That’s right, this year brings us to the ninth entry in the venerable console franchise. It’s not scheduled to be announced until tonight (around 8:pm EST during the NBA playoffs on TNT), but a leak has confirmed that it’s Black Ops 2.
UPDATE: Trailer has been embedded. The game’s release date has also been announced, via the trailer, as November 13, 2012.
Activision accidentally let the cat out of the bag earlier today via an update to the UK Call of Duty website. Oopsie. (The site is unavailable at the time of this writing.) But the damage is done, and those who saw the website before it was yanked also got a peek at the world premiere trailer. And this ain’t your daddy’s Black Ops. Instead of the 70s, this one is set in “the near future.”
Not much else is known about the game yet — not even a release date, though conventional wisdom points to November — but rest assured I’ll embed that trailer on this page just as soon as it becomes available. So how will a modern Call of Duty work that isn’t named Modern Warfare? How will developer Treyarch (who created the first Black Ops two years ago) bring the Cold War covert ops of their last game into “the near future”? How far into the future is “the near future,” anyway?
Call of Duty: Black Ops is still the reigning franchise champion, outselling even last year’s Modern Warfare 3, which was made by Call of Duty creators Infinity Ward. So it’s not surprising in the least that Activision would green-light a direct sequel. But the time frame setting is quite a twist. Pundits have been speculating that the next move from Infinity Ward, following the Modern Warfare trilogy, would be to move on to a Future Warfare game. (Can you imagine a futuristic Call of Duty in a scifi setting? The mind boggles.) But it looks like Treyarch may have just changed all that.
I suppose we’ll see what Infinity Ward’s next entry will be sometime next year, since the two studios have established a longstanding pattern of leap-frogging over each other, releasing new CoD games in alternating years. But then, there’s also Sledgehammer Games, which was added to the mix a while back. Industry rumors have suggested that Sledgehammer might be making an original CoD game of their own, which could put them on track for next year, pushing Infinity Ward’s next entry out by two years.