While it may be months away, that hasn’t stopped the internet from going abuzz with news that two of the biggest video game titles to release this year, Call of Duty 2: Black Ops and Halo 4, will be releasing almost back to back in what will be possibly the most contested video game battle of the year.
According to Activision, the game developer behind the record breaking Call of Duty, the second instalment to the best selling Black Ops will releasing on November 13, a date sure to be pencilled on every gamer's calendar. But what is most particular about this release date is that it will follow the release of Microsoft’s Halo 4 by nearly a week, meaning that these two eagerly-awaited games will be going head to head for market supremacy.
Of course, both games have quite a reputation to live up to, as not only are they continuations of the respective franchises, but also follow up on record-breaking achievements that each title has made. The celebrated Halo franchise has sold more than 40 million copies since its release and Halo 4’s predecessor, Halo 3 was the biggest title of 2003. Of course, Call of Duty has its own laurels, the last Call of Duty, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 being the single most successful entertainment release in history.
The new Call of Duty title promises gamers new terrain as it transports players to the future, setting the story in 2025, where global conflict is sparked after the US army’s unmanned weapon systems (drones, robots etc) are taken over by a mysterious antagonist known as "The Enemy".
Activision's CEO of Publishing Eric Hirshberg spoke about the game, saying, "We are bringing disruptive innovation to the franchise and we are doing it on several fronts. We're pushing the boundaries technologically, graphically, and from a narrative and gameplay perspective,” adding that Black Ops 2 would be the "most ambitious Call of Duty ever," according to eurogamer.net.
But industry writers do aver that the game has a lot to live up to, highlighting the release date with IGN’s Daniel Krupa commenting, "The decision to move Black Ops forward in time is a response to market saturation - there is an abundance of military shooters around - and a way to reinvigorate the genre. But it isn't a strikingly original move. Ubisoft's long-running Ghost Recon series is also making a leap forward in time this year. Halo is a military shooter set in the distant future. Ultimately, the real future of the first-person shooter won't lie in the trenches of conflicts past or present, but in other settings with stronger narratives," according to a report on BBC.