Call of Duty: Black Ops - Dissecting the teaser trailer

   02/05/2010 at 17:42       Richard Horne       11 COMMENTS.
 - Call of Duty: Black Ops, Call of Duty, Treyarch, Infinity Ward, Activision

After the recent departures from Infinity Ward, spiritual creators of the Call of Duty franchise, you could be forgiven for thinking that the series was dead and buried. But while IW may now be a shadow of its former self, CoD B-Team Treyarch is currently hard at work developing the next instalment in the series.

Microsoft once famously described the release of Halo 3 as the biggest launch in 'entertainment history', but the release of a new Call of Duty game usurps even that. With most recently, Modern Warfare 2 breaking all-known videogame sales records. In fact, its recent Stimulus map-packs even broke Xbox live for a few days.

And so, this weekend saw the release of the first teaser-trailer for the new game, which you can see in all its glory below. And while at first glance, the frenetic fast-cut nature of it makes it extremely difficult to take anything substantial from it, we’ve analysed it frame-by-frame and dissected every snippet we could in order to bring you the first official breakdown and screenshots of all the bits you missed when you blinked while watching the trailer.

The trailer begins from the point of view of someone being interrogated. Bright lights shine in your eyes as you attempt to get your bearings and clear your head and vision, before a voice warns "This should help you remember everything" before seemingly injecting you with some sort of truth-drug. There're needles, blood and medicines on a nearby table which backs up this theory. The same voice also tells someone else in the room to double the voltage when he, (you) regains consciousness which suggests an element of torture. As the drugs kick in, events from the past flashback extremely quickly before your eyes before a second stronger dose is administered. The teaser concludes with the sound of you flat-lining before the voice ominously proclaims "We need to bring him back."

What stands out right away is that the game is now actually officially titled Call of Duty: Black Ops, and not, as was long speculated, Call of Duty: Vietnam. However, the video clearly shows that Vietnam will make up a large part of proceedings, but it seems that it’s not necessarily the entire focus of the game. In fact, the interrogation scene and general feeling of the trailer is that it’s a hell of a lot more modern and contemporary, perhaps combining two timelines, but maybe not quite to the same extent as Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed.

The Call of Duty series is well-known for its dramatic set-pieces and on-rails vehicular segments. And this looks set to continue as the following screenshots indicate that at some point during the game you’ll take control of a jet-fighter. It also appears you'll be shooting, as well as, rapelling out of the back of a helicopter. You’ll be firing hell-fire missiles from a helicopter gun-ship. And there’s also the suggestion that you might even be orbiting the earth in some sort of futuristic space-craft.

Of course the latter should be taken with a pinch of salt because many people speculated that Modern Warfare 2 would feature a space mission similar to Moonraker because of the existence of early screenshots suggesting so. These in fact turned out to be simply from a cut-scene that showed a missile being launched that triggered an enormous and devastating EMP. At no point did you actually fight in space.

Levels will take place in both Vietnam and Cuba. A fact which was revealed by a recent casting call for the character of Frank Barnes who is part of an elite Vietnam unit called the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group.


We also know, though it’s pretty much a given anyway, that the game will feature single-player, multiplayer and co-op – which was sadly lacking, Special Ops mode excepted, from Modern Warfare 2.

“We can’t wait for our community to experience Call of Duty: Black Ops,” said Mark Lamia, Studio Head for Treyarch. “We have focused our entire studio on this game, with dedicated multiplayer, single-player and co-op teams creating the most intense, gripping and riveting experience possible for our fans on all fronts.”

Similarly to the ice-capped mountains level in Modern Warfare 2, it appears there'll be some action-orientated set-pieces in Black Ops where you'll either be jumping out of helicopters, rappelling through the jungle, or base-umping off the top of a mountain. Though the absence of a parachute in the latter suggests either a sticky end or some amazing leap-of-faith.

The teaser culminates in a mysterious close-up of a shady individual who may or may not be the ultimate ring-leader for whoever it is you end up fighting against in Black Ops. His khaki shirt suggests some sort of Colonel or General and that would fit with the narrative arcs of the previous games.

Firm conclusions are difficult to make at this point in time so a lot of it is guess-work but there's very much a definite and no doubt deliberate Platoon/Apocalypse Now/The Deer Hunter feel to things and fingers crossed come November we're in for another action-packed adrenalin ride and Treyarch can finally shed its disingenuous B-Team repuation.

We'll finish off with a montage of all the individual screenshots we were able to grab from the trailer, which we've put together against a backdrop of Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries. We hope you like it.

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