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Black Ops III is coming…

It's coming...

Treyarch and Activision have been stealthily preparing for the official announcement of the next installment of the Black Ops series of Call of Duty. After quietly releasing an update recently to Black Ops II, Treyarch snuck in some curious snapchat codes sprinkled in around levels.


These codes allowed users to go to and visit a series of strange grainy videos that remind us eerily of what you might see in the first game's brainwashing scenes. While these bits of short videos gave us a taste of something more we were left wondering just what was going on.


Well, we don't have a lot more information, but we do have confirmation that Black Ops III is incoming. Treyarch released a teaser video turning up the excitement and the heat. It looks like the storyline from Black Ops will continue into the future as can be seen with the electronic/mechanical enhanced soldier in the release photo. (Oh God, PLEASE no more Exo Suits! )

We've been promised an official announcement (and possibly full reveal?) later this month on April 26th. Stay tuned for more.


The official game trailer is out and we have more information on the upcoming game.
Looks like November 6th will be the big release day for Black Ops 3.

So what can we expect? IGN sums up their preview of the game and lets us know a few more details. 4 player co-op campaign. New zombie story with character progression. No more Exo Suits! Yea! ... But apparently we have a revolutionary new movement system that lets you jump around... Oh boy. Find out more:

Black Ops 3: What You Need to Know About Multiplayer, Zombies, and Campaign

Video Games: The Movie

Blast from the past...and more

Ever feel like a movie was made just for you? I recently watched Video Games: The Movie and found it a blast. From their website, Video Games: The Movie describes itself as:

"Featuring in-depth interviews with the godfathers who started it all, the icons of game design, and the geek gurus who are leading us into the future, VIDEO GAMES: THE MOVIE is a celebration of gaming from Atari to Xbox, and an eye-opening look at what lies ahead."

Considering our passion for all things gaming here at GO40 I wanted to tell you about this gem recently added to Netflix. It takes on the ambitious task of trying to chronicle the history of games and gamers and how the medium has become such an influential and amazing format unto itself.  Video Gaming has had a complex, sometimes turbulent history, and so many points of interest. It's no wonder that this movie simply does the "double-decker bus tour" equivalent of coverage. Fortunately, that's all it needs to do for an enjoyable trip down memory lane. There are plenty of interviews from industry veterans (like Nolan Bushnell co-founder of Atari), and celebrity personalities, (Sean Astin and Wil Wheaton) to provide personal thoughts and insights as well as a ton of game clips ranging from Pong to Destiny. The movie doesn't do anything groundbreaking and only touches on certain aspects of console gaming history but it does pay tribute to this medium and culture that we know and love.

The format of the movie tries to touch on different points of gaming history, focusing on a different aspect for each segment by going back in a timeline and moving forward through the years. While it does break things up into more digestible portions it unfortunately leaves you with the feeling of "skipping around". There's just so much that can be said so if you were to cover video gaming in depth that the movie might take days to chronicle. Still, it doesn't try to be more than a quick tour (110 minutes) of gaming which coincides with our group's generational experience. Seeing some of the clips from games I haven't seen in years (and some I had forgotten about) made me wax nostalgic for those good times in front of the TV or in the Arcade. One example is a shot showing people in an arcade some playing and others crowding around each cabinet. Something struck me as I noticed someone completely immersed in a game in that "game stance". You know what I mean. One leg forward, slightly bent with the other directly behind. Upper body leaning forward and in to the game, pushing all your focus to the controls. It's those glimpses of gaming's past that strike a chord in you as you watch. In the opening of the film there is a segment showing short clips of games as they evolved. I found myself instantly naming each one as they briefly appeared and couldn't stop. Even the end credits feature a "game over" moments montage which was a nice touch.

If you're looking for something that goes in-depth and explores issues or controversies in the gaming industry then this movie may not fill the bill. If you want to hop on the tour bus and re-visit places you fondly remember and learn some interesting tidbits along the way then you can't go wrong with this one!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – Developmental or Divergent?

Call_of_Duty_Advanced_Warfare_coverThis November brings the latest installment in the Call of Duty franchise; Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. We've seen the evolution of combat in our Call of Duty games from the Beaches of Normandy in WWII through Modern Warfare's Nuclear threat, to the near future with Black Ops II and Ghosts. The upcoming game as described on the official website gives us a glimpse even further ahead. "Advanced Warfare envisions the powerful battlegrounds of the future, where both technology and tactic have evolved to usher in a new era of combat for the franchise." So, has Sledgehammer games taken the franchise one step further with the developmental growth of Call of Duty or diverged from the format becoming something entirely new?

We've heard of "revolutionary new gameplay" and been let down before. Most recently, the release of Titanfall, which was said by some to be "Call of Duty with mechs", has successfully integrated new features in FPS combat. The game added parkour elements with jet boosted jumping to reach high places, advanced weaponry, invisibility cloaking, and of course...giant robot mechs. While Titanfall has met with success it has fallen way short of many people's expectations. So here we are again. Call of Duty with new features...boost jumping to get to high places, advanced weaponry, invisibility cloaking, and well...armor suits. Uh oh. I can't help but think; Are we set irrevocably on a course running up that ramp, ready to jump out over that pool of sharks this fall? Only time will tell.


One of the hallmarks of the Call of Duty games has been an enjoyable single player campaign full of action and plot twists. The addition of Kevin Spacey to the talent pool adds another point of interest that shows this is something big. This gives CoD: Advanced Warfare an advantage over Titanfall by not only adding more content to be experienced but also to help ground the players in this new world and acclimate them to the technology there before taking on Multiplayer.

So the futuristic features stretch the limits of what we've come to expect for FPS. How do we know this isn't just going to be another Titanfall? Thankfully we received more information at the Advanced Warfare Multiplayer World Premiere by Sledgehammer and Activision at Gamescom on August 11th. Michael Condrey and Glen Schofield (both Studio heads and co-founders of Sledgehammer) provided more insight into what we can expect with this new release.

Pick 13

The character creation system, which is the foundation for your loadout strategies is based on the familiar "Pick 10" system introduced in Black Ops but has been bumped up to "Pick 13". Players will pick their primary and secondary weapons, attachments, perks, EXO abilities (See below), scorestreaks, and any Wildcards.



The addition of the power assisted EXO (exoskeleton) is the most radical feature.  This new bit of kit allows you to add extra customization and allows you to "boost".  Boost allows for jumping vertically, sideways, backwards, sliding and a powerful melee attack that lets you drop on opponents from above and smash them.  The EXO suit is where you would choose between different features like the cloaking shield, tracking drones, and a power shield.  The EXO uses a battery system that powers certain items like the shield where use of that item will deplete energy.

The addition of the EXO to the game has fundamentally changed the way Call of Duty will feel.  This change is intentional and forces new tactics to be learned.  During the Gamescom reveal, both Michael Condrey and Glen Schofield repeatedly used the word "verticality" when describing movement, level design, and player control.   With such a heavy emphasis on the new toys, the feel of ground combat may have permanently changed.  (On a side note: Michael Condrey did also tell the press at Gamescom that they would include a multiplayer playlist with the EXO disabled to fit more traditional players expectations.)

Test Range

Once loaded up, a new feature: The Test Range will be available to players to pop in and test things out before going into a match.  Set up like a virtual firing range with targets, the player can warm up with a few rounds to get the feel of a weapon before bringing it in to battle.

Supply Drops

Like recent Call of Duty games, XP is the backbone of how players progress but Sledgehammer has developed an additional incentive system called "Supply Drops".  The idea is very much like the Battlefield 4 Battlepack system where players will receive a "grab bag" of 3 randomly selected items.  These items can be gear for soldier customization, single use perks (like burn cards in Titanfall), or even weapons.  The items are also ranked by a value system ranging from common to rare.  Supply Drops are awarded by time played in game and certain in-game challenges.  Sledgehammer's Michael Condrey summed it up saying: "Imagine rolling in with fully geared weapons and instantly you're the most bad-ass on the battlefield."


Customizable Scorestreaks

One new innovative change being introduced is the customizable scorestreak system.  In Advanced Warfare you select your scorestreaks in your loadout.  As you earn score points in game you make your scorestreaks available to deploy.  In past games this has been a set amount with a single effect.  With the new customizable scorestreaks you can choose to modify an item by adding capabilities...for a price.  For example: Let's say you select a gun turret which is 600 points (get 600 points in a match to call it up) and then you modify it by adding a rocket turret for 100 points.  Now when you score 700 points in a match you deploy your modified turret/rocket launcher mega scorestreak.  This ability to tweak the scorestreaks and new features to enhance them gives the player some creative options.  (Like adding another modification to detatch that rocket turret and go mobile.).


Co-op Scorestreaks

There are even scorestreaks that allow teammates to go "co-op" allowing players to join in with another player in controlling certain scorestreaks.  An example would be the "Warbird Gunner".  One player deploys the gunner streak and takes control of a mounted gun.  The other team player can look up, access the aircraft and instantly take position in the same aircraft providing target tagging or additional gunfire.

coop scorestreaks

So with these additional features and other improvements it does seem that the developers have tried to make a more enriched experience.  Fans of the games will continue to flock to the Call of Duty banner ready to do battle while newcomers will enjoy the wealth of options.  New features will help keep the game fresh, but only time will tell whether this latest iteration of the series is the next step in it's evolution or whether it has become something new and independent.

...Perhaps there will be mechs after all...


Halo: Master Chief Edition


When it comes to epic games it's hard to dispute that Halo is the one that defined console gaming. While many Halo games have been produced, (and Halo 5 is right around the corner), the story lines surrounding Spartan John-117, (yeah, that's our Master Chief), have been some of the most compelling and riveting of the series.

343 Industries and Bungie are releasing the Halo: The Master Chief Collection in mid-November on Xbox One. All 4 of the original Halo games featuring the Master Chief will be included in the set and have been given graphical upgrades. The original Halo 2 which was only available on Xbox has been re-mastered with the same detail as the Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary edition. If you haven't played these games in a while, there will be no better time to enjoy them then on your Xbox One.

Halo helped define FPS multiplayer gameplay and playing through these editions should be a treat. It's worth noting that this edition contains all of the multiplayer maps ever released for all editions. That's more than 100 maps to play right out of the box. Not a bad deal indeed.

Some extras will also be included such as access to Halo Nightfall, (the new digital video series being produced by Ridley Scott), as well as access to the Halo 5:Guardians beta.

Destiny Beta Impressions

destinylogopageAlas, the Destiny Beta window has opened and closed... all too soon. For those of you who were able to get some game time in you know there's a lot to look forward to this September. Destiny is one of those games though that has a lot of hype around it and the challenge, as always, is whether it's worth forking out the cash to own.

In my time with Destiny I was only able to play the first introductory level and return to the tower. Server interrupts kept me from playing further as when I tried to repeatedly play the next level I was booted back with an error message and returned to the menus. Feedback from others has been very positive though and there is a lot going on.

I couldn't help but notice how familiar the game feels when playing. The Halo roots are there and that's not a bad thing. (Even some of the sound effects like some gunfire sound like they were lifted from Halo.) Beautiful and vast this game seems like it will hold interest for a long time. Multiplayer modes, campaign, and co-op all seem to be thought out well. The MMO aspects of the game take a little getting used to if you're not familiar with that genre. Having random people pop in and out of the landscape is a little odd but doesn't detract from your gameplay.

Customization seems to be the key with this game. Upgrading weapons, gear, and vehicles will help keep the enjoyment going as you tackle tougher opponents and are able to tweak your character to handle it. We'll see what the finished product is like very shortly as Destiny arrives on September 9th.