You might not be familiar with Call of Duty, but I recommend you watch this video all the same. It’s a two part interview but the reason I’m sending this to you is to demonstrate a contrast right now with the developers of Call of Duty (at least in the case of Treyarch) and with the developers at Nintendo. What blew my mind was when Vonderhaar stated that they worked on balancing the create-a-class system by starting it as a board game at first and then working on it from there. There’s a lot of interesting stuff that gets said in here, which is why I’m sending this.
Treyarch has been pretty tight-lipped on their info about the game, but so far when they actually release their info, they’re not pussy-footing around, but are instead pouring forth a great deal of information, doing interviews, answering questions, and not only are they letting experienced players who play these games competitively play the game, they’re letting Average Joes off the street play the game, too. They are not relying on “surprise”, at least in the case of the multiplayer.
The biggest thing to take away from that interview, however, is that they are addressing the major problem that Call of Duty has been suffering from, which I stated in a prior email: Lack of support after the game is released. They have changed and altered the game’s class system to be both easier for players to customize to cater around how they want to play, but also making it easier to balance things as well. They’re also making it more worthwhile to be a team player and making it easier for players to get access to traditional killstreaks via the new scorestreak system now. They’re also trying address the issue of campers by adjusting perks (Ghost used to make you immune to the UAV and a bunch of other stuff, now it only protects you from the UAV if you are moving) and adding gun attachments that let you see through walls and see players who are not moving (or not moving much).
The main thing though is Vonderhaar keeps referring to the stuff in the game as content, even down to guns, attachments, and the perks. I think the most reassuring thing though, is that they have a system set up to keep track of how everything in the game is used, so now if they start hearing people complain about stuff, they can “look at the math” as he states in the interview, and they can then see if there really are issues to be addressed in the game or if people are just complaining to complain. Maybe the best thing is him saying that they are being more open in engaging with the players directly. That’s been a big difference lately for them. They haven’t been relying on a community manager for sometime and now are themselves going out and talking with people directly instead of using someone who has little to know involvement with the game development. Lately, the reformed Infinity Ward has been taking a similar approach, with their old community manager leaving and now the developers themselves are now communicating openly about addressing issues in Modern Warfare 3 (lately they’ve been doing hotfixes for adjusting gun buffs for various weapons in the game’s online MP). Treyarch striving to achieve is pushing their counterparts to up their game as well.
The thing is though, hearing how these people talk versus how the developers at Nintendo talk is like night and day. Nintendo talks about 3D and creativity, whereas Treyarch has been talking at great length about features, math and content. Nintendo promotes their developers and talking down to their customers and trying to talk about how they can con them into playing games that the developers want to make, whereas Treyarch is talking about giving players incentives in online modes to be team players and giving players greater freedom to customize the game around how they want to play. Nintendo’s developers come across as being monolithic and out of touch with reality, whereas Treyarch is being more communicative with its community. Nintendo shows little interest in internet, while Treyarch is now embracing it more than ever to try and improve and expand on their game, and the biggest thing here is that they are pushing heavily on the social element. You said that gaming leads to socializing, and that’s the big thing I see with Call of Duty. These games lead to people coming together and playing together and having fun, and Treyarch seems to be making it easier to do that with this game. The biggest thing though is that the way Nintendo talks all the time, they only talk about why they make the games they want to make, whereas Treyarch is talking about all the reasons why people should be playing Black Ops 2.
And they haven’t even talked about Zombies mode yet (which is also getting expanded upon greatly). I’m not like a huge fan of these guys, but I think it’s nice to see this kind of openness and respect for their customers which Nintendo is sorely lacking right now. I think this should be highlighted, especially because if this game manages to beat the sales of the prior Call of Duty games, we’ll have a pretty keen insight as to why, and it won’t be due to some stuffy old fuddy duddies who are out of touch with reality wasting every waking moment wondering how they can force players to play games they don’t want to play instead of making games they DO want to play.This email seems like a commercial for Treyarch. What you’re describing isn’t unique to Treyarch but is generalized with Western gaming. Eastern video games… march to a beat of a different drummer. Western gaming is tight knit to the computer revolution. When the Internet grew in popularity, video games increasingly used the Internet. Nintendo, on the other hand, isn’t tight knit with the computer revolution. They decided to go 3d instead (where the computer revolution was not going), and it is that direction which has led them to their mess.