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The Call of Duty series has a recent tradition of courting controversy and Black Ops 2 will continue the trend. Director David Anthony says that this game will be the most shocking installment in the series yet.
"Obviously I can't give anything away, but I can tell you, absolutely, that Black Ops 2 is going to be the most provocative, shocking, engaging story that a Call of Duty player has ever seen. I am very, very proud of how hard the team has worked, and how the game has turned out, and I can't wait for the fans to get hold of this thing," Anthony told CVG.
Previous Call of Duty games set the bar pretty high for shock value. The first Black Ops let players participate in a mission to assassinate Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. In Modern Warfare 2, players were able to gun down innocent civilians in a Russian airport. These scenes gave their respective games a lot of free publicity so it's no surprise that Treyarch wants to push the envelope again with Black Ops 2.
Black Ops 2 seems like an unlikely source for controversy, though. It's the first game in the series set in the future. That would potentially give the game a more fictional, detached feeling than the COD titles set in the present day or recent past. Also, as Anthony points out elsewhere in the interview, you'll spend a lot of time fighting military drones instead of simply humans. What could be controversial about shooting robots?
Still, the futuristic setting of BO2 also gives the development team a lot of freedom. They don't have to worry about keeping one foot in the "real world" anymore. They can fill the story with whatever crazy crap crosses their mind. The game centers around a war between the United States and China so I expect to see a few cities in each country up in flames. Screenshots and video footage, for example, have confirmed that players will battle through the streets of a besieged Los Angeles.
Black Ops 2 will launch worldwide on November 13th. If this game turns out to be as controversial as hyped, I suspect cable news pundits will start furrowing their brows in disapproval in late October.