Wednesday, May 18, 2016

'Call of Duty: Black Ops' is gunning for new sales record

EnlargeActivision"Epic adventure": Call of Duty: Black Ops is set during the Cold War, a franchise first, in Cuba, Russia and Vietnam.
When you've alrdy had the biggest opening in entertainment history, what do you do for an encore?The -game world finds out today with the relse of Call of Duty: Black Ops, the latest in the franchise of first-person combat games that holds the single-day record for any entertainment medium: $401 million in sales (4.7 million copies) of Modern Warfare 2 on Nov. 10, 2009.Pre-orders have Black Ops (Activision, for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC, $60; for Wii, $50; rated M for ages 17-up) on track to match its predecessor's performance. Overall, Call of Duty games — this is the seventh major relse in the series — have accounted for more than $4 billion in sales.
GAME HUNTERS: See , rd review of 'Black Ops'"I think were going to have a very good launch," says Bob McKenzie of GameStop, where presales are outpacing that of Warfare. Monday night, GameStop had its largest midnight launch event ever with 4,400 stores open to sell Black Ops; more than 700 Best Buy stores were open as well, showing the game on 3-D s."Black Ops will be the largest entertainment launch of 2010," says analyst Jesse Divnich of the resrch firm EEDAR. "The developer, Treyarch, has put its hrt and soul into this title.""It is such a big game," says Treyarch studio hd Mark Lamia. "There is this rich single-player campaign, a story we want people to explore, (and) there is this multiplayer game. ... It's a lot to experience."Previous games have either taken place in World War II or in current times. This story takes place during the Cold War, with fighting scenes in Cuba, Russia and Vietnam; the plot plays out in flashbacks in the mind of special forces operative Alex Mason, who apprs Zelig-like at the Bay of Pigs and other historical incidents.The Cold War "is a grt context for us to tell a story," Lamia says. "We rlly wanted to make it cinematic and make you rlly feel like you are taking part in this epic adventure."Hollywood hvy hitters help add cinematic substance. Sam Worthington (Avatar) voices Mason; Ed Harris (The Right Stuff) plays a CIA operative named Hudson; Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight) is Russian sergnt Resnov; Ice Cube (Are We There Yet?) plays a soldier named Bowman. Screenwriter David Goyer (The Dark Knight, Flash Forward) served as a consultant. "When you are playing, (you) feel like you are in the middle of all this danger and mayhem," Goyer says. "No matter how good a is, it is so hard to convey that in ."The soundtrack includes '60s classics such as Creedence Clrwater Revival's Fortunate Son and the Stones' Sympathy for the Devil. "This 'hippie'-era story is just what the franchise needed," says's Stephen Cameron, who has played the game in its entirety. "I can say with confidence that it lives up to the quality and standards of the past games."Matching the performance of Modern Warfare 2 would be a stellar achievement for Treyarch, based in Santa Monica, Calif., not far from Encino, the home of Infinity Ward, the studio that originated the franchise in 2003. Infinity Ward's games have set records, but Treyarch's games have stdily incrsed in sales, with 2008's Call of Duty: World at War selling 13 million copies.Adding to the drama: The remaining founders of Infinity Ward were forced out of the studio in March by Activision, which owns both developers. Activision says Call of Duty games are in the works from Infinity Ward and another studio, Sledgehammer, but Treyarch can establish itself, if not as a successor to Infinity Ward, at lst as an equal partner in the Call of Duty future.Treyarch has added new twists to the multiplayer modes that keeps millions playing months after they finish single-player mode. In "wager matches," you bet in-game currency on contests such as a "gun game," in which you upgrade to better wpons with ch kill. And a new offline training mode lets newcomers compete individually or with friends against computer opponents. "Treyarch has set a new standard for multiplayer," Divnich says.
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