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CoD:BO First Look, Part I
Written by Jock   
Wednesday, 26 May 2010
CoD:BO First Look, Part I, "California or bust"

Summary

Last Friday, at Treyarch's "First Look" event for Call of Duty: Black Ops, a few members of the PC and console CoD community were given access to selected Single Player levels of the game. In addition, community members were given a tour of the developer's studios and given a chance to pose questions directly at developers.
 
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Treyarch's latest installment of the popular CoD franchise is set to continue the tradition of providing its community with the same visceral, Call of Duty-style heart-pumping action that we have been accustomed to in the past. For those who love Single Player...and this event was first and foremost a Single Player event, a strong, original narrative will provide a compelling backdrop for the variety of game-play on offer within the game.
 
While public relations and selling games was a priority in this years' Black Ops event, it differed from last year's MW2-fest (sponsored by Infinity Ward) in that both Treyarch and Activision showed genuine interest in recognizing the efforts their communities have made.
 
Black Ops' developer and publisher rewarded this patronage by providing their community with access and an exclusive peek into their new game. A further difference from last year's event was that, in a small way, it did allow community members to provide direct feedback to the game's devs that were present.

With the news embargo on the event now lifted, the articles that follow here on BASHandSlash.com and the soon to be released, BASH webcast on the event, chronicle what we saw and heard in the short few hours we were at Treyarch.

I would like to personally thank Treyarch and Activision for the opportunity to go to the event. For those that did not get a chance to go, I hope that the coverage we provide will give you the sense that you were there.

The First Look Community Event

A few weeks ago, I was invited by Treyarch/Activision to head down to Santa Monica, California along with a few other community members, to take part in a "First Look" community event. The community event is a Call of Duty ritual that is observed by both our community and CoD's developer. For this event, the spotlight fell on Call of Duty: Black Ops' Single Player.

With some hesitation, BASHandSlash.com accepted the invitation.

Aside from myself, Treyarch's community manager, Josh Olin aka JD_2020, invited about eighteen community people to attend. While the majority of  the invitees were console aficionados, three including your humble author, Aaron and his brother Josh Peckler (the latter being of planetcallofduty.com) waved the flag for PC gaming.

When I first got into Call of Duty, back in CoD2, "community events" were predominantly PC affairs. This type of event provided an opportunity for the community, at that time made up of mostly of PC modders and some community-news site owners, to provide detailed, technical feedback to the devs.

With the release of Modern Warfare 2, the nature of this event changed.

First off, the community was now predominantly a console-centric group. As well, the event now served more as a public relations exercise than as a means for conveying community desires or wants. This is not meant as criticism, it is simply a statement of fact and is something that should be explained given the surprise that PC fans supposedly received at a similar MW2 event last year.  Some of the MW2 Community Event PC-platform invitees expressed dismay that they were not asked for input into the game, as was done in past community days. There had been a sea change, and they were not properly prepared.

While I accepted the invite, I was under no delusions about my ability to change the direction of the game. I simply wanted to go to the event as a fan of the game and as a fan of the folks who make it. Of course, I would try and put forward the point of view shared by hardcore PC FPS enthusiasts...and then simply hope for the best.

The plan

Community invitees would travel to Treyarch studios in Santa Monica on the 20th of May. The "First Look" event would consist of a three hour tour of Treyarch on the 21st and would include a sneak peek at a few game levels and then we would be whisked off to a local restaurant for dinner, compliments of Activision.

My plan was a bit more ambitious and self-serving. I wanted to parlay the invite into a holiday and thus I extended my stay in LA and brought my wife down as well. This would allow me to have some fun in the sun and give me a chance to meet with my long-time BASH co-host, PST*Joker and his wife. The latter, would be one of the highlights of the trip.

Minutiae

I won't bore you with the details of the trip. For that you can listen to this week's podcast. The rest of the these articles will focus on the game: Call of Duty: Black Ops.

CoD: Black Coach

Ok...I lied. I'll bore you with just one trip detail. On the 21st, a gaggle of other community guys/gal and I were loaded into a sleek, black coach (a black coach for a black op...cool tie-in) at half past one o'clock and chauffeured through the sun-baked streets of posh Santa Monica to the famed Treyarch studios.

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Treyarch Studios

The home of Treyarch is a large, modern structure, covered in dark-tinted mirrored glass windows  that shield the interior from the hot California sun and undoubtedly from the prying eyes of nosy gamers. It has few external markings and it would have been difficult to guess that it was the center of gravity of one of the most popular FPS franchises in history.

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We all filed headlong into Treyarch's instantly recognizable lobby. The sound of nervous laughter and rapid-fire voices bounced off the walls.

snd_global_attenuation "0"

No effect. <Ok...that'll be my one and only geeky config joke>.

Looking around while I signed the non-disclosure agreement, I recognized PC representatives, the Pecklers, console legends such as Foxhound, Morgan J East, Mattks, Moniko, gknova6 decrypter Carbonfibah, Nathan8er, and Chefs, to name a few.

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As we milled about ready for the event to start...everyone was atwitter, literally and figuratively

...more info will flow at hourly intervals...

 


 
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