The wait is over. The groundbreaking Call of Duty: Black Ops II is now available at retail locations across the globe. The highly-anticipated sequel to the best-selling Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 console game in history has been called "the most ambitious Call of Duty ever," pushing the boundaries of the blockbuster franchise to new heights by propelling players into a world full of advanced weaponry, robotics and drone technology in the year 2025. Call of Duty: Black Ops II, which has shattered pre-order records set last year by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, is on its way to a historic launch, and is poised to usher in a new era for the 30-million Call of Duty fans worldwide with a host of new innovations to deliver the complete gaming experience. Providing great value to the Call of Duty community, starting today Activision's Call of Duty Elite services for Call of Duty: Black Ops II are free, providing fans with deeply integrated features, including Clan Operations, Zombies Leaderboards and more. Activision kicked-off the celebration overnight as eager fans lined-up at midnight across an unprecedented 16,000 retailers around the globe from Sydney to Dubai to Paris to Los Angeles to get their hands on Activision and their award-winning studio Treyarch's innovative new release. Anticipation for the title has reached a fever pitch and is expected to be the "biggest game launch of all time," as GameStop Tony Bartel recently noted. "From the very beginning, our goal with Call of Duty: Black Ops II was to deliver a new high watermark for the franchise. And thanks to the hard work and creative brilliance of our team at Treyarch, I think that's exactly what we've done," said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI). "In addition to an amazing and innovative game, we're also proud and humbled to see the launch of Call of Duty: Black Ops II creating yet another legitimate, pop cultural phenomenon. To our millions of fans worldwide, who have driven everything from pre-orders to YouTube views, to midnight lines outside of stores worldwide to new levels, we just want to say, thank you. You are the best fan base in the world, and the unprecedented thrill ride that is Call of Duty: Black Ops II is all for you." "From day one, we've pushed ourselves to make the best gaming experience of our lives and I am so incredibly proud with what this team has created with Call of Duty: Black Ops II," said Treyarch Studio Head, Mark Lamia. "Our vision has been to deliver the complete package - something for every type of player. Beginning with the single player campaign, Treyarch introduces things that you've never seen in the Call of Duty franchise before, like branching storylines, non-linear missions and customizing player load outs; or multiplayer, where we've re-written the rules with an all-new 'Pick 10' Create-A-Class, Score Streaks, and entire suite of eSports competitive features like CODcasting, Live Streaming and League Play that further makes Call of Duty a spectator sport; all the way to our biggest Zombies experience yet, which has three modes of play by itself - it's been an absolutely amazing experience developing Call of Duty: Black Ops II, and now we can't wait to play it with our fans." Delivering an epic scale that rivals Hollywood blockbusters, Call of Duty: Black Ops II also features a heavyweight musical lineup with contributions from Academy Award winning composer Trent Reznor (theme), BAFTA nominee Jack Wall (score), and tracks from musical acts Avenged Sevenfold and an original collaboration by Skrillex and Alvin Risk. Theplot-twisting, generation-spanning story, co-written by David S. Goyer, screenwriter for The Dark Knight and the upcoming Man of Steel, picks up where Call of Duty: Black Ops' Cold War era tale left off, in its explosively cinematic single player campaign taking gamers to the year 2025, against the most sinister villain in Call of Duty lore. Armed with branching storylines and non-linear missions known as Strike Force levels, which provides players a sandbox style gameplay experience, Call of Duty: Black Ops II affords players the opportunity to actually affect the outcome of the game, and for the first time in series history deliver multiple endings to this epic saga. "Collaborating with David Goyer has been an incredible experience. From the beginning, we had a shared vision to rewrite the rules of storytelling in the Call of Duty franchise and deliver a truly innovative experience for players," said Call of Duty: Black Ops II Director and Co-Writer, Dave Anthony. Tapping into the heartbeat of millions, Call of Duty: Black Ops II multiplayer mode delivers a true package of innovations, including the all-new "Pick-10" Create-a-Class system that revolutionizes the traditional slot-driven system by allowing fans to gear up for battle by customizing an unprecedented number of combinations to best suit their play-style. Further leveling the playing field for more gamers, the new Score Streaks system rewards all-types of players for helping their team win from capturing flags, securing objectives, defending teammates and more. Without a doubt, the most prolific multiplayer additions to Call of Duty: Black Ops II are the ones lining up to bring Call of Duty online gaming and eSports to the masses. Accessible to players of all skill levels, Call of Duty: Black Ops II multiplayer introduces League Play, a skill-based matchmaking system that makes competition fun at any skill level. Multiplayer also now seamlessly integrates a play-by-play "CODcasting" commentary system that allows fans to create their own eSports commentaries on games. And in a historic first for console gaming, Call of Duty: Black Ops II also features live streaming of League Play games on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, without the need for any additional hardware. With the live streaming feature, players now have the ability to broadcast their Call of Duty: Black Ops II games to the masses in real-time on YouTube, so anyone in the world can enjoy watching the action. Call of Duty Elite takes the live streaming experience even further, enabling viewers to see the player card of the user that is streaming. Viewers can dig deeper on Call of Duty Elite to see class loadouts, recent match data, as well as career stats across supported Call of Duty games on the Call of Duty Elite service. Live streams of Call of Duty: Black Ops II are viewable via web browsers, mobile and tablets through Call of Duty Elite as well as individual YouTube user channels. A verified YouTube account is required to live stream. A valid Call of Duty Elite registration is necessary to view the streams and related information inside Call of Duty Elite. Call of Duty: Black Ops II player live streams will be subject to limitations and restrictions. The complete package also delivers the fan-favorite Zombies game created by Treyarch. The beloved and terrifying cooperative game mode pits players against an unrelenting horde of the undead. The Call of Duty: Black Ops II Zombies offering is the biggest to date, featuring three different modes to survive the zombie apocalypse. Unravel the mysteries of a dying Earth in Tranzit, fight endless waves of zombies in Survival mode, or compete in the new 4z4 last-human-standing mode Grief. Activision also is making available pre-orders for the Call of Duty: Black Ops II Season Pass at select retail outlets. The Season Pass lets gamers access four epic Call of Duty: Black Ops II DLC Map Packs to be released in 2013 at a bundled discount (discount based on a suggested retail price of $49.99 and four DLC Map Packs at a suggested retail price of $15 each). The DLC Map Packs will be available on the Xbox LIVE online entertainment network first, and pricing and release dates may vary by platform. Additionally consumers who purchase the Call of Duty: Black Ops II Season Pass will not only receive an exclusive in-game calling card, but also access to the Nuketown Zombies bonus map. Nuketown Zombies will be offered to Season Pass holders in December, releasing first on Xbox 360 with other platforms to follow. Call of Duty: Black Ops II is available today worldwide on the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation3 computer entertainment system, and Windows PC. The title is scheduled for release in North America on November 18, 2012, for the new Wii U game system from Nintendo. Call of Duty: Black Ops II is published by Activision Publishing, Inc., and is rated "M" (Mature - Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Drugs - content suitable for persons ages 17 and older) by the ESRB. More information on Call of Duty: Black Ops II can be found at http://www.callofduty.com/blackops2 or on http://www.facebook.com/codblackops. Fans can also follow @Treyarch on Twitter. Also releasing today for PlayStation Vita is Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified, bringing classic Call of Duty-style gameplay to gamers-on-the-go. Developed by Nihilistic, this intense Call of Duty handheld title features frenetic 4v4 multiplayer across popular modes and hallmark features, including Care Packages, Create-A-Class, Killstreaks, Perks, Prestiging and more. The title also delivers an original fiction taking place between Call of Duty: Black Ops and Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Utilizing both touchscreen and "Near" technology, Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified puts the adrenaline-rush combat and action of Call of Duty in the palm of your hands. The title is also included in a limited PlayStationVita Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified Special Edition Bundle Pack for the ultimate value on the go. Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified is rated "M" (Mature - Blood, Drug Reference, Strong Language, Violence - content suitable for persons ages 17 and older).