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Treyarch says Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Doesn't Need a New Engine to Advance Graphics

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 doesn't need a brand new game engine to improve the graphics over previous games in the series, Treyarch has insisted. Black Ops 2 is built using the latest, most advanced version of the engine that Call of Duty developers have used to build the first-person shooter series since 2005's Call of Duty 2: a heavily modified version of the id Tech 3 engine. Some fans have called on Activision to invest in a brand new graphics engine in order to spruce up Call of Duty's visuals. But Treyarch chief Mark Lamia said continuing to upgrade the current engine was enough to meet the development team's design goals. "People always ask me, 'Is this a new engine?' he told One of Swords. "I liken it to people who live in an older house that has been remodelled. Just because you're remodelling the house and it will look new or it will have a new kitchen, you don't tear out the foundation, or break out some of the framing. You might even go as hardcore as replacing the plumbing, and we will do that sort of thing, as an analogy. It's a gross simplification, but it's one way to say that. There's a lot of good still in that foundation that you wouldn't get rid of, and we don't. We look to advance in the areas that support our game design.

"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." He added: "I think the whole thing about a new engine... sometimes that's a great buzzword. Well, I have a new graphics engine - is that a new engine? Where does it start and stop? Elements of the code, you can trace back for a very, very long time... but whole parts of the code are entirely new. Two areas we did focus on for this game were the graphics and the lighting - a pretty significant amount of work is going into that."When Activision announced Black Ops 2 earlier this month it promised a "visual overhaul", with graphical upgrades a mix of "tech and technique". In a demo to press played on an Xbox 360 build of the game, an unpopulated level set on Socotra Island in Yemen showed HDR lighting, bounce lighting, self-shadowing and a new texture technique called reveal mapping - all running at 60 frames per second.

Black Ops 2 Could Put Activision in Legal Trouble

Activision is already going at it in court with Jason West and Vince Zampella over their dismissal from Infinity Ward in 2009, but a clause in a Memorandum of Understanding filed with the lost wages and royalties suit in 2010 could affect the recently announced Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. According to Game Informer, Activision continues to hold the rights to the Call of Duty franchise, but Call of Duty games set in "modern day (post Vietnam), the near future or distant future" would be retained by Infinity Ward. With Black Ops 2 set in 2025, developer Treyarch put a lot of thought in the futuristic setting. An intellectual property attorney said that, if West and Zampella win their suit, Activision could be forced to pull the game, but a more likely scenario is money damages awarded by the court.

However, clause 4(D) at the end of the memorandum specifically states that if IW management (Ward and Zampella) are no longer employed by Activision, then the terms of the memorandum are no longer in effect. This seems to override any potential problem, but it is yet another issue that the court must rule on. With Black Ops 2 setting pre-order records, the game could be a cash cow for Activision. A ruling against the publishing giant, though, could mean West and Zampella would get prime cuts of that cow if the employment clause is not enforced.

Source: Shacknews

Black Ops 2: First Details, Possible Release Date

It 'tis the season of rumors and assumptions for this years winter time blockbusters. According to Computer and Video Games, the following information, claiming to reveal the game's release date and a load of multiplayer features, was first posted on the official Black Ops forums in a thread that was later taken down, and its cached version is unavailable. It was then reposted in another thread on Activision's forums, which was also killed off by the publisher, but its cache remains available (via MP1st). None of this information is confirmed, but there's no reason it couldn't be genuine as it all sounds feasible. The list is full of new modes but makes no mention of a new game engine.
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