When your company puts out a game annually, such as Activision does with the Call of Duty series, there is always room for criticism. Players can say that the gaming engine gets too recycled, sequels look just like the games they came out after, and there’s nothing really new to add to the experience. The next thing you know, gamers are reverting back to older games, or just trading the series in all together.
Over at Treyarch, the studio responsible for the Black Ops line of the Call of Duty games, the team knows of these issues and is setting out to make them right. Mark Lamia, head of the company, spoke about changing up and tweaking certain aspects of a game’s development to help cater to those hardcore gamers out there. In an interview with Dan Amrich, blogger for Activision, Lamia stated:
Engines, each time they get touched, they change. The creators alter them; they don’t modify what they don’t need to, and then they alter what they need to. You can’t make a competitive product if you’re not upgrading that engine along the way.
I think what people are asking for is for us to push. They want us to make a better-looking game; they want things. I don’t think those are things people can’t ask for. We asked ourselves that very same question – we wanted to advance the graphics. I think the questions are valid. The answer may not need to be an entirely new engine, but you might need to do an entire overhaul of your entire lighting system. The trick is, we’re not willing to do that if we can’t keep it running at 60 frames per second – but we did that this time. So this is the Black Ops II engine.
It looks like Treyarch is tweaking what they can about the Black Ops engine so that it provides a better-looking experience, all while keeping what works with the game. This isn’t a complete overhaul of the engine at large, rather an upgrade to what the engine can already offer. If you speak to any real competitive FPS player out there they will tell you that framerate is extremely important. It even makes or breaks games, giving an edge to one team or the other. Either way, Treyarch assures us that Black Ops II will simply look a lot better than its predecessor.