Treyarch's Mark Lamia has confirmed that Black Ops and Black Ops 2 don't take place in the same world as Modern Warfare and other Call of Duty games.
"Black Ops is its own thing. It’s inside the Call of Duty franchise, but it’s its own fiction," the studio head told Ausgamers.
"It’s sort of its own brand of fiction as well; it’s this historical fiction where we root things in a historical setting and context and we weave our fiction through it."
Lamia said the team approached Black Ops 2's future setting in the same way it approached historical research in past games, like the first Black Ops' 1960's setting or World War II.
"Obviously there are books written on where things are headed and technology, but we were fortunate to work with some experts and one of those experts was Peter Singer, who is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute. We approached him because he has written a book about advanced robotics and drones and future warfare, which is really important," the developer explained.
"We wanted to make sure that this is Call of Duty, it can’t be too sci-fi, it’s gotta feel like this is plausible. It’s part of the DNA of Black Ops where we set up these plausible scenarios and then we have our fiction going through it and our story. "
"Things that used to be the domain of great science-fiction books is no longer, it’s reality; it’s happening; starting to play out in the headlines today, but certainly in the coming decade," he added.
Black Ops 2's plot will be conveyed by several narrators, and as a direct sequel to the first game, will involve some of the same characters.
"Woods is an old man in the year 2025, and he happens to be in this place called The Vault, which is a place where the CIA keeps its former operatives that are too sensitive to be somewhere else," Lamia offered.
"You’re playing David Mason - the son of Alex Mason - and as this opens up in 2025, you go to visit old man Woods and you’re trying to start to unravel what is going on with the villain [Raul Menendez]."
Mason will ask Woods about past events and how they tie into the game's plot, bringing the player up to speed on what happened in the interim, but Treyarch also wants the plot to take place around the character.
"You’re going to be on the hunt for Menendez and unravelling that mystery, and then you’ll remember things that Woods has told you as part of his narrative And that’s how we’ll jump you back to the past and propel that story forward as well.," Lamia said.
Treyarch doesn't have a choice, studio head Mark Lamia told Shacknews in a recent interview. With the franchise now reaching its ninth iteration, the team is itching to do something. "When we talk about pushing the boundaries, that is an internal creative desire for a team of veterans that have created a lot of Call of Duties... At this point in the franchise, I think it would be far riskier to not push the boundaries."
Lamia also told Shack not to expect a linear path this time out with everyone playing "basically the same story."
"That won't be the case this time," he said. "You're going to make decisions along the way, and they will have an implication on your story. Some of those choices will be obvious in 'Call of Duty style.' And sometimes, just as in real life, the implications might be more subtle and you might not realize them until later.
"To be clear: this isn't an RPG. We're not trying to do that. We are trying to give players some story branching in their gameplay so they can see how some of their choices affect the outcome of the game."
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is headed to PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in November.