Breaking Down the Black Ops II Multiplayer Reveal

Earlier today, Activision unveiled the first gameplay trailer of Call of Duty: Black Ops II‘s multiplayer mode. It gives a lot of hints as to what we can expect when the game hits retail shelves in November. I’ve always been curious about the little details the guys at Activision include with these types of trailers, even going so far as to analyze every frame of the multiplayer reveals of the previous two Call of Duty titles. So, here I am with a frame-by-frame breakdown of the first glimpse of Treyarch’s multiplayer in Call of Duty: Black Ops II.

All information provided here is speculation on my part, and as the coming weeks and months arrive much of what I say may be changed by the development team or proven false. All images are taken of the trailer provided by GameTrailers. (EDIT: Updated images from a 60fps video for better quality. You can find that video here.) Click on any image to see the full size version.

The first scene of the trailer, taking place on the “Turbine” map, doesn’t show us a lot of action, but does provide us with a lot of details we can use to assess the rest of the video. For instance, it looks like Treyarch has mimicked the multiplater reveal trailer of Modern Warfare 3 by showcasing the loadout of the player we’re following. The loadout image you see on the right shows us the player’s primary and secondary weapons, as well as all perks chosen, lethel and tactical equipment, and three spaces along the bottom for… Well, I’m not sure exactly. Throughout the trailer those boxes contain images of various soldiers, but I haven’t been able to discern their significance.

There are, however, a few things we can be certain of. The weapon the player currently has equipped is the M8A1. This could possibly be a future variant of the M4A1. It is seen with the “Select Fire” attachment which can be changed by pressing right on the directional pad, as evidenced under the ammo counter, just as one would to use an underbarrel attachment. The weapon’s current rate of fire can be seen next to it’s name, even if the current weapon is not able to change this function. The player’s secondary weapon is an unknown pistol with a tactical knife. What’s interesting with these weapons is it appears the primary weapon can equip three attachments and the secondary can equip two, though no weapon in the trailer is shown utilizing this (other than the Ballista, which is a unique case, and I’ll get to that later). There are also three perks equipped, but Treyarch as changed the style of their icons enough, so I can’t tell you what they are.

Also equipped is a Semtex grenade and two Shock Charges. They appear to behave similarly to the EMP grenades from Modern Warfare 3, slightly incapacitating enemies within it’s blast radius, possibly affecting the electronics on their guns. They have a blade on one end, allowing them to stick into the ground, and possibly enemies.

The second scene of the trailer takes place in an unknown map that appears to be some sort of dock or shipping yard. A magnetic crane can be seen in the center moving shipping containers around as the players engage in battle.

The player has equipped the PDW-57 with an MMS attachment and what could potentially be some sort of stock, though in later scenes the gun doesn’t appear to have one attached. There’s also a pistol sidearm, only two perks, Semtex, and what appears to be a flashbang. We also get to see the image of someone in one of the three lower loadout boxes I mentioned before. I still have no idea what they could be.

Here we get to see the MMS in action. What it does is send out pulses, detecting enemies in the area, even through walls and other objects, and highlighting them within the device. This works similar to a mix of the heartbeat sensors of previous games and the sonar goggles from Splinter Cell: Conviction.

Here we see the MMS performing the same function in the middle of a smoke grenade. Research suggests that this attachment may be derived from millimeter wave scanners, devices which are being used to identify objects that may be hidden under a person’s clothes.

The dive maneuver is making it’s return as well. This will undoubtedly lead to as many shenanigans and tomfoolery as it did before.

Back on the Turbine map, the player has equipped an LSAT light machine gun with a Hybrid Sight, which we first encountered in Modern Warfare 3. Unlike the original version, this one does not appear to need to switch between modes, instead having both sights readily available at all times. There doesn’t seem to be a directional pad indicator as there was in Modern Warfare 3, or with the M8A1 from before. Perhaps the amount of pressure on the left trigger button determines which sight is used? That’s purely speculative. There’s also another attachment on the gun which appears to be some sort of bullet. This could be a return of FMJ (full metal jacket) rounds, an attachment last seen in Modern Warfare 2. We can also see another pistol with a suppressor attachment, two more perks, and unidentifiable lethal and tactical items. The lethal item bears a resemblance to a Bouncing Betty.

This is the Guardian, the first killstreak we see in the trailer. It’s earned during the scene, and deployed immediately, similar to the SAM Turret in Modern Warfare 3, whereas all Sentry Guns and the SAM Turret from the original Black Ops needed to be air-dropped.

The Guardian appears to hinder the movement of enemies via microwaves. It’s unclear if this is can actually harm and kill enemies, but any enemies that are killed under the influence of the Guardian rewards the player with a “Guardian Suppress” bonus. Also, I’m uncertain if the Guardian will pivot like other turrets, or remain facing forward. Either way, this could be strategically used to hinder the enemy’s advancement towards certain areas or objectives. Placing it on the bridge as shown in the trailer means that anyone trying to cross is heading into a deathtrap.

This image shows us not only the loadout of the scene, but also a glimpse at a Los Angeles-based map. Here, the player is equipped with a Chicon CQB, a new bullpup-style weapon. It appears to have a red dot sight and foregrip attached. The player is also carrying an FHJ-18 AA launcher, no doubt meant to be an updated version of the FIM-92 Stinger used in previous Call of Duty games. More on that later. There’s also some C4 and something that shares a similar design to the Motion Sensor from Black Ops.

This is the Dragonfire, one of the drones that has been prevalent in all of Black Ops II‘s media. It appears to behave similarly to the Recon Drone from Modern Warfare 3, except it can engage in direct combat due to it’s front-mounted machine gun.

Here’s a look at your HUD (heads-up display) when piloting a Dragonfire. Much like the Guardian, enemies killed with the Dragonfire earns the player a bonus and the “Red Baron” accolade.

Luckily, Dragonfires be easily extinguished with gunfire or surface-to-air missiles, like the FHJ-18 AA launcher seen here. Like Modern Warefare 3‘s Recon Drone, Dragonfires appear on your radar. Unlike Recon Drones, they go down with a single missile due to a lack of countermeasures.

This is another look at the shipping container level. This time, we can clearly see two of the player’s teammates carrying Riot Shields, as well as one in the player’s loadout screen. The player’s primary weapon is an AN-94 with an unknown sight and foregrip. The lowest boxes in the loadout also contain something that doesn’t look like a person. I can’t quite make out the image, but it just further baffles me as to what their purpose is.

This is the sight equipped on the AN-94. It appears to have a similar enemy-tracking effect as many of the killstreaks in previous Call of Duty games. It still locates enemies behind objects, like the MMS, but doesn’t require a pulse to be sent out beforehand and the box surrounding them is always displayed.

Riot Shields, in addition to perhaps being redefined as secondary weapons, can now be deployed on the map and used as cover, much like the Boom Shields from the Gears of War games. Upon deployment, the front of the shield extends it’s armor and creates a smaller window for someone to look through while fighting enemies.

This behemoth is the A.G.R., a new remote-controlled ground killstreak akin to the Assualt Drone from Modern Warfare 3. It must be called in via air drop, however. It’s unclear if the drop zone will be marked with smoke like other killstreaks. Smoke is shown at it’s landing point, but it is uncolored. Like the Dragonfire, enemies killed with the A.G.R. will give you a score bonus and the “Crack Down” accolade.

The name of the loadout in this scene, MostlyUseMeBlade, is appropriate. It’s pretty bare, containing only a Raging Judge revolver – probably based on the Raging Bull – six different perks, and three people in those still-unidentified boxes. If you look closely at the bottom right of the screen, you can see the player’s killstreaks. Most of the killstreak icons so far have been your ordinary fare of planes or helicopters, or nondescript. However, in this image you can clearly make out the head of a dog, suggesting Attack Dogs will be returning, and what appears to be an EMP. Being in the lowest killstreak, position, however, that may be unlikely.

After the player uses all of his ammo, he switches, either manually or automatically, to his Combat Knife permanently to deal with the rest of the enemies. This is a feature available in Battlefield 3 if the player holds down the melee button, allowing easy access to melee for subsequent attacks.

Here’s a look at the newly designed Tomahawk. It still functions just as it did in the original Black Ops, still as deadly, and again replaces the throwing knife from the previous Call of Duty.

Not a lot happens in the next, brief scene, but we can still make out a few details from it. Firstly, the player has two sniper rifles equipped, the DSR-50 and the Ballista, suggesting that some form of Overkill will be returning. The Perk in the second slot down was also seen on the player using the Riot Shield, meaning if they were not reduced to secondary weapons, this may be the Overkill-like perk. Also, the Ballista, being in the secondary slot, is the first secondary weapon we’ve seen with multiple attachments. Assuming neither of the two perks the player has equipped have Pro versions unlocked, since neither icon has the traditional “star” shape, we can deduce that is not a feature of the upgraded Overkill as it has been in the past. The Ballista appears to have a bullet attachment just as the LSAT did. When the player later shoots multiple enemies at once with the weapon, that provides further evidence the bullet may be a return of the FMJ attachment.

There’s a special rung in hell for people who use automatic shotguns, and another rung for those that use Tactical Insertions. This player uses both. Here we see the M1216 with two attachements – one of which is a laser sight – as well as a Raging Judge, a couple perks as well as C4 and what is most likely Black Ops II‘s version of the Tactical Insertion.

Due to the information on the device’s screen and the fact that it is dropped at the player’s feet when used, we can assume this to be a Tactical Insertion, getting a significant cosmetic upgrade over it’s other appearances. There is also a QR code on it’s head before it pivots that I would be interested in seeing what it leads to.

Here’s a good look at what I assume is C4. Of particular note is how the item mentions something about “toxic gas”. I don’t know anything about explosives, but I don’t think C4 has anything to do with gas, meaning this could be something else. But it explodes and functions similar to the way C4 always has in Call of Duty games, so I’m unsure.

Yet another killstreak, this time a bunch of unidentified flying drones. In the few scenes where a killstreak icon that resembled these appeared, it was always at the top of the killstreak tree, even above Attack Dogs as seen in the scene with the Raging Judge. There’s a large number of them in the sky, and they appear to periodically identify targets on the grounds, seeking them out and exploding on contact.

Here’s a close up of one of the drones, just as it begins to dive at an unsuspecting target. This also shows just how many of them appear at one time. Will they all eventually attack a target, or are they just meant to be ominous? We’ll find out in November.

Treyarch likes to end their debut trailers with whatever information they feel will leave the audience with the most excitement, and this trailer is no exception. After the title card and release date show up, we return back to the first scene, only this time with a different HUD and a commentator performing a play-by-play analysis. It’s during this scene that we learn the name of the map, Turbine, and of the electric grenades thrown, the Shock Charges. We also hear of a new game mode – Multi Team Team Deathmatch. From the top of the HUD, it looks like there are three teams all fighting in this game at one time, with teams comprised of at least three, though most likely four, members.

I wasn’t going to use information from rumors and leaks in this post, but there’s one particular leak we can give some credibility to. In a podcast detailing a multiplayer preview of Black Ops II at E3, we are given a description of the new loadout selection process. Instead of filling every slot – primary, secondary, lethal, tactical, perks – with something, we are instead given ten points to pick and choose what we want in our loadout. The reason I’m able to say this leak may be true is because if you look at all the loadouts in the trailer, every single one of them has ten slots filled. If you want six perks and less weapons, just like the guy with the Raging Judge, you can do that. Likewise, you can choose less perks if you want to give your guns more attachments. The possibilities are endless. If you choose to have two lethal or tactical items, that takes up two slots. Even those undefined slots with the soldiers along the bottom take up allocation points, and we still have no idea what they do. What doesn’t appear to take up points are killstreaks, and they’re still customizable.

I tried to figure out some of the different killstreak icons and their possible heirarchy, but there’s just too many of them and not enough detail in the video to assess it properly. One that jumped out at me in particular, however, is the top killstreak in the second scene (with the MMS) and briefly below the Attack Dogs before the tomahawk is thrown (it’s worth noting that the killstreaks change in the scene with the Raging Judge, most likely due to an editing error). It appears to be some sort of satellite, which could be a new type of radar system much like the Blackbird in Black Ops. There’s no telling if there are different killstreak classes as there are in Modern Warfare 3. Deathstreaks also do not make an appearance.

If anyone is interested, the name of the song that plays during the trailer is “Play for Real” by the electronic band The Crystal Method, and is available on iTunes.

Anticipation has now reached it’s peak for Black Ops II. Treyarch, whom I once regarded as development studio only for ports and spin-offs, appear to be the major Call of Duty innovators in the wake of Infinity Ward’s fall after Modern Warfare 2. We’re only a few short months away from release, but we’ll no doubt get a slow trickle of new details about the game’s campaign, multiplayer, and the still shrouded Zombie modes. We can also likely expect at least one limited edition of the game.

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