever done.” Lamia added that bringing warfare back to the ground again is part of that because, in the game’s story, air defences have been perfected to the point that it nullified all drone attacks and brought the fight back to the ground. Only this time, soldiers are technologically-enhanced and are accompanied by robots. “We’re giving it to the player this time. This is stuff we usually do anyway, with our research,” Lamia said about allowing the players access to the game’s fiction.

The multiplayer is usually where the action tends to happen, but it is the campaign that still draws people to a game and Black Ops’ narratives have grown weak since the engaging World at War and first Black Ops instalment. There will, of course, be Zombies, which will feature two narratives upon release; Shadows of Evil will feature the voice and likeness talents of Jeff Goldblum, Heather Graham, Ron Perlman and Neal McDonagh and The Giant which will return to the Origins story from Black Ops II.

New features in the multiplayer are a new momentum-based movement system, which will utilise thruster packs to allow players to perform slow boosts into the air, as well as perform wall running and sliding, all the while giving players complete gun control, a kind of Mirror’s Edge meets Titanfall free-running experience. A new “Gunsmith” feature offers aesthetic variations in weapon attachments, allowing various weapon customisation combinations and the Paintshop feature will also allow players to create their own custom prints onto specific portions of a gun, further emphasising the depth of customisation in the game. The PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game will be fuller while a feature-limited edition of each game will be available for PS3 and Xbox 360.

There are multiple editions of the game available for preorder and with a release date of November 6, it comes a few weeks after the release of Halo 5 and before Star Wars Battlefront, it will be interesting to see if the sales and success match previous titles.

 – Ian Dunne, Correspondent (Tech)

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